Saturday, December 1, 2007

Female authors from Senegal

Maïmouna ABDOULAYE Clotilde ARMSTRONG Mariama BA Sokhna BENGA Jacqueline Fatima BOCOUM Francy BRETHENOUX-SEGUIN Aïssatou CISSE Aïssatou CISSOKHO Nafissatou DIA DIOUF Aïssatou DIAMANKA-BESLAND Aminata Sophie DIEYE Aïssatou Diagne DEME Nafissatou DIALLO Mame Younousse DIENG Fatou DIOME Meissa DIOP Coumba DIOUF Aïcha DIOURI Khadi FALL Kiné Kirama FALL Absa GASSAMA Khady HANE Fatoumata KANE Sylvie KANDE KEN BUGUL KHADY Beatrix KILCHENMANN BEKHA Ayavi LAKE Sanou LO Aminata MAIGA KA Tita MANDELEAU Mame SECK MBACKE Annette MBAYE D'ERNEVILLE Ndèye Comba MBENGUE DIAKHATE Isabelle MONTPLAISIR Diana MORDASINI Aminata NDIAYE Catherine N'DIAYE Marie NDIAYE Ndèye Boury NDIAYE Sow Fatou NDIAYE Mariama NDOYE Anne Marie NIANE Madjiguène NIANG Mame Bassine NIANG Fatou NIANG SIGA Valérie PASCAUD-JUNOT Anne PIETTE Nadine PRUDHOMME Rahmatou SAMB SECK Jacqueline SCOTT-LEMOINE Fama Diagne SENE SENY Aminata SOW FALL Amina SOW MBAYE Khady SYLLA Abibatou TRAORE Marie-Rose TURPIN Célia VIEYRA Myriam WARNER VIEYRA Aminata ZAARIA

Senegalese literature at a glance

The introduction of French into Senegal goes back to the 1800s and the few books written in French by Senegalese authors in the 19th century signal the modest beginnings of a written tradition that complemented a flourishing oral tradition. In fact, Senegalese writing goes back to the 18th century and Phillis Wheatley's poetry (1753-84). This young Senegalese woman, snatched from her native land and sold as a slave in America, is considered to be the first black woman to have published a literary work (in English).
In 1850 Lépold Panet, from Gorée published his Relation de voyage de Saint-Louis à Souiera [The Chronicle of Saint-Louis' Voyage to Souiera] in the Revue Coloniale [The Colonial Review]. A few years later, the Abbé Bouillat provided a wealth of information about his era in Esquisses Sénégalaises [Senegalese Sketches]. In 1920, the school teacher Amadou Mapaté published Les Trois volontés de Malic [Malic's Three Wishes] for his pupils. In 1925, Bakari Diallo told of his experiences as a "tirailleur-sénégalais" [Senegalese Infantryman] in Force-Bonté. In the 1930s, both Senghor's poetry and the Negritude Movement gave Senegalese literature an international reputation. After the Second World War, novelists such as Ousmane Soce, Sembene Ousmane (who later also made films), Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Abdoulay Sadji and others developed further a lively literary tradition and popularised Senegalese literature, both within and beyond their own country. Other writers include: Lamine Diakhate, Birago Diop, Cheik Aliou Ndao , Abdoulaye Sadji, Ibrahima Sall and Boubacar Boris Diop who is possibly the best known Senegalese writer of today.
It was only after Independence that women began to publish literary material. At first it was only modest booklets such as Annette Mbaye d'Erneville's poetry. But in the mid 1970s, the autobiography of Nafissatou Diallo, poetry by Kiné Kirama Fall and novels by Aminata Sow Fall and Mariama Bâ followed. Also worth mentioning, is a manuscript by Mame Younousse Dieng that was shelved for 20 years by the publisher. From the beginning of the 1980s, a large number of women have contributed to a significant expansion of Senegalese literature : Myriam Warner Vieyra, Aminata Maïga Ka, Tita Mandeleau (who lived for many years in New York), Amina Sow Mbaye, Ken Bugul (who currently lives in Benin), Ndèye Boury Ndiaye, Mariama Ndoye (who currently lives in Tunisia), Khadi Fall, Khady Sylla etc.. At the beginning of the new millenium, women authors continue to published strongly as illustrated by the recent novels of Sokhna Benga, Aïssatou Cissé, Jacqueline Fatima Bocoum, Nafissatou Dia Diouf, Khady Hane, Fama Diagne Sène, Madjiguène Niang, Fatou Diome, Aminata Zaaria, Sanou Lô, ... and also Marie NDiaye (notwithstanding the fact that she was born in France and only retains loose links with her father's country of origin.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

afroasianl lit update 1

Hi, guys! We had our first set of quizzes last Tuesday, November 27, 2007. It was a 20-item test on Africa's 100 Best Books and a 15-item test on Modern African Literature. Those who were absent last meeting, please be informed that our change of schedule is already approved. We will be meeting regularly at AMS208, 6:30-7:30, TTHS.

I got the e-mails of Lehai, Pennylane, and Cesleste. I'll wait for others to send me their powerpoint presentations.

On Saturday, December 1, Lehai, Pennylane and Celeste will have their research presentations.

See you and Good luck!

Here are some of the details they sent me. For your copy, please download.


Diop, Birago

*Ouakam, Senegal; December 11, 1906 - Dakar, Senegal; November 25, 1989
* was a Senegalese poet and storyteller, active writer in the Négritude movement in the 1930s, as well as a veterinarian and diplomat.
*He was born in Ouakam, a small village near Dakar. In 1920 he went to study at Lycée Faidherbe in Saint-Louis, and later on he went to study veterinary medicine at the University of Toulouse, and worked as a veterinary surgeon for the French colonial government in several West African countries. Throughout his civil service career, he collected and reworked Wolof folktales, and also wrote poetry, memoirs, and a play. He served as first Senegalese ambassador to Tunisia from 1960 to 1964

Les contes d’ Amadou Koumba

*Travel in time, the topics, the words. Traditional and original topics, bestiary cruel and tender with the multiple adventures, universe of the men, immutable. Tinder koumba, griot, storyteller, singer, diali in Sudan, guéwèl in Senegal, that which transmits the word, the message with the wire of the generations. It is him which reports in Birago Diop, of the stories, the tales and the legends, rythmés by the tom-tom or the water-bottle.
*A profusion of feelings seize the reader: fright, cheerfulness, the emotion take turns. Golo, the monkey, is at the origin of the reputation of Koumba which, with her former husband, will go in Maka-Kouli to hear the sentence of the marabout. Wisdom, humour and realism: "One knows the utility of the buttocks only when the hour has just sat down!".

Diop, Boubacar Boris

*Born in Dakar in 1946, novelist, essay writer, playwright, and scenario writer, he was also the director of the Morning of Dakar.
*In 1998, it took part, with ten other African writers, with the project of writing on the genocide in Rwanda: "Rwanda: to write by having of memory ". product of which was its Murambi work, him livre DES ossements.

The joys of Motherhood

*Written by Buchi Emecheta (1979), this book is about the life of Nigerian woman, Nnu Ego. Nnu Ego's life revolves around her children, and through them Nnu Ego gains the respect of her society.
*When colonial influences begin to change traditional tribal values, however, Nnu Ego is faced with new truths that she must learn to live with. The book takes us on a journey with Nnu Ego as we participate in her struggle between understanding and accepting the new ways of her people or clinging to her traditional values.
*This book provides excellent insight to the effects of colonialism on native Nigerians.

Gordimer, Nadine

*(born 20 November 1923) is a South African writer, political activist and Nobel Prize in literature laureate.
*Her writing has long dealt with moral and racial issues, particularly apartheid in South Africa. She was active in the anti-apartheid movement, joining the African National Congress during the days when the organization was banned.
*She has recently been active in HIV/AIDS causes. She was born in Springs, Gauteng, an East Rand mining town outside Johannesburg the daughter of Isidore and Nan Gordimer.
nHer parents were both Jewish immigrants, her father a watchmaker from Lithuania near the Latvian border, and her mother from London

Archibald Campbell Mzolisa Jordan

(30 October 1906 - 1968) was a novelist, literary historian and intellectual pioneer of African studies in South Africa. He was born at the Mbokothwane Mission in the Tsolo district, Pondoland (later Transkei), as son of an Anglican Church minister. He trained as teacher at St John's College in Mthatha, completed his junior certificate at Lovedale College, Alice, and then won a scholarship to Fort Hare University College. He completed his literary training with a BA degree (1934), an MA on the Nguni and Sotho groups (1942), and his doctoral degree on A Phonological and Grammatical Study of Literary Xhosa in 1957. In 1961 Jordan was offered a Carnegie bursary to do research in the United States of America, but was refused a passport by the South African government. As a result of political pressure, Jordan was forced to leave South Africa on an exit permit. He settled in America where he was appointed professor in African Languages and Literature at the University of California (Los Angeles) and later moved, in similar capacity, to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1968, Jordan died in Madison, after a long illness.

Elsa Joubert

born as Elsabé Antoinette Murray on 19 October 1922 in Paarl, is an Afrikaans-speaking South African writer.
•Elsa Joubert grew up in Paarl and matriculated from the all-girls school La Rochelle in Paarl in 1939. She then studied at the University of Stellenbosch from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1942 and an SED (Secondary Education Diploma) in 1943. She continued her studies at the University of Cape Town which she left with a Master's degree in Dutch-Afrikaans literature at in 1945.

Camara Laye

•He was born Malinke, or Mandé, a group that traditionally supplied the blacksmiths and goldsmiths of Guinea. His mother was from the village of Tindican, and his immediate childhood surroundings were not predominantly influenced by French culture. He attended both the Koranic and French elementary schools in Kouroussa. At age fourteen he went to Conakry, capital of Guinea, to continue his education. He attended vocational studies in motor mechanics. In 1947, he travelled to Paris to continue studies in mechanics. There he worked and took further courses in engineering and worked towards the baccalauréat.
•(b. 1928 in Kouroussa, Upper Guinea - d. 1980 in Dakar) was a renowned African writer from Guinea. During college he wrote The African Child (L'enfant Noir in French), a novel based loosely on his own childhood. He would later become a writer of many essays and was a foe of the government of Guinea.

Sindiwe Magona

*born 1943) is a South African writer. A native of the Transkei, she grew up in a township near Cape Town, where she worked as a domestic and completed her secondary education by correspondence. Magona later graduated from the University of South Africa and earned a graduate degree from Columbia University. Her first novel was Mother to Mother, and she has also written autobiographies and short story collections. She retired from the United Nations in 2003 and currently lives in South Africa.

Naguib Mahfouz

(Arabic: نجيب محفوظ) (December 11, 1911August 30, 2006) was an Egyptian novelist who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature who managed to modernize Arabic literature. He is regarded as one of the first writers of Arabic literature, along with Tawfiq al-Hakim, to explore themes of existentialism.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Biography: David Diop

David Diop (1927-1960)

David Diop was one of the most promising French West African young poets, whose short career, however, ended in an air-crash off Dakar in 1960. Diop lived an uprooted life, moving frequently from his childhood onwards between France and West Africa. In Paris Diop joinded the négritude literary movement, which championed and celebrated the uniqueness of black experience and heritage. Diop's work reflects his hatred of colonial rulers and his hope for an independent Africa.

Africa tell me Africa

Is this you this back that is bent

This back that breaks under the weight of humiliation

This back trembling with red scars

And saying yes to the whip under the midday sun (from 'Africa')

David Diop was born in Bordeaux, France, of a Senegalese father and a Cameroonian mother. After his father died, he was raised by his mother. Diop had his primary education in Senegal, and then he attended the Lycée Marcelin Berthelot in Paris during World War II. At home Diop read the works of Aimé Césaire and debuted as a poet while still at school. Several of his poems were published in Léopold Senghor's famous Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache (1948), which became an important landmark of modern black writing in French.
Most of his life Diop lived in France, and he often expressed his longing to Africa in his poems: "Let these words of anguish keep time with your / restless step- / Oh I am lonely so lonely here.." Due to his poor health-he was a semi-invalid for most of his life after contracting tuberculosis-Diop changed his career plans from medicine to the liberal arts. He obtained two baccalauréats and a licence-ès-lettres. In 1950 he married Virginia Kamara, who was the center of many of his poems.

Despite his French upbringing and education, Diop empathized with the African plight against French colonialism. In the 1950s Diop returned to Africa to take part in the rebuilding of Senegal. He published several poems in Présence Africaine, and advocated independence struggle. His first book of poems, Coups de pillon (1956), called for revolution and attacked the domination of European culture in Africa. In his essay 'A Contribution to the debate on National Poetry' he argued, that poets who use the language of the conquering nation are perfect examples of the assimilationist policy, and submission to western literary fashions is another form of bastardization.

Diop worked as a teacher in Dakar and a principal of a secondary school in Kindia, Guinea. The country had gained independence in 1958 and as a result French administration was rapidly withdrawn. The republic was left without civil servants and a number of Africans volunteered to work for Ahmed Sekou Touré's regime, among them Diop. Toure governed from 1958 to 1984. Diop died on a journey over the Atlantic with his wife on August 25, 1960; their plane crashed on returning to France from Dakar. Most of his work was destroyed with him, among them the manuscript of his second volume of poems. Only the 22 poems that were published before his death still remain.
has been connected with the Negritude school of writing, especially with his themes of the harmful effects of inferiority complex. As a tool of protest, he employed a colloquial style. Diop criticized Western values and colonialism, encouraged for self-sacrifices for the collective good, and praised the strength of African women. To gain the attention of his audience, Diop employed the techniques of oral expression, rhythmic repetition, oratorical tone and assertion. Often he ended the poem optimistically as in 'The Vultures': "In spite of your songs and pride / In spite of the desolate villages of torn Africa / Hope was preserved in us as in a fortress / And from the mines of Swaziland to the factories of Europe / Spring will reborn under our bright steps."
Négritude: The term was coined in the 1930s by Aimé Césaire and L-S. Senghor, and was much used after World War II by French-speaking intellectuals in Africa and the Caribbean. It referred to the sense of a common Negro inheritance, revolt against colonialist values, and nostalgia for the beauty and glory of the African heritage. The advocates of négritude movement-in particular Senghor, Césaire, and Leon-Gontran Damas-were later criticized by their belief in intrinsic cultural blackness, neglecting contemporary political realities, and failing to achieve its revolutionary aims. However, the ideas of négritude influenced also the black social and political movement in the U.S. during the 1960s. The major early works expressing the spirit of the movement are Damas Pigments (1937), Césaire's Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (1939), and Senghor's Anthologie de la poésie... Sartre's essay 'Orphée noir' in the anthology is perhaps the most famous attempt to analyze the movement from an Existentialist point of view.

Selected works:

Coups de pilon, 1956
Hammer Blows and Other Writings, 1973 (ed. by Simon Mpondo and Frank Jones)
David Diop: 1927-1960: témoignages, études, 1983

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Modern African Literature: An Introduction

Modern African Literature: An Introduction
by Azfar Hussain

a) Geographical

1) East and Central African Literature (ECAL): ECAL embraces, among others, such countries/regions as Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Central African Republic, Malawi, and Republic of the Congo. Some of the most important and influential writers coming from this part of the African continent include Ngugi wa Thiong'o (1938--, Kenya, novelist-short story writer-prose writer, principal works: Weep Not, Child, A Grain of Wheat, Petals of Blood, The River Between, Devil on the Cross), Nuruddin Farah (1945--, Somalia, novelist-short story writer, principal works: From a Crooked Rib, A Naked Needle, Sweet and Sour Milk, Sardines), Okot p’Bitek (1931--1982, Uganda, poet, principal works: Song of Lawino, Song of Ocol, The Horn of My Love), Shaaban Robert (1909--1962, Tanzania, prose-/story-writer & poet, principal works: Maisha Yanga/"Autobiography," Kufikirika/"The Conceivable World," Insha na Mashairi/ "Compositions and Poems"), David Rubadiri (1930--, Malawi, novelist-poet, principal works: No Bride Price, Selected Poems), Tchicaya U Tam'si (1931--1988, Congo, poet-playwright-novelist, principal works: Epitomé, Le Ventré, Les Cancrelats).

2) South African Literature (SAL): SAL embraces, among others, the Union of South Africa including Basutoland, South-west Africa, Rhodesia (southern and northern). Some of the most important and influential South African writers include Thomas Mofolo (1873--1948, Basutoland, novelist-prose writer, principal works: Moeti oa Bochabela/ "The Pilgrim of the East," Chaka the Zulu), Solomon T Plaatze (born in Bechuanaland towards the turn of this century and died in 1950, translator-novelist, principal works: Mhudi, a novel, and Native Life in South Africa, a famous political work), Peter Abrahams (1919--, novelist, principal works: Song of a City, Mine Boy, The Path of Thunder, Wild Conquest, A Wreath for Udomo), Ezekiel Mphahlele (creative writer-Africanist-critic, principal works: Down Second Avenue, a novel, and The African Image, a book of criticism).

Other more contemporary South African writers include A. C. Jordan (novelist), H. I. E. Dhlomo (novelist), B. W. Vilakazi (poet), Alex la Guma (novelist), Bloke Modisane (short story writer), Alfred Hutchinson (novelist), Lewis Nkosi (playwright), Noni Jabavu (one of the few woman-writers writing among the Xhosa people of the East Cape Province of South Africa; she is famous for her two novels called Drawn in Color and The Ochre People), Dennis Brutus (poet), and Nadine Gordimer (the Nobel-prize-winning novelist and short story writer).

3) West African Literature (WAL): Anne Tibble in African-English Literature rightly observes: "Thinking briefly, of West Africa as a self-contained literary unit--which of course it is not, though cross-currents with East and South Africa are not strong--we may say that this section of the continent began its production of a written literature latest of the three....When as late as the 1940s, West Africa did awake, the number of its writers quickly grew. Especially so was the case in Nigeria, in spite of the hundred or more indigenous languages there. The total of poets, novelists, and dramatists in West Africa as a whole quickly exceeded those in the South or East."

Some of the West African countries producing powerful writings include Nigeria, Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, and Sénégal. And some of the most outstanding writers come from Nigeria alone--Amos Tutola (1920--, novelist-short story writer, principal works: The Palm Wine Drinkard, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, Simbi and the Satyr of the Dark Jungle, The Brave African Huntress), Gabriel Okara (1921, poet-novelist, principal works--poetry: Were I to Choose and Other Poems; novel: The Voice), Chinua Achebe (1930--, novelist and prose writer, principal works: Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease, A Man of the People, Arrow of God, Anthills of Savannah), Cyprian Ekwensi (novelist-short story writer, principal works: People of the City, Jagua Nana, Burning Grass, Beautiful Feathers), Flora Nwapa (1931-1993, novelist-short story writer, principal works: Efuru, Idu, Never Again, One is Enough, This is Lagos and Other Stories, Wives at War and Other Stories, Women are Different), Wole Soyinka (1934--, Nobel-prize-winning novelist-playwright-poet, principal works--plays: The Swamp Dwellers, Brother Jero, The Strong Breed, The Lion and the Jewel, A Dance of the Forest; novels: The Interpreters, Season of Anomy; memoir: Aké: The Years of Childhood; poetry: Idanre, Mandela's Earth and Other Poems), Elechi Amadi (1934--, novelist, principal works: The Concubine, The Great Ponds, The Slave, Sunset in Biafra), Buchi Emecheta (1944--, novelist, principal works: In the Ditch, Second Class Citizen, The Bride Price, The Slave Girl, The Joys of Motherhood, Destination Biafra, The Rape of Shavi), Ben Okri (1959--, novelist-short story writer, principal works--novels: Flowers and Shadows, The Landscapes Within, The Famished Road; short stories: Incidents at the Shrine, Stars of the New). Some of the more contemporary Nigerian poets of repute include Christopher Okigbo, Frank Aig-Imoukhuede, John Ekwere, Mabel Sagun, Michael Echeruo.

Poets in West Africa other than Nigeria include Lenrie Peters of Gambia, and the Ghanaians, George Awoonor-Williams, Efua Theodora Sutherland, Kwesi Brew, and Ellis Ayitey Komey.

Some of the important West African writers other than those in Nigeria are Abioseh Nicol (poet), William Conton (novelist), and Syl Cheney-Coker (poet) of Sierra Leone; Francis Bebey (short story writer-novelist-poet), Mongo Beti (novelist-essayist), Werewere Liking (playwright-novelist) of Cameroon; Ama Ata Aidoo (playwright-novelist-short story writer), Efua Sutherland (playwright), Kofi Anyidoho (poet) of Ghana; Mariama Ba (novelist), Nafissatou Niang Diallo (novelist), Ousmane Sembène (novelist-short story writer), Cheik Aliou Ndao (novelist-playwright) of Senegal.


According to Martin Tucker, "African writers can probably best be characterized by four broad divisions:

1. The Westerner or other non-African writer who utilizes the subject matter of Africa in a language not native to the African continent.

2. The African writer, black or white, who utilizes the subject matter of Africa in a language native to the African continent.

3. The African writer who utilizes subject matter other than Africa, but who writes in a language native to the African continent.

4. The African writer who utilizes the subject matter of Africa, but who writes in a Western language that has, by custom, become part of the African means of communication."

Tucker further observes, "using this convenient outline it may be said that African literature exists in several languages: in English (Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, Wole Soyinka, to name a few); in French (Bernard Dadié, Birago Diop, André Gide, Joseph Kessel, Jean Lartéguy, Jean Malonga, Ferdinand Oyono, Jean-Joseph Rabéarivelo); in German (Kurt Heuser, Janheinz Jahn); in Danish (Johannes Buchholtz); in native African languages (Thomas Mofolo, Thiong'o); in the English of South Africans ( Nadine Gordimer, Sarah Gertrude Millin, Alan Paton); and in Afrikaans (Nuthall Fula, Ernst van Heerden)."


Africa's 100 best books of the 20th CentURY

The ASC Library, Documentation and Information Department has compiled a dossier on Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century project. It consists of an introduction, the top twelve list, the top hundred list, and a selection of Web resources.


Ali Mazrui AFRICA'S 100 BEST BOOKS OF THE 20TH CENTURY project was first suggested at the 1998 Zimbabwe International Book Fair in Harare. Ali Mazrui came up with the idea of a list of Africa's 100 best books in order to direct the world's attention on the achievements of African writers who have had their work published during the 20th century.

A jury, chaired by Njabule Ndebele, considered over 500 nominations from the original list of 1,521 nominations proposed by individuals and institutions all over the world. The nominations were subjected to rigorous criteria which included, inter alia, an assessment of quality, the ability to provide new information or insight, a continuing contribution to debate, and the extent to which a book broke down boundaries. The final list had to reflect a balance of regional representation, gender, historical spread and genres of writing.

The top 100 list was launched in Accra, Ghana, on February 18, 2002 and the Awards Presentation Gala took place in Cape Town on 28 July. The 2002 Zimbabwe International Book Fair (30 July-3 August) was devoted to the Best Book project. Its theme was the impact of African writing on world literature.

Having selected the top 100 list, the jury then choose the best twelve African books of the twentieth century. The books - in African and European languages or in Arabic - were divided into three categories: children's writing, non-fiction/academic writing and creative writing.
Many of the books are in the ASC library, but children books and work in African languages or
Arabic do not meet the criteria of collection development and are unfortunately not available. In some cases, a title is available in translation.

Please visit this website and bring a hard copy of Africa's Best 100 books.
Due on Saturday, November 17, 2007.

To All Afro-Asian Lit Students

Hi, guys. I now officially start our interactive discussion on Afro-Asian and Third world Literature.

We will start with African Literature. Read this poem and be ready for discussion.


by David Diop

Africa my Africa

Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs

Africa of whom my grandmother sings

On the banks of the distant river

I have never known you

But your blood flows in my veins

Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields

The blood of your sweat

The sweat of your work

The work of your slaveryAfrica, tell me Africa

Is this your back that is unbent

This back that never breaks under the weight of humiliation

This back trembling with red scars

And saying no to the whip under the midday sun

But a grave voice answers meImpetuous child that tree, young and strong

That tree over thereSplendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers

That is your Africa springing up anew

Springing up patiently, obstinately

Whose fruit bit by bit acquires

The bitter taste of liberty.