African writers' use of symbolism, myth and allusion in presenting the ideology of leadership in post-independence Africa: a study of selected novels by Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Chinua Achebe and Ayi Kwei Armah
Sebolai, Kabelo Wilson
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This dissertation was aimed at examining African writers' use of symbolism, myth and allusion in presenting the ideology of leadership in the post-independence Africa. Specifically, it focussed on Ayi Kwei Armah's The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Ngugi Wa Thiongo's Petals of Blood and Chinua Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah. One of the basic problems of the African continent has been the quality of its political leadership. In most cases, leaders that take over power in Africa after independence are not different from their colonial masters. Having attained power, these leaders exhibit worse oppressive tendencies than their erstwhile colonial masters. The African writers of this period have responded to this harsh reality with works that are critical of the excesses of these leaders. Strange as it seems, although it was fashionable for black writers to pit themselves against the system of apartheid at its peak in South Africa, the same writers have in the main, not yet responded to some of the excesses of the country's leadership in the new dispensation. This research was therefore necessary because of the literary vacuum left by the demise of apartheid in the literary output of South Africa's post-independence period. There is so much the writers have to say in this period especially when one considers the fact that problems experienced in the post-independence Africa in general are beginning to manifest themselves in South Africa as well. While writers in other parts of the continent have produced works that mirror the hopes and aspirations of the masses in the post-independence period, such has not been the case in South Africa. This dissertation was in a small way, intended to serve as a wake-up call to South African writers. It was meant to signal a resuscitation of literary creative writing in the post-apartheid South Africa; a type of literature whose concerns will resemble those of the general post-independence prototype in Africa. The dissertation examined critical novels of other African writers in the post-independence period and presented these as examples for South African writers to follow.