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bolekaja criticism

UZOMA ESONWANNE


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631207535.1997.x


Extract

A term by which Chinweizu and Madubuike identify the corrective struggle of “men and of nations” with “the stiflers of their life” (1983). In Yoruba bolekaja means “Come down let's fight!” However, there is far more to bolekajarism than intellectual pugilism. Committed to afrocentric cultural nationalism, “Issues and tasks,” the final chapter of Toward the Decolonization of African Literature is a manifesto for African L iterary production and interpretation. Earlier chapters consist of resolute critiques of the universalist assumptions of “eurocentric criticism” of African fiction and poetry. In contrast to eurocentrism, they propose a “supportive” role for the critic. Supportive criticism provides writer and audience with the knowledge of “things valued in traditional African orature.” A principal term in this H ermeneutics of support is imitation: just as writers must rely on African oral D iscourse to simulate “the flavor of African life,” so critics should sustain their efforts by providing them with the raw material – “knowledge of things valued in traditional African orature, and why” – of their craft. Given their stress on oral discourse, their preference for “20th-century diction and idiom,” and their insistence on the autonomy of African literature, it is hardly surprising that Chinweizu, Jemie, and Madubuike decry the impact of the “anglo-modernist sensibility” on ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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