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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Exile unlike any other: assimilation, alienation as themes in African fiction
Author:Okolie, Maxwell A.ISNI
Periodical:Okike: an African Journal of New Writing
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:African identity
Abstract:Unlike exile in time and space, total exile, which banishes the African from every aspect of his being, portrays the African as a non-person. Classified as having no history, no culture and no civilization, the African was, by the fiat of the colonizer's caprices, reduced to a nonentity, a mere parasite of the world heritage. The colonizer hardly left him any other option, except assimilation, and, consequently, alienation. The African is perhaps the classic example in history of a conditioned victim of one form of exile or another, with its corollaries of alienation, marginalization, paternalism, segregation, racism and assimilation. This type of exile has inspired African writing since the last three decades, in particular the novelists Chinua Achebe, Cheik Hamidou Kane, and Sam Diallo. It took writers like Bernard Dadié, 'Un nègre à Paris' (1959), to demythify the myth that portrays the Western countries as paradise on earth. This African fiction, however, has not completely stopped assimilation, alienation and ambiguous identity prototypes in Africa, but it has restored the African's identity and personality. With this newly found self-awareness and dignity born out of regained identity and overturned exile, the African proceeded to demand his sociopolitical independence in the early 1960s, bringing to an end assimilation, alienation and marginalization. Bibliogr., notes, ref.