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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Absented presences in recent Anglophone-Cameroon poetry
Author:Nyamndi, George D.ISNI
Periodical:The English Academy Review (ISSN 1753-5360)
Geographic term:Cameroon
English language
About persons:Mathew TakwiISNI
Bate Besong (1954-2007)ISNI
Abstract:The Republic of Cameroon showcases some of the deep-seated contradictions of modern-day Africa, summarized in the incessant search for an identity lost with the arrival on its shores of foreign interests. The partitioning of the former German Kamerun between Britain and France after the German debacle in the First World War initiated a journey into difference which the reunification of 1 October 1961 only helped, if anything, to deepen. Writing by Anglophone Cameroonians chronicles the rough and tumble of relations between the ensuing - and distinctly dissimilar - world views, and laments the passing away of their own particular lifestyle which guaranteed their self-worth and plenitude. This lament is captured most successfully in the cryptic language of poetry. Two exponents of this mode, Bate Besong and Mathew Takwi, are featured in this article. The author argues that the commanding force in their poetry is not the immediate, observable structure of society, that is, the historical present, but the absented, concealed circumstances of the coming into being of that historical present. The article underscores the point that Um Nyobe, the charismatic freedom fighter of the 1950s, though a Francophone, is in actual fact the father of Anglophone consciousness, in the sense that he articulated the values of justice and equity which Anglophone writing takes today as its fundamental premise. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]