Abstract

Aubrey Kalitera is one of the most prolific writers of popular fiction in Malawi. He has published numerous novels and short stories. In 1976, his novel No Taste of Business was published by Heinemann East Africa. Since then, however, he has followed the example of David Maillu of Kenya by setting up on his own: writing, printing and distributing his own works. In 1987, Kalitera surprised Malawi by producing and direct-ing what is perhaps the first ever commercial film to be made locally.^ He is one of several writers within the country trying to provide a Malawian form of popular fiction for a huge local readership of western popular literature. Despite the effort of writers like Kalitera, there has been negligible critical attention paid to them largely on account of the overall neglect that popular literature has historically suffered in academe. The advent of Deconstmction has, to a large extent, changed the way we perceive relations of difference within the domain of Uter-ary inquiry. This critical approach has sensitized us to the way literary taxonomy is grounded in various discursive and material practices which are linked to broader political interests in society. In the Httle that has been published on African popular literature so far, there is no account of the manner in which such fiction manages the question of gender even though one might argue, it is popular literature more than high literature that is likely to give us a more accurate indication of existing gender ideologies since the former more than the latter, as Antonio Gramsci once observed, is intimately connected with traditional notions of power.

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