Ode Ogede


In 1967 an article decrying the absence of an ideology which could facilitate Africa's decolonization appeared in the Paris-based influential journal of black studies, Presence Africaine, and its young author Ayi Kwei Annab, then twenty-eight years old, cited Senghor's Negritude as an artistic statement which reflects the political leader's inferiority complexes, his slave mentality. Negritude cannot lead Africa to freedom, he declared, and described it as 'the flight from the classical Cartesian big white father France into the warm, dark, sensuous embrace of Africa, into the receiving uterus of despised Africa'.1 Negritude, Armah added in the same article, is a wooden attempt to perpetuate western assumptions and stereotypes in reverse because 'the image of Africa available to Senghor is obtained through the agency of white men's eyes, the eyes of anthropologists and ethnologists, the slummers of imperialism'. Impatience and youthful exuberance could be discerned in this article but, twenty years after, in 1987, Armah still persisted in his outright condemnation of Negritude, even though in between no less than five novels, six short stories, a poem and a number of essays have poured from his pen, all of which, as I will show, together substantially resembles Senghor's work in tone, intention and achievement.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.