Power Shifts in the English Language in Postcolonial African Poetry
Jainab Tabassum Banu
Abstract: Colonialism has been used as a negative term for its brutal, cruel, and merciless history of oppression. In the process of colonization, the English language has been used as a tool of subjugation. However, postcolonial writers have formed a resistance against European superpowers by writing their own stories in the colonizer’s language. Although critics like Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Chinua Achebe have given contradictory views on using the English language to write African fiction, most of the postcolonial African writers have remarkably written about their own African experiences in English. By analyzing four postcolonial African poems by Leopold Sedar Senghor, David Diop, Wole Soyinka and Gabriel Okara, this paper aims to explicate how the colonizer’s weapon – the English language – actually turns into a blessing for postcolonials.
Keywords: Postcolonial Poetry, Africa, Nigeria, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Chinua Achebe
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Published in August 2019