Importance Of Writing In African Literature

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The early sixties marked the first international gathering of African writers, the “Conference of African Writers of English Expression”, which regrouped several authors such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi Wa Thiongo among others. As the title of the conference itself clearly stated “Africa writers of English Expression”, the question of what language should the African Literature be written in was one of the main points debated at this conference. The African Literature should be written in the colonial language because of the opportunities it offers by opening the author’s work to a worldwide audience. The African writer should write in a colonial language so that readers may avoid a single story of Africa. This precedent position is taken…show more content…
As African writers, it incomes to them to write and spread stories about Africa and somehow perpetuate the reality. As writers, they also have the power not only to tell stories about Africa but also to make these stories unquestionable to the readers. The best way to spread these messages is by using a worldwide language which of course is not their mother tongues. By writing in colonial languages, one’s work is affordable to the world and consequently, people would have different perspectives of Africa. As Chinua Achebe clearly stated, “I feel that the English language will be able to carry the weight of my African Experience”, The African writer and the English language. One can understand that the use of English would not alter the message carried by the author, besides it is an alternative tool to do so. For the question if the use of colonial language could colonize the author’s mind, an argument supported by some authors such as Ngugi, this point is not relevant as the author still feels connected to the African roots. Besides, colonial languages…show more content…
African writers generally struggle to see their literary work published while writing in their mother tongues. Indeed, Ken Saro-Wiwa witnesses, “I am, indeed, working on a Khana novel for the moment... But I am also writing this novel because I can self-publish it. I am lucky to be in a position to do so, none of the established publishers in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world would have accepted to publish it for the simple reason that it would not be profitable to do so”, The language of African literature: A writer testimony. Furthermore, the audience is restricted which the African languages as the main language of African Literature. We can refer to Ken Saro Wiwa’s argument, “There was no question of my writing in Khana because no one else would have understood it”, The language of African literature: A writer testimony. Realistically, the writers have more advantages to write in colonial language as long as they perpetuate the African experience, they could reach millions of people while they would have had only thousands of people as their audience if they decided to write in their mother tongues. However, for Ngugi the African writers should write in their mother tongues so that they can come back to their traditions, for these authors the only way to have a profit is by translating their books into English which would change the meaning of the original text as

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