ISSUES IN MODERN AFRICAN LITERATURE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE study
Throughout history and throughout continents, literature has served as an embodiment and translator of a people's culture, as well as a conduit for that people's philosophy, politics, psychology, and national character.
According to Nwachukwu (2005), literature, whether in the form of agitation, negotiation, historical reconstruction, or mythological recreation, has a touch of identity.
Literature, according to Bayo (2003:1), is a discipline that strives to describe man and his environment. The use of a specialised form of communication medium-language and style-distinguishes literature from all other disciplines.
Furthermore, literature strives to re-create human society through the presentation of human experiences, religious beliefs, and socio-cultural motifs within the creative framework of arts.
Literature is also a liberating force that liberates us from the underlying beliefs imposed by society, and it is classified into three (3) generic forms: theatre, prose, and poetry (Ibrahim and Akande 2000:3).
The African literary experience predates that of some European countries and dates back to the dawn of time (Dada 2003:36). Literature has emerged as part of cultural identity and revolutionary struggle against domination, marginalisation,
and political cruelty in African states such as Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia, Mozambique, Angola, Uganda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Guinea Bissau, and others.
During the decade of independence, African writers formed cultural nationalist movements with the goal of treating African indigenous literature as a separate entity (Ojaide, 1992).
According to Dada (2003: 36), “African literature refers to works done for an African audience, by Africans, and in african languages, whether oral or written.”
Since the emergence of modern African literary writings, the debate in African literature over the use of language, cultural diversity, and the question of literary identity indigenous to Africa has generated significant interest, and many scholars have made their contributions and positions.
Language is a crucial topic in current African literature. The multi-cultural nature of African languages, as well as the emphasis on preserving particular people's linguistic identities, have suffocated the great ideal of entire institutionalisation of modern African literatures.
Because of the continent's and its countries' prevailing socioeconomic and political situations, the subject of identity and dignity in African literature persists in the writings of regional and national writers.
Meanwhile, scholars and critics are discussing the language of African literature, which has raised a number of troubling difficulties.
According to Armah (2005), “Africa is vast and requires a vast language to put all our ideals through, and that language has yet to be born.”
In his remarks on the language of African literature, Armah stated, “We are currently suspended in linguistic neocolonialism while awaiting a decisive breakthrough;
if an African language is adopted, it will be a big solution.” The demands of internationality, the challenge of communication with the world outside Africa, and other issues such as the accessibility and marketability of African literature in the global context appear to have poisoned African writers' hopes for an African language identity.
Another problem to address in Modern African Literatures is cultural diversity, which is a dynamic phenomena that encompasses all attitudes, behaviours, beliefs, and worldviews.
It is an essential component of all human societies, and it distinguishes all social groups. In other terms, it is the “complex pattern of behaviour and material achievement which is produced, learned, and shared by members of a community” (Ameh, 2002: 165).
Another topic of discussion in contemporary African writing is the endeavour to forge a racial identity. Ethnic pride and linguistic self-consciousness are not exclusively characteristics of majority ethnic groups. The sense of identification established in the group's language continues, no matter how small the group.
According to Yakubu (2001), African literature is a haven of liberty where the African reclaims his lost identity and dignity. This stance appears to express vividly the overwhelming urges that characterise the motivations of current African literature writers.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
African literature arose from a need to fill a void; the gap in African writing is centred on voicelessness. For many years, the study of literary influences has eclipsed the science of comparative African literature.
This is due to the fact that all African authors belonging to what is commonly referred to as ‘Modern African Literature' have come under the influence of Western – type schools of broadly two different categories,
namely the study of analogy or literary affinities and the study of influences or indebtedness of diversity, language, and culture, which has constituted a slew of problems for African Literatures.
Against this backdrop, the study tries to uncover themes in current African literatures, with a focus on African variety, language, and culture, through the use of selected African literary texts.
1.3 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The goal of this research is to look into every issue in every literary work. The following are the specific study objectives:
to investigate the Igbo Folklore of Cultural Matrix through the works of Chinua Acbebe; to evaluate male and female conflict as themes through the works of Mariam Ba and Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie;
and to analyse the hybridity of modern African Drama through the works of Wole Soyinka and Sam Ukala.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Many debates have erupted over the existence of African literature over the years. When completed, this study will emphasise the obstacles that African literatures have faced from pre-colonial times to the colonial period to the post-colonial era.
It will depict traditional Africans' lifestyles, practises, ethos, and mores, as well as analyse the conflicts that colonialism produced in the system and discuss the crises that underlay current African literatures.
Furthermore, it is believed that when the study is completed, it will contribute to existing literatures and solve knowledge gaps in the context of African variety, language, and culture.
It will also educate, inform, entertain, and document students, literary writers, educators, and scholars on the subject of language and style in contemporary African literature.
Finally, the findings presented at the end of this study will be extremely useful to future scholars in the field of art and the humanities in general.
1.5 SCOPE OF STUDY
The research is limited to looking at a few specific topics in modern African literature, such as Igbo folklore in Chinua Acbebe's Things Fall Apart and Arrow of God.
It also looks at the themes of male and female struggle in Mariama Ba's So Long a Letter and Chiamanda Ngozi Adichie's Purple Hibiscus. In addition, the paper examines the hybridity of modern African drama in Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman and Sam Ukala's Iredi War.
1.6 RESEARCH methodology
Various resources and research tools were used to conduct this study. This included primary text, which covered six different texts in order to provide an in-depth study of the research.
The secondary source will be library research, which will include published books, journals, and the internet. Before commencing on this project, the library was consulted in the data collection process.
There is a need to find out what has been written on the subject in order to guide the researcher on the general nature of the work and give root of background to the study. As a result, all information acquired will be used to complete proper work.