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African Literature for Beginners Author(s): Ezekiel Mphahlele Source: Africa Today, Vol. 14, No.

1, Africa in American Politics (1967), pp. 25-31 Published by: Indiana University Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4184744 . Accessed: 20/10/2011 15:18
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By Ezekiel Mphahlele Ezekiel Mphahlele is a South African now with the English Dept. of the University of Denver. He is a well-known African author. In April-May, 1966, the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado, Boulder, invited me to, give a course of lectures and spend a week on their campus as visiting professor. The main lecture was on African literature for students (and interested members of faculty) who I had to assume knew little or nothing about Africa. Most likely, some of the audience had not the slightest idea of the size, and only a vague picture of the position, of Africa. The following is the outline I gave, for what it was worth: There are two "apologies" one always finds oneself compelled to offer by way of introiduction in giving a course like this. The first is that one is going to talk about what is called by certain students of the subject "neo-African literature," with the understanding that pure African literature would have to be that which is written or spoken in the indigenous languages of the continent. The second is that one is going to talk about literature produced by negro-Africans. A study of African literature (having made the point that it is still rightly African because it is written out of an African experience) is not complete if it does not include writing by whites who are native to Africa and write out of a situation of involvement in the life of the continent. Writers like Nadine Gordimer, Alan Paton, Dan Jacobson, William Plomer, Joyce Cary, Uys Krige, Guy Butler, Elspeth Huxley, Doris Lessing and so on. One would even include Afrikaans literature, h o w e v e r sectional-often pettily and irritatingly so in its prose. But we have to begin somewhere; again, the mood, idiom and imagery of negroAfrican writing is not shared by the literature that comes from any of these whites. I think they fit more easily and comprehensibly into perspective when the larger literary arc of Africa has been mapped out, taking in English, French and Portuguese. (I mentioned French writing only briefly as I was giving a mere outline to a predominantly English-speaking audience. I should study African-French literature in depth if I were conducting a full-fledge course. And so to the talk: VWith a few notable exceptions, African literDECEMBER 1966


ature reflects the black-white encounter in various forms. Apart from those who wrote in Swahili in the Arab era of East African history and in Amharic, we all began to write, whether in vernacular or metropolitan languages, as a response to the presence of the white man. There is the South African version of the black-white encounter, reflecting a close proximitv in which there is an artificial, statutory superior-inferior relationship between black and white; the physical and mental agony that arises from and goes together with this relationship; a high degree of urbanization and an unstable rural life. There is the East alndCentral African version which suggests a state of transition. Here, people have been colonized but largely made to govern themselves. White settlers have made cities for themselves and shut out all but such number of Africans as they required for labour. Independence and self-rule found the black man still in the painful process oif becoming a city-dweller, but with one leg still in the rural areas, which he regards as a home to which he will retire. In East and Central Africa, the African is still in a state of uncertainty, and lack of self-confidence (i.e. culturally speaking) and such wide horizontal spread of sophis;tication as exists in South and West Africa are factors that are perhaps responsible for the paucity of creative writing in these regions, even in the indigenous languages. The literature that exists shows a rural stream of consciousness and the conflict between white settler communities and the blacks. There is the West African version of the black-white encounter, i.e., West Africa of British influence. Here are self-confident communities whose cultures were left very much to themselves through British "indirect rule," i.e., government through traditional rulers. City life here is predominantly African and the conflict between black and white could never have attained the dimensions and acuteness of that in Southern Africa (including South Africa, South-West Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Rhodesia), nor could it resemble it in character. The black-white encounter in West Africa is portrayed as a broader coinflict between the new way of life with its aggresive technology and its form of government, its religion on the one hand, and traditional African life on the other. Another aspect of the encounter is cultural alienation as a result of a foreign system of education, religion, technology, either at home or abroad. The latter form is dramatized by a home-coming, i.e., the return of the "been-to" (as people trained abroad are called) to his home country to find that he has to readjust to his people's life. Those in French-speaking West Africa feel

this alienation most poignantly, as the degree of their assimilation into French culture is higher than that of the assimilation into British or even Portuguese culture. African literature will thus show that over the communal and regional concerns, (which may or may not include the black-white encounter theme,) over the universal concerns like love, hate, death, war, exile and so on, is superimposed
the colonial experience, the invasion of traditional values by an aggressive alien, culture and political

oppression. These experiences cut across culture barriers in Africa. In this sense, our common metropolitan media of expression serve to unify our peoples.
The literatures and representative authors

Bells on the frothy necks Of the sacrificial sheep that limped and nodded after them. He imagines that the ancestors, sweeping like white locusts through the forests Saw the same men, slightly wizened, Shuffle their sandalled feet to the same rhythms They heard the same words of wisdom uttered Between puffs of pale blue smoke: They saw us. And said: They have not changed! (from Ancestral Faces)
George Awoonor-Williams (Ghana). The poet

WEST AFRICA (ENGLISH) 1. Fiction (a) The theme of home-coming and alienation:
William Conton (Sierra Leone): The Afri-

can. The hero comes back home after overseas study to find he has to rediscover Africa. (b) The theme of conflict between the old and new ways of life and alienation.
Chinua Achebe (Nigeria): Things Fall Apart. The

hopes that we shall still retain our sense of community where there is oneness in ritual. And yet It cannot be the music we heard that night that still lingers in the chambers of memory It is the new chorus of our forgotten comrades And the halleluyas of our second selves. (from Rediscovery) Lenrie Peters (Gambia) is very much, preoccupied in his poetry with the shattering experience of coming back home from abroad and discovering all the more then that Our sapless roots have fed The wind-swept seedlings of another age. Luxuriant weeds have grown where we led The virgins to the water's edge There at the edge of th town Just by the burial ground Stands the house without a shadow Lived in by new skeletons. (from Homecoming)
Intensely individual experience

hero resists a Christian mission which is converting many of his people. Things are falling apart and conflict sets in among his people. When he kills a messenger from the white administrator's office, hoping that he will incite his people to further violence, he receives no support and then he takes his own life. The Arrow God. A priest of a traditional god becomes a victim of the conflict when the Christian church succeeds in getting the people to harvest their yams before the priest permits them. He becomes mentally deranged. He had believed t;hat God was using him to punish his people, but now it turns out that his God has destroyed him. The exception to this West African trend is Cyprian Ekwensi (Nigeria) who writes about city people. People of the City is set in Lagos; so is part of Jagua Nana, the story of a Lagos prostitute. 2. Poetry
Nostalgia for the past Frank Parkes (Ghana):

Let us build new homesteads New dreams to decorate these ruins Let us weave fresh rafters from rescued stalks Let us start all over again The past is a pitiless dream A dream night.mare . .. (fro!m After the Holocaust)
Kwesi Brew (Ghana). Of ancestors he says:

Nigerians, generally speaking, are not haunted by ruins, ancestral faces or presences or music out of the past. Their poetry is more individualistic, with a personally-felt immediacy. When they give lyrical expression to aspects of the black-white encounter, it is a persionalization of the experience, such as we see in Gabriel Okara,'sPiano and Drums. He listens to the beating of drums, "urgent, raw like bleeding fles'h,"which takes him back to wild nature; he listens to a piano concerto, "tearfurrowed," as he puts it, and cannot fathom its complexities or that comes of the merging of the two sets of rhythms. And I lost in the morning mist Of an age at a riverside keep Wandering in the mystic rhy,thm Of jungle drums and the concerto. John Pepper Clark's poetry speaks of love, of
dancing girls; of rain that soaks into the earth, strokes her, swamp!s her,

They sneaked into the limbo of time. But could not muffle the gay jingling

Enters all of him beyond her fell, Till in the calm and cool after All alone, earth yawns, limbers her stay, Swollen already with the life to break at day. He talks of fishermen who people the creeks of the Niger Delta, his home territory. He also draws much material from the mythology of his people. He finds a symbol for a girl he loves for her generosity in the goddess of the sea who is also generous, yielding herself for man's pleasure. So drunken, like ancient walls We crumble in heaps at your feet; And as the good maid of the sea, Full of rich bounties for men, You lift us all beggars to your breast. Wole Soyinka, who better than any of his contemporaries can make the printed word echo his laughter, writes a verse account of a telephone conversation between a negro, in search of living quarters in London, and a landlady. She wants to know if he is dark, how dark, or whether he is light. And this, in a voice that is 'lipstick-coated, long goldrolled cigarette-holder pipped." He says: Facially, I am brunette, but madam you should see The rest of me. Palm of my hands, soles of my feet Are a peroxide blonde. Friction causedFoolishly madam-by sitting down, has turned My bottom raven black.
(from Telephone Conversation)

monster so as to break a severe drought. Her boy-friend drags her away jusit as she is about to go into the water. Just then the rain comes down. 2. Poetry The black-white encounter-conflict only implicitly perceived. Josep;hKariuki (Kenya): Come Away, my Love The protagonist, an African, is talking to his white girl-friend: Come away, my love, from streets Where unkind eyes divide And shop windows reflect our difference In the shelter of my faithful room rest. The candlelight throws Two dark shadows on the wall Which merge into one as I close beside

Two human breaths join in one, And the piano weaves Its unchallenged harmony. David Rubadiri (Malawi): Stanley Meets Mutesa The poet gives an account of the explorer, Stanley's Journey after the style of T. S. Eliot's Journey of the Magi. The party arrives in Uganda where they meet the Baganda King Mutesa who gives them hospitality: White man you are welcome. The gate of polished reed closes behind them And the west is let in. SOUTHERN AFRICA
1. Poetry

EAST AND CENTRAL AFRICA Although there is a paucity of English writing here, there is a considerable volume of poetry in Swahili, but writers in this language have still to come to terms with modern concerns which its current journalistic verse does not do adequately. There is not yet a Swahili novel of outstanding merit. The writing in the other African languages is mostly geared to a school or juvenile readership.
1. Fiction

Conflict between white settlers and Africans James Ngugi (Kenya): Weep Not Child. Conflict between man and his children as a result of their divergent ideas about the Mau Mau uprising. Conflict between the man and his white employer on whose farm he works; he hopes that he will one day regain this land. Tortured to death at the hands of the white farmer turned security officer. Reprisals against the latter by the African's sons.
Symbolism from folklore Grace Ogot (Kenya): Short stories that have an

Racial conflict and Protest (a) Mozambique & Angola Of a black soldier conscripted by the Portuguese for the war and who died, a Mozambiquan poet says he went to fight with courage and hate that were not his own. There were his children his mother a letter There was so much But all crumbled away All In the treacherous cackling Of the grenades With yellow beaks
And red tails . . .

element of folkloref, without the fantasy. In the story, The Rain Came, a chief's daughter is sent to a lake to drown herself as a sacrifice to the ancestors in the form of an imaginary

Another Mozambique poet laughs at and pities the white man as he taunts: All feel uneasiness At the undoubted whiteness of my bones White as the brea,sts of Ingrids or Marias in Scandinavian lands or in Ploan.a the smart quarter of my old native town And one day will come all the Marias of the dis.tant nations


penitent or no

English and French African oral poetry e.g., Tenana and Yoruba, etc.
1. Poetry

laughing or loving to the rhythm of a song To say to my bones forgive us, brother. In the midst of suffering the African poet consistently seeks refuge in the mother figure and glorifies womanhood. Says a Mozambiquan poet: The flying fish makes an end of searching

because woman is the gold of man when she sings she ever seems like the fado-singer's well-tuned guitar when she dies, I shall cut off her hair to deliver me from sin. An Angolan poet bids his mother goodbye when he leaves his country for study abroad and the political involvement that naturally follows. This is Agostinho Neto, now in exile. My mother (oh black mothers whose children have departed) you taught me to wait and to hope as you have done through the disastrous hours But in me life has killed that mysterious hope I wait no more it is I who am awaited Hope is ourselves your children travelling towards a faith that feeds life. (b) South Africa Negro literature in South Africa has an even more poignant immediacy than that in Mozambique or Angola. The theme of the clash between an alien culture and an indigenous one is not the issue here as it is in West and East Africa. The black man is fighting to defend and restore his human dignity, this is being undermined by oppressive laws and dispossession. The writer who works in English is a highly urbanized person. His comunity has long been in the city and he lives by the assumptions of city life, without a rural home to go back to. His language is impassioned, racy, sensuous, expressing as it does anger and impatience. His groping for a fitting idiom and experimentation, his tendency to record minuteby-minute experience are an emotional and mental effort to come to terms with the agony that he and his people are experiencing. His style is influenced more by American Negro writers than by authors of British orientation such as inforrns the styles of West and East African writers. There is an impressive volume of Bantu poetry and fictioln in South Africa whereas vernacular poetry is pretty thin in the rest of Africa except for the Swahili area. Efforts are made, however, to translate into

In 1884, a poet in the Cape Province wrote the following, which is a translation from the Bantu original: Some thoughts till now ne'er spoken Make shreds of my innermost being; And the cares and fortunes of my kin Still journey with me to the grave I turn my back on the many shams That I see from day to day; It seems we march to our very grave Encircled by a smiling Gospel. By then, a weekly newspaper in the same province had already been publishing verse in Bantu. Another poet wrote of Britain (in Bantu) in 1925: She sent us the preacher: she sent us the bottle, She sent us the Bible; and barrels of brandy. You sent us the truth, denied us the truth: You sent us life, deprived us of life; You sent us the light, we sit in the dark, Shivering, benighted in the bright noonday sun. Often there was biting sarcasm levelled at the white man; sometimes just a cry of agony. Often the verse simply documented the black man's sufferings in exquisitely lyrical Bantu whose music and cadences are foreign to English and are therefore lost in translation. Together with the tone of protest there was, until the late 1930's a tone of nostalgia for pastoral beauty and the "tribal village state" in our poetry. But with the coming of industrialization, the diminishing and disappearance of rights pertaining to land tenure, the intensification of oppressive measures, the longing for pastoral bliss became irrelevant. Poetry took up a strong and direct protest stand. In 1941, H.I.E. Dhlomo wrote in his long poem, The Valley of a Thousand Hills: The song and pace now widen out into A flooded stream all dark and fierce with wrong! No longer mine but tortured visions of The race I see; a groaning symphony Of grim discordant notes of race and creed. Dennis Brutus, now under house arrest in Port Elizabeth, writes verse with an impressionistic diction that seems to ooze out of a blistered soul: Under jackboots our boines and spirits crunch forced into sweat-tear-sodden slush. Police sounds-boots, sirens, knockings at the door, haunt him all the time: The shriek of nerves in pain; Then the keening crescendo of faces split by pain the wordless, endless wail only the unfree know. Often one suspects, rightly or wrongly, that one is trying to produce poetry in South Africa on impossible terms; that poetry cannot grow out of a situation of two-dimensional patterns of stimulus-response, especially at its crudest South

African level. But then Brutus can also write with a less harsh diction. Somehow we survive and tenderness, frustrated, does not wither. Investigating searchlights rake our naked unprotected contours; boots club on the pealing door. But somehow we survive severance, deprivation, losseven. although "Patrols uncoil along the asphalt dark hissing their menace to our lives" . . . Maybe when a poet is himself caught up in a situation of savage brutality, he can only document experience, so that its prose meaning is not far to seek. Looking back on his days in prison and in a more contemplative mood, Brutus writes from his home: across it*what were they? swans? spectral presences? masses, of tissue in flight?clouds
swooping, sailing, simply moving

With nothing else to see except the high red walls and some small black barred squares -windows, but not for useone discovered the clouds. So one discovered freedom as, an exquisite lyrical impulse indefinable poignant and heart-aching. * i.e.-the prison yard-(Ed.) Mazisi Kunene warns the proud, among them dictators, that, like the queen bee, they are destined to die. We who stood by you poverty-stricken shall abandon you to the insanity of license and follow the winding path where the wisdom granaries hold increase. 2. Fiction
Racial conflict and Protest

The Irony that is the meeting point between acceptance and rejection. Alex la Guma: A Walk in the Night: A novel which tells a story of a police hunt for a coloured boy who is suspected of murdering a white man (in fact he is innocent). When the agents of the law catch up with him, they shoot and kill him. A vivid description of a Cape Town slum settlement for coloureds, the setting of the novel. The action of the story covers only one night, so that incidents and character sketches overlap in a way that gives the novel a compelling tone. La Guma's short stories portray often the tragedy of associations and suspicions between fair-coloured and darker Negroes. Richard Rive: Emergency. A young coloured teacher realizes, how politically committed he is when the Political Branch of the Police pursues him as a result of his intimate associaDECEMBER 1966

tion with a white girl. Before now, he has tried to stay clear of politics, even although his dark complexion put him in an inferior position in family of fair-skinned coloureds. Peter Abrahams: Wild Conquest. Although Abrahams published all his novels while living in self-imposed exile in Britain, he uses the South African setting throughout except in one novel. Wild Conquest is about the conflict between the Boers as they trek northwards from the Cape and the Africans. After a vicious battle, a young Boer and an African die side by side, but not before they acknowledge between themselves the futility of the strife between their races. Short Stories: There are more short stories coming out of South Africa than any other part of Africa in any language. WEST AFRICA (FRENCH) 1. Poetry: The poets, Leopold Sedar Senghor (Senegal); David Diop and Birago Diop (Senegal); Paulin Joachim (Dahomey); Jean-Baptiste Mutabaruka (Rwanda); William Syad (Somali) have been under the influence of the negritude movement. Negritude embraces a Negro consciousness which is supposed to produce a distinctively Negro mode of artistic expression in both style and content. The poetry that results glorifies "things African" like the African landscape; ancestral worship; drums; dance; sacrificial and other kinds of ritual; naked feet; masks, and so on. It uses broad symbols in which the whole of Africa is irnagined to represent, or to be represented by, a kind of innocence, humanism, purity. These poets do not personalize experience as the English-speaking writers do in Africa. The poetry is a protest against French assimilation, and the revolt extends into the whole area of Western culture. And yet it can only be an intellectual projection into the African setting as the writers are an elite physically cut off from the masses. Their poetry can only portray the outer trappings of African life without being able to penetrate the essence of an African experiences that lies beyond the general broad sweep of slogans and anti-colonial attitudes. Some younger French-African poets are now breaking away from the theme of self-justification as embraced by negritude. The poetry uses intensive imagery that derives from the diction of Baudelaire, Mellarme, Verlaine, Rimbaut etc. For who else would teach rhythm to the world that has died of machines and cannons? For who else should ejaculate the cry of joy that arouses the dead and the wise in a new dawn? Say, who else could return the memory of life to men with a torn hope? They call us cotton heads, and coffee men and oily men, They call us men of death. But we are men of the dance whose feet onlygain power when they beat the hard soil. (Senghor)

In those days When civilization kicked us in the face When holy water slapped our cringing brows The vultures built in the shadow of their talons The bloodstained monument of tutelage In tho-se days There was painful laughter in the metallic hell of the roads And the monotonous rhythm of the paternoster Drowned the howling on the plantations. (David Diop) Listen more often to things rather than beings. Hear the fires voice, Hear the voice of water. In the wind hear the sobbing of the trees It is the breathing of our forefathers. (Birago Diop) Poets like Tchikaya U'Tam'si (Brazzaville Congo) are not influenced by negritude. 2. Fiction It is worth noting that prose writers of French expression are not bound hand and foot by the concept and demands of negritude. And yet they portray the black-white encounter with a devastating sense of irony and sophistication unparalelled in English prose in Africa. Their novels have tremendous depth. Here is a short list: Mongo Beti (Cameroun): Mission to Kala (translation of Mission Terminee) Camara Laye (Guinea): Radiance of the King (translation of Le Regard du Roi) Ferdinand Oyono (Cameroon): Le Vieux Negre et la Medaille Houseboy (tr. of Une Vie de Boy) Sembene Ousmane (Senegal): Le Docker Noir (Debresse, Paris) Bernard Dadie (Ivory Coast): Climbie (Seghers, Paris) Olympe Bhely-Quenum (Dahomey): Un Piege sans Fin (Stock, Paris) AUTOBIOGRAPHY There is emerging in Africa a genre of literature in which the author is telling his own life in part or up to the time when he is writing. This arises out of the almost desperate urge in us to explain ourselves. Camara Laye (Guinea): The African Child (paperback, translation from French) Dark Child (hard cover, Collins) Cheik Hamidou Kane (Senegal): L'Aventure Ambigue (Julliard, Paris) Mugo Gatheru (Kenya): A Child of Two Worlds (paperback, Heninemann) Alfred Hutchinson (South Africa): Road to Ghana (Gollancz) Todd Matshlkiza (South Africa): Chocolates for my wife (Hodder & Stoughton)

Bloke Modisane (South Africa): Blame me on History (Thames & Hudson) Ezekiel Mphahlele (South Africa): Down Second Avenue (Faber & Faber) DRAMA I have not said anything about drama because the field is still thin. What exists is dramatic writing that is for theatre in the Western tradition. The writer here visualizes the theatre with a proscenium arch. But the few playwrights there are not the less outstanding for this: Wole Soyinka* (Nigeria)- by far the most outstanding-whose plays have been produced in several theatres of the world, chief of which are: The Lion and the Jewel; The Swamp Dwellers; The Trials of Brother Jero; The Road; Kongi's Harvest. John Pepper Clark* (Nigeria), a poet who writes verse drama: Song of a Goat; The Raft: The Masquerade Joe De Graft* (Ghana): Sons and Daughters S;arif Easmon* (Sierra Leone): Dear Parent and Ogre Alfred Hutchinson (South Africa): The Rain Killers (London University Press) There is, however, tremendous threatrical activity in Africa, much of it locally written and still experimental with a view to exploiting indigenous material like folklore, song and dance. The liveliest areas of such activity are: Nigeria; Ghana; Uganda; South Africa; Tanzania; Senegal; Guinea; Cameroon. * Oxford University Press Conclusion There is poetry that does not portray the blackwhite encounter, but simply documents external nature and other eternal verities. Most of this is poor. Only few poets like John Pepper Clark, Gabriel Okara and Mazisi Kunene (the last two of whom write in their own vernaculars and translate into English) produce good verse of this

There are signs that indicate that soon the whiteman-listen theme in our literature will play itself out, and that we shall turn inwards and speak to ourselves. The South Africans cannot help doing this, i.e. speaking to their own people, because the challenge demands an intense degree of commitment. Nigerians Cy.pian Ekwensi, John Pepper Clark and now Chinua Achebe and George Awoonor-Williams of Ghana are tackling themes that require social criticism of a situation in which the white man may not necessarily be directly involved or be responsible. Although we talk to the white man as well as to ourselves in South Africa, he is committed to living in the country himself and needs to be liberated from himself. It is perhaps too soonl to expect satire in large measure. We find it inl South Africanl sketches, in Soyinka, Achebe. As we learn to we s!hall also, I think, create laugh at oursXelves, a literature that echoes our laughter.

A BRIEFBIBLIOGRAPHY of the authors of Englishtexts referredto as representative


Todd Matshikiza: Chocolates for my Wife (Hodder

& Stoughton)

Gerald Moore & Ulli Beier: Modern Poetry from Africa (penguin)
Dennis Brutus Sirens, Knuckles, Boots (Mbari,

Ibadan) Lenrie Peters: Poems (Mbari) George Awoonor-Williams: Rediscovery (Mbari) Frank Parkes: Songs from the Wilderness (London University Press) Fiction and Autobiography Ellis Komey & Ezekiel Mphahlele (eds.): Modern African Stories (Faber & Faber) Chinua Achebe: Things fall Apart; No Longer at Ease; Arrow of God (Heinemann) William Conton: The African (Heinemann) Cyprian Ekwensi: Jagua Nana (Panther paperback) James Ngugi: Weep not Child (Heinemann) Alex la Guma: A Walk in the Night (Mbari) Richard Rive: Emergency (Faber & Faber) Peter Abrahams: Wild Conquest (Faber & Faber) Camera Laye: The African Child (Fontana paperback) Mugo Gatheru: A Child of Two Worlds (Heinemann) Alfred Hutchinson: Road to Ghana (Gollancz)

Bloke Modisane: Blame Me on History (Thames & Hudson) Ezekiel Mphahlele: Down Second Avenue (Faber & Faber) (ed.) New Writing in Africa (Penguin anthology, due out January 1967) Other Non-Fiction Ezekiel Mphahlele: The African Image (Faber & Faber) Gerald Moore: Seven African Writers (Oxford University Press) Judith Gleason: This Africa (Northwestern University Press) Anne Tibble: Africa-English Literature (Peter Owen) NOTE Mbari publications from Ibadan, Nigeria, are available from Northwestern University Press as well as from Mbari Writers' and Artists' Club, Private Mail Bag 5612, Ibadan, Nigeria. Besides the publishers who bring out African writing as part of their normal pubilishing business, the following are committed to programmes of African publishing: Heinemann, Oxford University Press, Longmans, (all in London); East Africa Publishing House, Nairobi, Kenya; African Universities Press, Lagos, Nigeria. Catalogs can be obtained from these houses.

the publicationof an important announcing document.


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Niera:o Model

a Colonial



In January 1968, the image and myth that was the Nigerian Federation collapsed under the blows of a swift and bold military coups. The image- projected by the U.S. and other Western countries-was that the trappings of parliamentary democracy were relevant to the problems of underdeveloped countries. The myth-also commonly accepted in the Wewas that Nigeria was a stable democracy, friendly to free enterprise and well on Its way to progress and proserity. of Anthropology at the New School for Social oResearch Stanley Diamond, Africanist, Professor and field distinguished worker in Nigeria's Middle Belt, was the solitary academic voice in America to warn against these platitudinous and comIn a series of conclusions. articles Africa and placent appearing in Today Dissent, Dr. Diamond, challenging the orthodox analysis of West African dynamics, concluded that -Nigeria, pivot of Africa and of American policy in Afrlca, was bound to unless a major social revolution occurred. disintehate That revolution has not yet come. And so Dr. Diamond's eperceptive analysis continues to be of great Importance. Students l of African affairs, and anyone wishing to understand the subtle details of political are urged to read thbi maneuvering, u collection.

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