The Recuperation of African History in African Fiction


The relationship between fiction and history is quite an obvious one, especially in postcolonial African settings, where it is more often than not that postcolonial African writers use their writings- creative or otherwise- to challenge the apologetic colonial Eurocentric historical discourses. This paper will demonstrate how African novelists portray in their imaginative creation a history denied or distorted by European historians and men of letters. Thus, the continent which is described in many Europeans documents as ‘heart of darkness’ and ‘space without history’, is forcefully vindicated by African writers. African novelists such as Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiongo’ enlist their fiction to challenge the ubiquitous claim that Africa lacked culture and civilization . Through appraisal of a selected novel written by each of these two authors this paper will highlight ways in which fiction can be utilized to   recuperate a displaced history. Both Ngugi and Achebe set their novels at a very contentious epoch in history  of the African continent : the advent of colonial enterprise in Africa and within their respective communities. Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (1958) depicts the evolution in history of the Igbo people which is, sadly, stopped by the colonial intervention. Likewise Ngugi’s The River Between (1966) engages the history of the Gikuyu people and how it is disrupted by European missionaries and invaders.  The two novels thus, provide a lucid illustration of the attempts to rectify the distorted image of the African contented painted by scheming Europeans whose foremost intention was to expropriate the content’s human and natural resources.

Author Information
Nasreddin Bushra Ahmed, Al-Jouf University, Saudi Arabia

Paper Information
Conference: LibrAsia2014
Stream: Literature

This paper is part of the LibrAsia2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Ahmed N. (2014) The Recuperation of African History in African Fiction ISSN: 2186-2281 – The Asian Conference on Literature and Librarianship 2014 – Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon