Women’s Literature in Kenya and Uganda: The Trouble with by Marie Kruger (auth.)

By Marie Kruger (auth.)

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42 This disfranchisement of non-Christian populations will undergo an unexpected turn in Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye’s A Farm Called Kishinev (Chapter 3), since the novel’s Jewish protagonists project a troubling figure of difference for Christian settlers and legitimize their claim to colonial space with the authority invested in God’s chosen people. ”43 For the Christian church, its insistence on embodying the absolute truth necessitated the continual adaptation of missionary policies in response to increasing anticolonial resistance.

48 It is this close relationship between social and religious change and its association with the institutions of colonial modernity that, in the narratives discussed in Chapter 2, inspires the desire for reclaiming the modern through the historical authenticity of the past. Though colonial modernity established its normativity by defining Africans (and Western minorities) as nonrational others, it still had to force them into its institutional apparatus to ensure the political viability of the colonial system.

Gyekye’s vision of an alternative modernity committed to humanistic values, Blyden’s notion of an exclusive racial personality, and also Kenyatta’s use of the ethnographic monograph to affirm Gikuyu culture from an anthropological and nationalist perspective provide a few poignant examples illustrating the difficulties of articulating liberatory ideologies through and, possibly, beyond Western epistemologies. In a similar attempt, the Négritude movement employed the literary expressions of its iconic writers—Léopold Senghor (Senegal), Léon Damas (French Guiana), and Aimé Césaire (Martinique)—to appeal to a unifying black tradition in defense against the potentially destabilizing influences of Western modernity.

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