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SEALLF 2022 Abstracts

South East African Languages and Literature Forum Fall 2022 Conference

SEALLF Fall 2022 Presentation Abstracts, in the panel order.

Author:  Dr. Esther Lisanza

Title: The State of African Languages, Literatures and Global Mobility

Abstract: The State of African Languages, Literatures and Global Mobility Through advancement in technology, this century has witnessed immense movements of African people across the globe than ever before despite the recent threat of COVID-19 pandemic which brought the whole world to a standstill. As the African people migrate to new lands, they carry with them their languages and cultures. And although the world is becoming a global village through the forces of globalization and digitization, African languages and literatures have found a niche on the global stage. This is despite the threat from global languages (e.g., English). For instance, African languages such as Amharic, Somali, Swahili, Wolof, Yoruba, Zulu etc. are taught in the US, Canada, Europe, and beyond both face to face and virtually. In fact, because of virtual realities, Africans in Africa are teaching their languages virtually to learners in Europe, America, and Asia from the comfort of their homes. Hence, courtesy of modern technology, African language teachers travel all over the world virtually. Additionally, African languages have not been left behind in the traditional media outlets, such as television and radio; and social media platforms such as Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram etc. Furthermore, many African creative writers abroad such as Mohamed Said Ahmed (living in Germany) and Ngugi wa Thiong’o (living in the US) have continued to write in African languages. Their works not only focus on the experiences of Africans within Africa, but also the experiences of Africans abroad. Through their literary works, African cultures and languages are being spread across the globe. Not only are African languages and literatures being shared with the rest of the world through Roman scripts, but also through indigenous scripts such as Geez/Amharic and Ajami scripts. On one hand, the students of Amharic in different universities in the US, Europe, and beyond learn the Amharic language and Ge’ez script. On the other hand, the Wolof students at the University of Boston can learn Wolof and also learn the Ajami script. Therefore, due to global mobility and technological advancement, African languages are playing a major role in global education, literature, traditional media, and social media. However, it is important to note that just as advancement in technology has created a space for African languages on the global stage, so has it created even a larger space for other global languages such as English and French. Thus, although African languages are thriving on the global stage so are other languages. Consequently, African languages need a lot of support for them to continue thriving globally. As a matter of urgency, we must come to the table to discuss how to empower African languages both in Africa and on the global stage.

 

Author:  Dr. Ajibade George Olusola

Title:  The Yorùbá Concept of Mobility: Impetus from Language, Literature and Culture

Abstract:The paper sets to investigate the role that Yorùbá mobility-related language, literature and culture play in diverse relationships- indoor and outdoor spaces. It uses both field investigative and desktop methods of data collection. It analyses the data qualitatively from the theoretical lens of hermeneutics. It explores how the philosophical and ideological tensions that exist between memory and imagination account for personal and social pasts of the historical figures/subjects represented in the selected texts. It hopes to showcase or explicate the Yorùbá concept of mobility, not just as local and global mediums of communicating meanings, but also how certain Yorùbá dictions and sentential constructions are utilized as cultural instruments of self-representation and identity. Keywords: Mobility, Yorùbá, Language, Literature, Culture, Identity.

 

AuthorDr. Oluwafunke Brinda Ogunya

Title:  The Impact of Transatlantic Migration on African Language and Literature

Abstract: African migration has existed for a long time, either transnationally, internationally, or globally. Historically, people move from one place to another for different reasons, either through force like during the transatlantic slave trade or voluntarily as seen in the current dispensation. When Africans migrate voluntarily or through force, they do not move alone. They carry with them various aspects of their culture, including their languages. Henry Louis Gates Jr., in the first chapter of his book: The Signifying Monkey, establishes that “the Black Africans who survived the dreaded “Middle Passage” from [the] west coast [of] Africa to the New World did not sail alone…these Africans nevertheless carried with them to the western hemisphere aspects of [their] culture that was meaningful, that could not be obliterated, and that they chose, by acts of will, not to forget: their music…their myth, their expressive instructional structures, their metaphysical systems of order, and their forms of performance (3-4). This cross-cultural contact gives room for the emergence of a new African culture, “a colorful weave of linguistic, institutional, metaphysical, and formal threads” (4). This paper seeks to examine the emergence of a new language as reflected in some literary texts and how migration provides a new meaning to some of our oral literature forms and culture, which presents a connection to technology and the representation of the African language and culture in the New World.

 

Author:   Dr. Anne Jebet

Title:  Language and Migration: A Case Study of African Refugee Immigrants in the US

Abstract: African refugee immigrants continue to face manifold effects immediately after resettlement in the US. One of the multiple effects faced is the language barrier. Much of the recent literature has discussed in general, effects concerning race and health among African immigrants. However, there is a need to examine in particular, the experiences of African immigrants who face manifold disadvantages by being black and new, in a new land and with limited language proficiency. In this paper, I will discuss how Swahili African refugees in the US are impacted by language barrier and their access to different resources especially during the COVID 19 pandemic. This study is based on a qualitative study done in one city in the US. I will also provide suggestions on what can be done to alleviate issues of language barriers among African refugee immigrants arriving in the US.

 

Author:  Dr. Leonard Muaka

Title:  Far from Home but Never Far from Home: Exploring Swahili’s Diasporic Literature

Abstract:  Global movements have led to human displacements that challenge how people view their world and create multiple identities. This paper examines Swahili diasporic literature in which specific authors illustrate how Africans who migrate to other countries navigate the tough reality of being far away from their ancestral homes. In Mbali na Nyumbani (2013) (Far from Home), Shafi Adam Shafi uses the autobiographical style of writing to provide insights of the dreams and wishes of many Africans who travel far from their homes. I analyze how the lure of the foreign world becomes a mirage for many diasporans whose initial wishes become illusions leading to nostalgic moments while far away. I juxtapose the experiences of East Africans to those of Africans from other parts of the world – see example the works of Chimamanda Adichie (Nigeria), NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) among others in the diaspora and argue that the experiences of the African immigrant are essentially similar. Although the main text of analysis will be Mbali na Nyumbani by Shafi Adam Shafi, I will draw examples from works such as Kunani Marekani na Hadithi Nyingine edited by PI Iribe Mwangi, Mhanga Nafsi Yangu by Said Ahmed Mohamed and Masomoni California by Ireri Mbaabu.

 

Author:  Naeelah Kamaldien

Title: Resistance within the literary text: An exploration of Apartheid resistance poetry by South African high school learners

Abstract:  This paper forms the foundation of the researcher’s PhD in English Literature research project at the University of Cape Town. The paper explores the literary, historical, educational, and sociological context of Apartheid resistance literature produced by South African high school learners during Apartheid- a virtually untouched topic in scholarly spaces. The focus period of the study is 1960-1990 and the data collection is sourced from back issues of the South African Council for English Education’s anthology English Alive. Careful exploration will analyse the contributing factors in schools and society which the researcher argues, led to the production of rich creative poetry by South African high school learners who were dissatisfied with the brutally racist and unjust Apartheid government. Owing to length constraints of the paper, the following factors will be explored: how the Apartheid government utilised the schooling space to transmit Apartheid, the nature of the primary and high school curricula during Apartheid, the influence of the Black Consciousness Movement on local resistance literature and the spirit and culture of student-led resistance in South Africa. Lastly, the paper will proffer textual evidence of Apartheid protest poetry produced by high school learners during the period of study. This research project presents a significantly new and original contribution to our current understanding of Apartheid and the role of the high school learner in the Struggle..

 

Author:  Dr. Adaora L. Anyachebelu

Title: Language and Creativity in African Literature: A stylistic Examination of Chukuezi’s Udo ka Mma

Abstract: Language is a very vital tool in the hand of any literary writer. Literary authors use language to communicate their messages to their audience as well as for aesthetic and stylistic purposes. Chukuezi as one of the Igbo play writers, creatively uses various figures of speech and figures of language as style, to communicate to his readers. Chukuezi’s use of language in Udo ka Mma, an Igbo drama text, has not received attention from scholars. The aim of this study is an in-depth analysis and a critical assessment of Chukuezi’s language use in Udo Ka Mma. The objectives includes to identify the figures of speech and figures of language that are used in Udo Ka Mma, explain their meanings, decide the suitability and usefulness of such language in supporting the overall theme of the novel. Findings reveal that Chukuezi can effectively stylistically and aesthetically employ the use of figures of speech and figures of language in Udo Ka Mma. The study concludes that Chukuezi can harness various language elements in supporting the overall theme of the drama.
Key Words: language, literary creativity, Udo Ka Mma, Igbo drama

 

Author:  Maria Carolina Almeida de Azevedo

Title: Peripheral Women in Brazilian Literature: African Heritage in Verse and Audacity

Abstract: This paper aims to present, through the works of Carolina Maria de Jesus, Conceição Evaristo and the book “Carolinas”, launched by the Literary Fair of the Peripheries (FLUP) in 2021, how the presence of African heritage is presented in the tracks of their writings. I also intend to present the political developments in the literary and academic field provoked by these authors, when their works gain the general public and cause criticism and questioning about the presence of black and peripheral women, the quality of their works and, especially, about the racism that is presented in the face of their insurgencies. With the theoretical support of Felisberto (2011), Soares & Machado (2017) and Ferreira (2013), I will seek to bring the development and importance of this movement for the decolonization of Brazilian black literature and academic conceptions for the urgent promotion of Afro-diasporic culture and values.

 

Author:  Juliet Adaobi Chukwuma and Dr. Martha Michieka

Title: Migration and Mental Slavery: A stylistics approach to Adichie’s Americanah and Ama Ata Aidoo’s Our Sister Killjoy

Abstract: Most works of fiction by contemporary African writers have identified the significant theme of migration. And this, however, agrees with Walter Rodney’s stance that Africa is a continent on the move. Certain push factors have shown the mass migration from Africa to the western world is the search for greener pastures, issues on war, poverty, education, and so much more. However, migration has done more harm than good as the culture these Africans carry with them suffer endangerment, furthermore, death as they arrive at their “Eldorado.” It is this stance that both Chimamanda Adichie and Ama Ata Aidoo take in their novels. Thus, this study will show how the protagonists of both texts introduce us to the dangers of migration. A content analysis of the texts shows how Africans are still mentally enslaved and the need for African emancipation from mental slavery

 

Author:  Dr. Anyachebelu, Adaora Lois and Ms. Uchenna Grace Umeodinka

Title: Women Self-mortification and Igbo Folktale

Abstract:  Misappropriations and the inappropriate handling of gender matters have resulted in frictions and fracas in various homes and the society at large. Some scholars are of the view that most of the unpalatable situations that women go through in Africa are engendered by either the actions of their fellow women or are as a result of the patriarchal nature of the African society. The thrust of this study is to critically look at women representations in Igbo folktales with a view to identifying other factors responsible for some of the negative predicaments of women in Africa. The objectives include to outline some of the negative attitudes portrayed by women from the tales; to investigate if there are ways such attitudes are contributors to the negative experiences that women go through; and to proffer solution for a more stable society. Purposive sampling technique was employed in the abstraction of the tales used for analysis. The study reveals that beyond the issue of patriarchy and marginalization by their fellow women; that some of the unpalatable experiences that women go through in Africa are ‘individual women’ engendered. The study concludes that there is need for women to look inward and embark on individual self-assessment and mortification for societal stability and harmony. Key words: African society, Igbo folktales, self-mortification, Women

 

Author:  Ms. Omolola Giwa and Dr. Martha Michieka

Title:  Patriarchy and the Influence of religion on African women as portrayed in Mariama Ba’s So Long a Lettera

Abstract:  The influence of patriarchal systems combined with a blind enforcement of misinterpreted foreign /colonial religious practices impact African women in various ways. Women’s selfhood has been systematically subordinated or outright denied by law, customary practices, cultural and religious stereotypes. Several African novelists, especially female authors, have addressed the experiences of women in Africa. Contemporary authors like Mariama Ba, Chimamanda Adichie, Tsistsi Dangarembga portray the impact of patriarchy and religion on women. This current study focuses on Mariama Ba’s epistolary novel So Long a Letter, which captures the struggles and conditions of Muslim women in Senegal, West Africa. Though Mariama Ba’s work is fictional, the experiences of her female characters reflect women experiences in society. The study, using Ba’s work, explores the impact of patriarchal and religious ideologies on the treatment and the status of women in Senegal. Each woman’s story is different, and so is each woman’s way of responding to the treatment and subjugation they receive

 

Author:  Mr. Denis Waswa

Title: Hysteric Rebellion: Resisting Gendered Violence in Post/Colonial Africa

Abstract:  Since the inception of political independence in Africa, gender violence has been an overwhelming subject in the continent’s post/colonial consciousness. Through Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, this paper will explore contemporary forms of resistance that African women embrace to combat gendered violence. Dangarembga’s novel posits that violence against women in postcolonial Africa is a product of both colonial and patriarchal ideologies. The novel allegorizes women bodies as sites of cultural impurity sickened and polluted by “diseases” of imperial influence, yet these bodies are transformed into sites of rebellion. Hence, I argue that gendered violence can be negotiated through women rebellion and kinship. Although finding a resolution to this subject may not be completely and instantly successful, Nervous Conditions offers an avenue to explore ways and possibilities of combating gendered violence in Africa. The novel shows that women can reclaim their bodies as sites of resistance to internal (traditional patriarchy) and external (imperial ideologies) “diseases” of colonialism. Through such works of literature, women can unite across class lines and form a collective body aimed at decolonizing gender-based violence in Africa.

 

Author:  Dr. Mohamed Mwamzandi

Title: Africa’s Competitive and Elitist Education System as Depicted in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions

Abstract: Several studies of African literature have profoundly discussed colonialism’s socioeconomic and political influences and its aftermath. Fewer, however, have explored the impact of circular education introduced by the colonials on the mental health and policy struggles and dilemmas of independent African nations. Education in Kenya and many other African countries is the ‘key’ to success and power and elitist in nature. The ongoing debate on the cut-throat competitive Kenyan education system has subsequently led to the introduction of the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) (2-6-3-3), which replaces the 8-4-4 system. As seen in Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions, during colonialism, Africans are given limited chances to join higher levels of education. Those who are successful, like Baba Mukuru, become affluent members of society. Several characters in the text are emotionally and psychologically affected by the demands to pursue circular education and the pressure associated with passing exams. Tsitsi Dangarembga’s novel is a cry reminiscent of the suffering of Kenya’s students, parents, and stakeholders anxious at the end of every academic year and the economic and political domination by the few elites who emerge victorious in the exam-based curriculum. This paper aims to show that today’s dynamism and uncertainties surrounding the exam-based education system in Kenya are the result of an ineffective curriculum that does not address emerging issues in the country.

 

Author:  Dr. Geofred Osoro

Title: Education and Culture through Swahili Proverbs: Lessons from Indigenous Practices

Abstract: The motivation for this research is a quest for important knowledge from the past that can inform human judgement in the present and future. All critical knowledge from time immemorial has been passed along from one person to another and from generation to generation. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about medicine, agriculture, fishing, and hunting as well as animal rearing. As this study reveals, there is no better place for any society to seek better judgement than in the long record of human experience stored in proverbs. Proverbs contain general principles, a kind of knowledge, and possess the extraordinary capacity to carry knowledge of past experience across the boundary of time into the future where this knowledge can help people to function more effectively in their lives. This paper shows that the general principles in proverbs are universal in nature; they have proven valid in the past; they remain valid in the present, and they are likely to remain valid in the future anywhere that humans are present. As in any disciplines of all kinds, proverbs are created for the purpose of developing, systemizing, and imparting a people’s sets of general principles. Proverbs supply humans with useful principles of knowledge transferable from generation to generation. With principles in proverbs useful in the past, present, and the future, the recommendation of this study is that proverbial language is able to fulfil the important purpose of education that shapes the way humans interact with each other in the society.

 

Author:  Ms. Blessing Adedokun-Awojodu

Title:  A People, Her Values and Her Festival: The Oronna Ilaro Festival

Abstract:  A lot has been done on festival as a potent source of oral literature. Indeed, many renowned Nigerian festivals have enjoyed remarkable academic interrogations. However, numerous other local festivals remain unpopular, yet, they have notable implications for the socio-cultural and political values of the indigenous people. This research sought to unearth the significance of the Oronna Festival to the Ilaro people. The paper revealed Oronna festival as a ceremony established upon strong oral backgrounds; those associated with the traditional values of the Ilaro people. It attempted an appraisal of the oralities constituted in the events of this festival as well as their individual significance to the whole body of the festival and more importantly, to the lives of the Ilaro people. The data used were collected through non-participatory observation, interviews and library materials. These were analyzed using two theories: the masculinity theory and the functionalism theory respectively. It proved that the festival has strong socio-cultural and psychological implications for the Ilaro people as much as it serves to preserve the culture and traditional systems of the community.

 

Author:  Nura Abubakar

Title:  The Impact of Literal Translation of Proverbs in Shaihu Umar

Abstract:  Hausa proverbs play a vital role in the way of life of people. For instance, it serves as a means of communication in speech and writing. In addition, it is a way of teaching morality and imparting knowledge to society. Therefore, the impact of the Hausa proverb highly depends on how the writer or speaker used it at a given time, situation, style, or even form. It is obvious that many proverbs from different languages have now been translated into another language in what Roman Jacobson called “interlingual translation.” In On Linguistic Aspect of Translation, Jakobson clearly explains that interlingual translation is “an interpretation of verbal signs by means of some other languages.” This means Mervin Hiskett translation of Tafawa Balewa’s Shaihu Umar from Hausa as a source language (SL) to English as a target language (TL) is called interlingual translation. In this paper, I argue that Hiskett’s translations of Hausa proverbs in Tafawa Balewa’s novel Shaihu Umar failed to articulate the main idea of the proverbs. Therefore, the proverbs are reduced to a literal translation where their meaning and cultural values are lost. This paper has identified some proverbs, their literal (word for word) meaning, and contextual meaning from the source text (ST) and compared them with the target text (TT).

 

Author:  Dr. Raphael Birya

Title: Shaping Swahili Culture through the “Kanga

Abstract: Swahili people from the East African Region of Africa express their culture through arts and crafts. Kanga, popularly known as ‘Lesso,’ is one of the significant artifacts displaying phrases articulating the Swahili people’s norms, values, and beliefs. The designing and structuring of the Kanga are made with extreme care using geometric designs to demonstrate the Swahili culture. According to the Swahili people, Kanga is an essential artifact to educate, remind, and emphasize the culture to generations through numerous phrases, which pass essential messages, to the community. The use of Kanga spreads within the region where Swahili is spoken most. It appeals most to women than men, but men are not restricted from using it. The cloth can be used as a sling to carry babies, a cover around the waist, a kitchen apron, and during essential functions, such as weddings, funerals, etc. The Swahili culture is believed to be shaped by the phrases written on the Kanga with varying cultural messages, such as respect, sharing, integrity, and love. This study uses culture theory to investigate the portrayal and shaping of the Swahili culture through the phrases on the Kanga. Two hundred pictures of Kanga will be coded. The researcher will create a codebook to guide the data collection process. The outcome will provide an understanding of Kanga’s influence on the Swahili culture through the Kanga.
Key words: Culture, Kanga, Swahili People, Swahili Culture, Geometric Designs

 

Author: Charles Bwenge and Jessica Mushi

Title: The Future of PALs: Revisiting Bokamba’s Models with special reference to UF & WSSU

Abstract:  It is now 22 years since Bokamba’s publication – African Language Program Development and Administration: A History and Guidelines for Future Programs (2002) – in which he elaborately documents a historical perspective regarding the emergence and development of PALs in the US and goes further to propose models that could describe viable programs. He proposes ‘the best PAL models’ using a continuum that ranges from the best programs to the worst based on such key areas as administrative infrastructure, program structure and scope, and sustainability within which each contains several features that can be used to ascertain the strengths and weaknesses of a given PAL and, consequently, be rated abstractly on a five star to one star model. This presentation re-visits the models as a preliminary attempt to reassess/review the dynamics that the field of African language pedagogy has experienced over this period, and what might be coming soon. The University of Florida (UF) and Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) are brought in as a case study. UF (a comprehensive research university) has been in the business for long time, whereas WSSU (one of the oldest HBCUs in the country) is relatively new in the field.

 

Author: Dr. Dainess Maganda

Title:  Fostering Transnational Identity through Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy

Abstract:  Due to considerable increase in diversity and geographical heterogeneity around the world in recent decades, the cultivation of a mindset that values and cherishes diversity is no longer an option, it is a requirement for the building of a peaceful and harmonious global society. Educational practices working towards this goal seek to recognize, preserve and advance cultural diversity in the classroom and have recently been referred to as culturally sustaining pedagogy. This paper illustrates teaching and learning processes that use the teaching of African languages, literature and culture as a culturally sustaining pedagogy to channel through the references of meaning, life events and experiences of students and their families. In the first example, naming practices and the languages used link students with their families in ways that show the value and beauty of their parents’ culture. In the second example, a discussion regarding various meanings of hospitality based on cultural values and expressions of identity result in helping students of African descent and other minority cultures have a sense of pride and appreciation for their homeland. These examples draw from funds of knowledge participatory research-action approach and are considered within the framework of developing inclusive pedagogies which, recognize the living cultures and practices of students while allowing these cultural references to be maintained and sustained. Consequently, transnational identities are constructed and honored. Implications for using this approach in the classrooms are discussed. Keywords: Culturally sustaining pedagogy; funds of knowledge; transnational identity; cultural diversity; inclusive education.

 

Author:  Dr. Akinloyè Òjó.

Title: Language, Society and Empowerment in Africa and Its Diaspora: A Book Presentation

Abstract:  The immense linguistic diversity and its indubitable cultural enrichment is celebrated in Africa. It impacts the social and ethnic identities of the over one billion Africans. The majority endogenous languages are core to the daily existence of most Africans. Conversely, the fewer exogenous languages, vestiges of Africa’s historical engagements with Arabia and Europe, have also impacted Africa’s socio-cultural landscape. This linguistic diversity brings both benefits and challenges. Arguably, several of the challenges facing post-colonial Africa centers on development of human and material resources and language is a vital and useful lens for engaging and analyzing these multifaceted challenges. This presentation discusses a new Lexington Press publication that focuses on the instrumental and emblematic functions of language in Africa and its diaspora. The presentation initially describes the motivations for, and contents of the book’s ten sections. It highlights how the impetus of the book derives from the structuralist discourses on Africanity and cultural identity, and the social responsibility of the (African) linguist as posited in the works of Oyekan Owomoyela and Ayo Bamgbose. Ultimately, the presentation discusses the three intricately related objectives that the book achieves in its consideration of language, society and empowerment on the African continent and Its Diaspora.

 

Author:  Dr. Esther Mukewa Lisanza

Title: Global Mobility and Swahili Literature: The Case of Homa ya Nyumbani

Abstract:  Since the flourishing of ancient Swahili states such as Lamu and Kilwa, Swahili people have been involved in many voyages across the globe. Hence, Swahili literature just like any other world literature has not been left behind in highlighting what its people are going through as they transverse foreign lands and sometimes settling in these lands. By referencing “Homa ya Nyumbani” a short Swahili story written by Said Ahmed Mohamed, this paper will explore the theme of global mobility and its impact on the Swahili people and culture.

 

Author:  Adanna L. Ogbonna-Oluikpe

Title:  How Beautiful We Are: Local Voices, the Afropolitan and Planetary Consciousness

Abstract:  The question of mobility, either spatial, social, or cultural, is resonant in the Afropolitan discourse. Where its elitist composition has confined it to a descriptor for persons participating in physical transnational movements that privilege the metropole as destination, this paper centralizes the African continent as a space for Afropolitan encounters and expressions. It argues that Africans living within the continent are legitimate actants of Afropolitan articulations by exploring their quotidian activities as not only reflective of transnational consciousness but also as having global socio-political implications. This paper attempts to redirect the ideology from its classist/elitist positioning to provide a more nuanced and decolonial reading of Africa’s participation as consumers and producers of global cultures. Analytically reading Imbolo Mbue’s How Beautiful We Are, the paper considers the inhabitants of the fictional African village, Kosawa, in their fight against the devastating impact of the activities of an American oil company, Pexton, as reinscribing their identity and experiences as global actors who affect and are affected by planetary issues and forces.  The paper stages this environmental consciousness as contributory to global calls for ecological repair and awareness.  It argues so-called ‘local’ African literature as a converging site of global consciousness, where transnational mobility is defined not by physical movement but social, ideological, and textual.

 

Author:  Bello Damilare

Title:  In Defense of the ‘Parochial’, the Incredible, and Vagabonds!

Abstract:  This paper sets out a defense of the parochial as a mode of interpretively reading specific mobilities demonstrated by literary texts at the level of form and character; the incredible as the absurd nature or conditions of these migratory expressions; and Vagabonds! as a text that animates both for discursive analysis. The parochial in its leading exposition by Tsitsi Jaji marks novels that are decidedly preoccupied with specific locales as capacious centers of their immediate worlds. This paper reads Eloghosa Osunde’s Vagabonds! within this discursive strain, a novel about ungovernable characters, ‘the poor, queer, footloose, and rogue spirits,’ whose precarious realities are marked and compelled by the liminal energies of the city, Eko, within which they live roaming lives. The paper insists that Vagabonds!’ parochiality is as scalar as mobile. With language that advances local sensibilities, a narrative whose locus of awareness is an urban city, and a form that parallels the city’s whimsicality, the novel, published by Riverhead Books (Penguin Random House), upsets an extant critique of Western-published African literature as often extroverted. I am interested in articulating a novel’s defense of local realism against the fetishistic determinism of global literary tastes, even as it traverses multiple scales and economies—esoteric, capital, global, cultural, and literary— with an edifying but parochial imagination.

 

Author: An FLTAs Panel Discussion

Title:  Comparative Reflections on Teaching English in Africa versus Teaching African Languages in America

Abstract:  Language teaching may differ in terms of skills, approaches, and delivery. It however involves shared level of intensity, greater in foreign language teaching. Emphasis on mutuality of language as tool for effective communication has shown that sustainable interactions goes even deeper. The surge for a “smaller world” has necessitated need for fostered interactions where inclusivity and representation is crucial for productive sustainable interactions. The realization that greater interactions can be attained through bilateral communication has led to increased interest in other languages beside “official” languages which were assumed the most effective. It has also given rise to teaching and learning of foreign languages across the globe. Exciting as this is, it also raises questions in parts of Africa where English is the official language used in preparing children for the society. The element of interest or option of choice is completely replaced with necessity and compulsion. Are these components or any other once present in teaching African languages in America? Are the dynamics the same? It is against this background that we intend to comparatively discuss the experiences of teaching English as a foreign language in Africa versus the teaching of African languages in America.

Discussants:

  1. Charity Fawe (Hausa FLTA, African Studies Institute, UGA)
  2. Aishat Aina (Yoruba FLTA, African Studies Institute, UGA)
  3. Nichesius Godini (Swahili FLTA, African Studies Institute, UGA)
  4. Lindokuhle Sikhonde (Zulu FLTA, African Studies Institute, UGA)
  5. Blessing Adedokun-Awojodu (Yoruba FLTA, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)