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Of Africaby Wole Soyinka
Synopses & Reviews
A member of the unique generation of African writers and intellectuals who came of age in the last days of colonialism, Wole Soyinka has witnessed the promise of independence and lived through postcolonial failure. He deeply comprehends the pressing problems of Africa, and, an irrepressible essayist and a staunch critic of the oppressive boot, he unhesitatingly speaks out.
In this magnificent new work, Soyinka offers a wide-ranging inquiry into Africa's culture, religion, history, imagination, and identity. He seeks to understand how the continent's history is entwined with the histories of others, while exploring Africa's truest assets: "its humanity, the quality and valuation of its own existence, and modes of managing its environment—both physical and intangible (which includes the spiritual)."
Fully grasping the extent of Africa's most challenging issues, Soyinka nevertheless refuses defeatism. With eloquence he analyzes problems ranging from the meaning of the past to the threat of theocracy. He asks hard questions about racial attitudes, inter-ethnic and religious violence, the viability of nations whose boundaries were laid out by outsiders, African identity on the continent and among displaced Africans, and more. Soyinka's exploration of Africa relocates the continent in the reader's imagination and maps a course toward an African future of peace and affirmation.
"The Nobel Prize — winning Nigerian writer and activist offers a fascinating, urgent appraisal of Africa's relationship to the world, with Africa functioning as a conceptual construct as much as specific geopolitical, economic, or cultural realities. At a time of global crisis, Soyinka (AkÃ©: The Years of Childhood) sees unique potential for Africa to act as a conduit for peace. Soyinka uses the 2001 Millennium Commission report on Africa spearheaded by former U.N. secretary-general Kofi Annan as a springboard to both assess critical problems and challenges — high-level corruption, interethnic fighting, famine, disease, religious and racial violence, and postcolonial economic dependency — and muse on a broader imperial discourse ('the past Ã¢Â€Â˜fictioning' of Africa') that brings both Africa and, in particular, the West into a mutual, tenuous definition. If Africa's contributions to history have been diminished in the cultural and intellectual valuations of outsiders, it remains an untapped resource of human material, intellectual, and spiritual energies capable of contributing to a world beset by violent binaries. Pitched to a general reader but with implications for specialists as well, this is necessarily big thinking laced with the subtle insights and analogies of a gifted writer, and a stirring defense of the 'spiritual aspirations' of human beings for freedom and peace. Agent: Melanie Jackson Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A Nobel laureate offers a keen, thought-provoking analysis of Africa's current crises and points the way to cultural and political renewal
About the Author
Wole Soyinka, the first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, is a Nigerian writer, poet, and playwright. For his implacable resistance to political tyranny he has been imprisoned, threatened with assassination, and at times forced to live in exile.
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History and Social Science » Africa » General