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Politics and Cultural Memory in Wole Soyinkas The Burden of Memory, The Muse of Forgiveness

Sanya Osha

Abstract


After having distinguished himself as a formidable literary artist, Wole Soyinka, over a considerable period has applied himself--although not exclusively--to political commentary. Consequently, he has become one of Africas most visible public intellectuals. Commitment a la Jean-Paul Sartre is often deemed a necessity within the African continent because of the continuing entrenchment of underdevelopment (the development of underdevelopment), the crises of various modes of politics and the structural disequilibria in the economic field which she suffers. As Nadine Gordimer avers, the artist in Africa must not only but must make an art and if possible a science of commitment. Soyinka personal and intellectual trajectory is finely attuned to this postulate. Critics of Soyinka such as Chinweizu et al in Towards the Decolonisation of African Literature give an extremely parochial reading of Soyinkas political value and relevance. Their charge that Soyinka practices art for arts sake in retrospect and in the final analysis turns out to be an exercise in conceptual banalization and ill- intentioned journalism.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, Tejumola Olaniyan and Olufemi Taiwo; Book Editor: .

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