African Literature Essay

768 words - 3 pages

If a nation is impoverished and many of its people corrupt is there an underlying cause? If a society breeds murderers and thieves motivated by their will to survive, are they to blame? These themes were portrayed throughout several of the novels studied in class. Many problems aroused soon after the colonization of Africa resulting in the need for colonizers to take some accountability for the state of Africa. The impoverished and corrupt African society described throughout the novels is portrayed through the African cultural connection to land, post-colonization, and overriding desire for money.The novel Cry, the Beloved Country, displays the connection between land and people by portraying the colonizer's dominance of land, which results in desolate, less productive land; this same deterioration is mirrored within the African society. Stephen Kumalo describes Ndotsheni as "valleys of old men and old women, of mothers and children. The men are away, the young men and girls are away. The soil cannot keep them any more" (Paton 34). The unappealing land results in people moving to Johannesburg, a city of violence and corruption, where most people live in poverty and lose their sense of self and morality. The line, "Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply ... nor give too much of his hear to a mountain or a valley" forecasts the fate of South Africa using a child as a symbol of its future (Paton 111). The land is corrupt and so are the people. Just as the land will not become fertile and productive overnight, the problem of African poverty and corruption cannot be solved overnight either.The deterioration of land and increase of corruption is a result of foreign intervention within the society, colonizing the land, and in essence, taking over their land. When discussing the result of English intervention, an African "thief" accuses white men of "seiz[ing] our national wealth and carry[ing] it back to their own countries, leaving us only a few crumbs, the price of the heritage they have taken from us" (Ngugi 166). What the English do not understand, or rather choose to ignore, is by taking African land...

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