Best African Literature in 2022

Types of African Literature

What is African Literature? African literature refers to literature from Africa, both oral and written. The literature can be in any form, including African and Afro-Asian languages. This article explores some of the main types of African literature, and the reasons they are so important. We'll also touch on the many differences between African and Afro-Asian literature. You may be surprised at how many similarities there are between African and Afro-Asian literature.


Unlike western works, African literature features its own unique characterization. Characters in this tradition were traditionally human, but with the growth of technology, animal or thing forms have also become commonplace. Most of the African characters are given the same potentials as mythological ones and are either raised to godlike status or fall into mortal danger as the result of their own desire. The African literary tradition makes use of the totem as a symbolic representation of human nature, as each person is said to have an animal form.

The setting of African literature varies greatly. Although most works are set in rural settings, there are stories that take place in urban environments. For instance, The White Man of God takes place in a rural setting, while The African Child, The Swamp Dwellers, and The Old Man and the Medal are set in the city. The city has always been considered a place of corruption, which is an important element in African literature. The Devil on the Cross by Ngugi Wa Thiongo affirms this view.

Many women have been left out of the story of the African civil war. Effia and Esi, both female protagonists in Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, were sidelined by the conflict. Flora Nwapa, one of Africa's first female authors, is widely considered the mother of modern African literature. Other notable female authors of this era are Buchi Emecheta, Ama Ata Aidoo, and Ifeoma Okoye. Other prominent African female authors include Ayinata Sow Fall and Zaynab Alkali.

Art form

A diverse collection of genres and techniques have molded the style of African Literature, including poetry, short stories, drama, and novels. The form of poetry relies heavily on rhythm, and some poems have even been danced. Music and poetry are inseparable; musical structure enriches the literature and informs its performance. But how does African Literature differ from Western literature? Below, we explore the different aspects of African Literature.

First of all, it must have purpose. African Literature does not aim to be abstract, but must speak to the lives of African people. Themes discussed in African Literature are the realities of colonialism, poverty, and suffering. For this reason, African literature is an art form that addresses the issues of those issues, rather than simply addressing the issues of colonialism. African writers are expected to address big sociopolitical issues, and they do.

Another aspect of African literature is how it depicts the community, family, and worship of its people. African cultures were highly organized and incredibly diverse before the arrival of foreign settlers. These cultural practices are evident even today. African Literature is the product of an aesthetic culture that is unique and peculiar. It serves as a representation of African values, from the orderly arrangement of music to oral poetry. The aesthetic qualities of African culture are expressed in the artistic forms and symbolic systems.


Conflict is a major theme of African Literature. Its authors often confront the realities of class conflict in the African continent. For example, in the early part of the 20th century, Nigerian writers wrote about the conflict between the indigenous population and the ruling class. This conflict often results in radical solutions such as dictatorship of the proletariat. In this book, I discuss some of the conflict in African literature and how it has affected the writing of writers.

African perspectives on war and peace have evolved through the centuries under the influences of nonliteracy, tribalism, and undifferentiated time. These factors, combined with resurgent indigenous cultural traditions, make it unlikely that African political values will ever converge with those of the West. Indeed, Africans are more accustomed to war and conflict than Westerners. They do not see war and peace as mutually exclusive concepts, but rather as distinct perspectives on conflict and peace. Contemporary Western concepts of conflict do not account for these realities.

This study explores selected issues in contemporary African literature. It explores Igbo Folklore and gender conflicts in Chinua Acbebe's Things Fall Apart. It also examines the hybridity of contemporary African drama in Sam Ukala's Iredi War and Wole Soyinka's Death and the King's Horseman. It also highlights conflict within the contemporary African literary scene. In a wide-ranging study of the genre, conflicts in African Literature are discussed from a global perspective.

Slave narratives

Slave narratives provide a powerful perspective into the history of slavery. They provide a space for people who have been deprived of voice and dignity in the American South to express themselves, and they counter prevailing stereotypes about blacks in this country. In particular, they give voice to the lives of people who were forced into slavery. The stories of people who survived their conditions are often graphic and challenging to read. But the underlying themes are hopeful and inspiring.

Typically, slave narratives begin with "I was born," underscoring the lack of knowledge of their parents and birth. Often, the narratives describe the brutality of life as a slave and the separation from their family. A critical turning point describes the slave's awakening to the reality of slavery, and his desperate attempt to escape. The final chapter narrates his or her escape. But, what happened after this critical moment?

Slave narratives also challenge the myth that slavery was unjust. By identifying slave narrators as literate, they helped combat the belief that slavery made people unselfconscious. In mid-nineteenth-century America, many whites had little education, and literacy was a mark of social prestige and economic power. By identifying a slave narrator as literate, white readers were less likely to dismiss the slave narrative as a work of fiction.

Patterned imagery

For the purposes of this article, we will use two poetry collections by Nigerian poets: Chants of Despair by Ngozi Chuma-Udeh and Omeile Vol. 1 by Asika Ikechukwu. Though the scope of the study is limited to works of African poets, we will see that both authors utilize patterning to make their points. Their works are representative of different social and political conditions, and the poets' language enables him or her to make the reader feel closer to the images that are created.

"Heritage" by Countee Cullen uses a similar pattern of binaries to discuss African life. This poem evokes the continent and the African people by foregrounding imagery and describing African women. It is similar to Hughes's encounter with Africa, and it highlights how black women can reclaim their "queenliness."

'Africa' by Maya Angelou is an example of a literary text that uses extended metaphor to describe the continent. In the story, Jama wanders from village to village, seeking her father. As she journeys, she encounters many obstacles. The concept of borders and papers becomes a tangible obstacle for Jama. The trope of movement and migration is a common theme throughout the story, and the poet is able to bridge these themes with the history of colonialism.

Literary genres

A variety of literary genres are present in African literature, from poetry to novels. In addition to poetry, African writers have also produced drama and other forms of art. Despite their diversity, some African authors share common themes. For example, the first English-language African play was published in 1935 by South African writer Herbert Isaac Ernest Dhlomo. More recently, the first East African drama appeared in 1962 by writer Ngugi wa Thiong'o.

Short narrative tales often use mythic material to explain the origins of a people, the founding of a dynasty, or the nature of divine beings. They may also elaborate on geographical details and animal behavior. Although these genres are derivative of chanted epics, they are often realistic in nature. In addition to historical and cultural contexts, short narrative tales often feature a trickster-hero, similar to the Nigerian god Eshu-Elegba. This trickster-hero may be human or animal.

Achebe's novels evoke the same themes as the French West African novels. Achebe's protagonist, a young boy called Sundiata, is deceived and tortured by a priest and becomes an emperor. His father sacrifices himself to save his son, who then returns home to establish the empire of Mali. His success, however, does not leave much doubt about the outcome of the initiatory journey.

Adeline THOMAS

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