African Literature Did Help Change the Reality of Africans Lives Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1263 Words
Date:  2022-12-20

The existing research has commonly tied the definition of African literature to the capacity of literary texts circulating beyond the African culture of origin. This applies both in the physical lifestyle transformation and also in the original language. The African circulation of literary texts entailing both cultural translations as well as linguistics sets off a process of transformation of people's lives and refraction which has imbued the travelling text with the option of locally grounded meaning. Looking at the formative force of place, the question of where is the influence of African literature, therefore, gains particular analytical and methodological urgency.

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African literature has indeed resulted in the change in the reality of Africans lives in various aspects. This can be well evidenced through the novels Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi and Disgrace, Penguin by J.M. Coetzee. This two novels clearly reveals the possible ways in which the literature from them have helped change the African lives reality. The authors of the novels portray some of the critical themes in context which in essence are the potential source of African change in their usual way of doing things.

From the novel, Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi the African way of thinking and evaluating issues has been changed. This is illustrated from the novel through the actions of Folasade Savage who lived in Lagos. She makes a decision of giving up her dream of going to law school to raise her four children. With this, it can be said that Fola was directly swayed by the riches possessed by her husband, Kweku who was a brilliant surgeon. Her thinking of opting to give up and take care of the kids comes into a mess one day when her husband loses his job. Kweku decides to live them and go to Ghana where he dies after a while. This affected Folas life with her children (Selasi, 2013). Through this illustration, therefore, it can be seen that African through the literature, their reality of lives has been critically changed.

The African literature in some way has also helped Africans in the establishment of their various talents. This is contrary to the time when there was no literature as people could not easily realize their talents. This can be depicted in the novel Ghana Must Go through the African family that had to succeed in the conventional sense. Every member of the family has been proofed to have identified her talent, e.g. Olu the eldest boy becomes an accomplished surgeon just like his father., Kehinde is also an art star with international fame whose paintings sells at auction for staggering sums. Besides, Kehinde's beautiful twin Taiwo is always at the top of her class and also prodigiously gifted in playing the piano. Also, the talent is exposed in Saidie, the family's baby who proves her talent of being a natural dancer with an added photographic memory. The author reveals her relieve when she learns of her bulimic nature in dance. Therefore this talent information from the characters in the novel has critically helped Africans identification of their special talents.

African literature has resulted in youth naivety. The youths have begun making decisions for themselves without the respect of their parents. Also, through African literature, youth have been exposed to a western culture which was not in existence in the pre-colonial period. Taiye Selasi reveals this in his novel through Sadie, the daughter of Fola. Sadie loses respect to her mother's guidance by wanting to decide for herself to make her own decisions. Sadie revokes her mother that she just have to live alone, thus resulting in the breaks with the only remaining bond between the members of the scattered family. Fola stares out the window, "the light in the leaves at that hour like oil, like the light on that evening in the autumn", the evening they were left by her husband (Selasi, 2013). From this instance, it is worth saying that literature has changed the youth character in some way and in some instances they have tend to assume the western life culture.

Also, African literature has promoted immoral behaviour especially in universities among the students and the lecturers. This can be illustrated from the novel Disgrace, Penguin by J.M. Coetzee, by the character David Lurie who is a South African professor of English. He was a lecturer for romantic literature in a technical university in Cape Town. The professor out of his weird behaviour loses everything including his job, his peace of mind his dreams of artistic success, his reputation and even his ability to care for his own daughter. Lurie's sexual behaviour in the university becomes inherently risky in that before the sexual behaviour which ruined him, he attaches himself to a prostitute and attempts to have a romantic relationship with her, despite the fact that he already has a family. The professor also goes to another extent of seducing her secretary at the university and only to ignore her completely afterwards. The professor despite his wife being twice divorced appears to be dissatisfied with his work as a lecturer in communications. Lurie, the professor comes into disgrace upon seducing one of his vulnerable students. This hypothetically reveals how the introduction of literature has helped changed the Africans lives more negatively.

The African literature has been a source of salvation from the apartheid which was there in South Africa. Coetzee in his novel of disgrace reveals this fact, the fascination of disgrace is the way in which it both contests and encourages such reading in holding the extremes options in tension, ruin and salvation. The violence in South Africa is unleashed in new ways, and the professor Lurie together with his daughter are the main victims while on the other hand, the main character is no hero, ironically he commits violence in his own way too. The characterization of the violence from both the blacks and whites men parallels the feelings of the South African post-apartheid where evil does not belong to the 'other' alone.

Finally, African literature has helped Africans discover their societal positions both in terms of character and education. The novel of Disgrace illustrates this through the life of professor Lurie which change to the better towards the end of the novel. The author depicts David Lurie to mature beyond his exploitative view of women. Upon his recognition of Lucy's right to choose her course in life, he eventually puts their strained relationship in an equal footing, i.e. the first time in women relationship with him. The professor's pursuit of his relationship with Shaw is a great mark of his pathway towards personal salvation. Therefore, through the author's message in the entire novel, it is true in the African life that a man has to go through some sorts of humiliation before finding some tiny measure of salvation in his forced acceptance of the life's reality and death (Stratton, 1999).


In conclusion, from the two novels, Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi and Disgrace, Penguin by J.M. Coetzee, basing on the illustrations above among others, it is true that the African literature to a higher extend has helped changed the reality of African lives. This is depicted through human behaviour, experience in education and also influence the African way of lives among the youth. Therefore the African literature can be seen as a source of change of the reality of African lives in both negative and also positive sense.


Selasi, T. (2013). Ghana must go. Penguin UK.

Stratton, F. (1999). Imperial Fictions: JM Coetzee's Disgrace. Ariel, 33(3-4), 83-105.

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