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Full-Text Articles in African Languages and Societies

'Listen To What You Say': Rwanda’S Postgenocide Language Policies, Lynne Tirrell Jun 2015

'Listen To What You Say': Rwanda’S Postgenocide Language Policies, Lynne Tirrell

New England Journal of Public Policy

Freedom of expression is considered a basic human right, and yet most countries have restrictions on speech they deem harmful. Following the genocide of the Tutsi, Rwanda passed a constitution (2003) and laws against hate speech and other forms of divisionist language (2008, 2013). Understanding how language shaped “recognition harms” that both constitute and fuel genocide also helps account for political decisions to limit “divisionist” discourse. When we speak, we make expressive commitments, which are commitments to the viability and value of ways of speaking. This article explores reasons a society would decide to say, “We don’t talk that ...


"This Was A Man!": A Memorial Tribute To Felix Emeka Okeke-Ezigbo (October 14, 1944-June 25, 2012), Chukwuma Azuonye Jun 2012

"This Was A Man!": A Memorial Tribute To Felix Emeka Okeke-Ezigbo (October 14, 1944-June 25, 2012), Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

A memorial tribute to one of the leading members of the the Biafran war generation of Nsukka poets. Dr. Felix Emeka Okeke-Ezigbo, October 14, 1944 to June 25, 2012.


The Muse Of Nigerian Poetry And The Coming Of Age Of Nigerian Literature, Chukwuma Azuonye May 2011

The Muse Of Nigerian Poetry And The Coming Of Age Of Nigerian Literature, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

No abstract provided.


‘Up These Hills To The Mountain Top’: Memories Of 'The Golden Sun' In Michael Echeruo's War Poems (Distanced), Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2011

‘Up These Hills To The Mountain Top’: Memories Of 'The Golden Sun' In Michael Echeruo's War Poems (Distanced), Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

One of the leading voices among the first generation of post-independence African modernist poets of the twentieth-century, Michael J. C. Echeruo's second collection of poetry, Distanced (1975), is, unlike his better-known first collection, Mortality (1968), characterized by direct phrasing and open accessibility—in terms of imagery and other signifiers—to the general reader. Composed within the first four years (1970-74) after the end of the Biafran war of independence of 1967-1970, the nineteen lyrics that make up this collection look back with extraordinary candor and passion into the future of the Biafran experience, especially with regard to the problems ...


'Clearing The Forest': Critical Commentary On Gabriel Okara’S Postwar Ode, ‘The Dreamer’, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2011

'Clearing The Forest': Critical Commentary On Gabriel Okara’S Postwar Ode, ‘The Dreamer’, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

The present essay is essentially a preliminary exploration of a previously unexplored territory of postcolonial, modernist African poetics—Gabriel Okara’s venture into the appropriation of the signs of the classical and latter-day European ode as a vehicle for both a satirical interrogation of the performance of the postcolonial civilian and military elite the dysfunctional Nigerian federation after its war against Biafra and for an understanding of the possibility of heroic regeneration in the face of the depth of , bordering on existentialist , into which the nation has been reduced by the post-civil war triumph of disorder in the hands of ...


Christopher Okigbo’S Intentions: A Critical Edition Of A Previously Unpublished Interview By Ivan Van Sertima, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2011

Christopher Okigbo’S Intentions: A Critical Edition Of A Previously Unpublished Interview By Ivan Van Sertima, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

This is a critical edition with emendations of lacunae from indelible inkblots and termite activity of an interview with Christopher Okigbo conducted in the mid-1960s by Ivan van Sertima, the distinguished Caribbean-American anthropologist, linguist, literary critic, Afrocentric historiographer, and founding-editor of The Journal of African Civilizations (New Brunswick, NJ), who passed away on May 29, 2009, at the age of 74. It was discovered in January 2006 among Okigbo’s unpublished papers, which I catalogued at the invitation of the Christopher Okigbo Foundation, in Brussels, Belgium, now part of the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.


‘The Monstrous Anger Of The Guns’: Critical Commentary On The War Poems Of Gabriel Okara, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2011

‘The Monstrous Anger Of The Guns’: Critical Commentary On The War Poems Of Gabriel Okara, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

Throughout the Biafran War of Independence from Nigeria (1967-1970), Gabriel Okara remained a committed Biafran. But he was neither an iconoclastic secessionist (determined to wantonly wreck any well-founded order, including the subaltern state of Nigeria) nor a romantic revolutionary (dreaming of a postcolonial African utopia rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the failed postcolonial state of Nigeria), he was a Biafran at a higher level of philosophical and humanist reasoning as eloquently argued throughout his war lyrics discussed in the present paper, whose themes include: commitment, nationalism and pacifism as they pertain to his Biafran experience; modern warfare ...


'The White Man Laughs': Commentary On The Satiric Dramatic Monologues Of Gabriel Okara, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2011

'The White Man Laughs': Commentary On The Satiric Dramatic Monologues Of Gabriel Okara, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

Examined in the present article are two early satiric lyrics of Gabriel Okara—“Once Upon a Time” and “He Laughed and Laughed and Laughed”—which are the products of the postcolonial cultural war environment in which the issues of modernity, alterity (otherness or difference) and afro-authenticity implicated in Achebe’s ripostes on the bigotry of the colonialist critic were central. The tone of this discourse amongst leading African intelligentsia was set in the 1930’s and 1940’s by four fellow south-eastern Nigerian writers in their semi-autobiographical blueprints for African cultural emancipation—Renascent Africa ((1937)) by Nnamdi Azikiwe (1904–1996 ...


‘The Mystic Drum’: Critical Commentary On Gabriel Okara’S Love Lyrics, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2011

‘The Mystic Drum’: Critical Commentary On Gabriel Okara’S Love Lyrics, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

Structurally, Okara’s love lyric, “The Mystic Drum,” evinces a tripartite ritual pattern of initiation from innocence through intimacy to experience. By comparison to the way of Zen as manifested in the experience of Zen Master, Ch’ing Yuän Wei-hsin, this pattern resolves itself into an emotional and epistemological journey from conventional knowledge (born of innocence) through more intimate knowledge (born of closer apperception of reality) to substantial knowledge (born of experience). The substantial knowledge born of experience empowers the lover to understand that beneath the surface attractiveness of what we know very well (such as the women we love ...


Ogbuu-Kay! The "After Laugh" Lingers On, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2010

Ogbuu-Kay! The "After Laugh" Lingers On, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

Memorial Tribute to Ogbu Uke Kalu, 1942-2009.


The African Roots Of Michael Echeruo’S Poetry: A Close-Reading Of ‘Sophia’, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2010

The African Roots Of Michael Echeruo’S Poetry: A Close-Reading Of ‘Sophia’, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

This paper argues that, contrary to widespread opinion, the poetry of first generation, postcolonial, modernist Nigerian poet, Michael J. C. Echeruo, draws some of its core and defining tropes from indigenous African system of thought and symbolism. The much maligned early poem "Sophia" is subjected to line-by-line close-reading to illustrate this argument. The analysis suggests that, as a matter of fact, "Sophia" can be read as a portal to Echeruo's poetic corpus as a whole.


Achebe's Igbo Poems: Oral Traditional Resources And The Process Of ‘Deschooling’ In Modern African Poetics, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2010

Achebe's Igbo Poems: Oral Traditional Resources And The Process Of ‘Deschooling’ In Modern African Poetics, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

The present paper examines the diction, imagery and other features of language and style in Chinua Achebe's two Igbo poems ("Uno Onwu Okigbo" and "Akuko Kpulu Uwa Iru"). Disposing of charges of plagiarism levied on Achebe on account of his modeling of the poems on well-known Igbo folk songs, the paper argues that what is rather involved in the compositional process is a process of "deschooling" from the strictures of European or Eurocentric conventions of versification. It concludes that a process of "deschooling" of this kind is one way in which African writers can begin their journey back with ...


Remembering Adiele Afigbo (Memorial Tribute To Professor Adiele Ebereegbulam Afigbo), 1938-2009, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2009

Remembering Adiele Afigbo (Memorial Tribute To Professor Adiele Ebereegbulam Afigbo), 1938-2009, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

Memorial tribute to Professor Adiele Eberegbulem Afigbo (born 22 November 1937; died 9 March 2009) focussing on his achievement as a postcolonial historian and historiographer, tutored by the legendary pioneer in the field, Professor Kenneth Dike, whose applications of the tools of oral historiography opened new vistas in the study of the history of the Igbo and their neighbors.


Christopher Okigbo At Work: Towards A Pilot Study And Critical Edition Of His Previously Unpublished Poems, 1957-1967, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2007

Christopher Okigbo At Work: Towards A Pilot Study And Critical Edition Of His Previously Unpublished Poems, 1957-1967, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

The objectives of the present paper are two-fold. The first is to produce a critical edition of the complete corpus of the previously unpublished papers of Christopher Okigbo (1930-1967), who is today widely acknowledged as by far the most outstanding postcolonial, Anglophone, African, modernist poet of the 20th century. The second is to offer a pilot critical interpretation of the previously unknown poems in the corpus and to ascertain their place in the Okigbo canon. In 2007 these papers became the first corpus of unpublished works to be nominated and accepted into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. The ...


Gabriel Okara In Conversation With Professor Azuonye, Chukwuma Azuonye, Gabriel Okara Oct 2006

Gabriel Okara In Conversation With Professor Azuonye, Chukwuma Azuonye, Gabriel Okara

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

Gabriel Imomotimi Gbaingrain Okara, was born on April 21, 1921, in Bomandi in present day Bayelsa State. After his primary education in both his home state and in the Army School, Creek Road, Port Harcourt, he was admitted to the elite Government College, Umuahia, from where he went to the Yaba College, Lagos. Thereafter, he trained as a book binder at the Federal Government Printer, after what he calls “an adventure” in pig-trading. Armed with an exposure to art, at Umuahia, where he was a student of Ben Enwonwu, he set out for an career in fine art, in 1946 ...


Joshua, This Is Your Story: Tribute To Joshua Uzoigwe, 1946-2005 (With Three Poems By The Deceased From Nsukka Harvest, 1972), Chukwuma Azuonye Jul 2005

Joshua, This Is Your Story: Tribute To Joshua Uzoigwe, 1946-2005 (With Three Poems By The Deceased From Nsukka Harvest, 1972), Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

Renowned Musicologist and poet, Professor Joshua Uzoigwe, former head of the Music Department at the University of Uyo, joined the ancestors last month. Described as "a music educator, composer, performer and musicologist [and as someone who] directed several musical concerts in which he featured his own works and works by other modern Nigerian composers." It was also said that "his intention was to create an awareness of this music in an intellectual environment such as Obafemi Awolowo University and in Nigeria at large."

Reprinted below are a tribute to Professor Uzoigwe by our ALA colleague and friend, Professor Chukwuma Azuonye ...


Igbo Folk Idioms In Caribbean Phrase, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2003

Igbo Folk Idioms In Caribbean Phrase, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

This paper analyses a corpus of phrases from Jamaican and other Caribbean folk speech with a view to ascertaing their possible Igbo provenance. There seems to be an overwhelming match in terms of morphology and meaning between these Jamaican phrases and some common Igbo idioms. It is however worthy of note that the matching of Igbo and Caribbean or Black American idioms, no matter how persuasive the results may be, cannot produce conclusive evidence of Igbo presence in any particular area or among any particular population sample. Studies of mother-tongue interference in various African Englishes and comparative studies of the ...


Ijelè: Welcoming The King Of Modern African Letters To Massachusetts, Chukwuma Azuonye Dec 2002

Ijelè: Welcoming The King Of Modern African Letters To Massachusetts, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

A welcome address presented to Professor Chinua Achebe, novelist, poet, essayist, cultural philosopher, social activist, and Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in the Science Auditorium, University of Massachusetts at Boston, at a University Forum marking the Inauguration of JoAnn Gora as the 6th Chancellor, on September 26, 2002.


Igbo As An Endangered Language, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 2002

Igbo As An Endangered Language, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

At first sight, the question "Is Igbo an endangered language," would appear to be grossly misplaced, since the survival of the language seems to be well guaranteed by its status both as one of the three main languages of Nigeria and one of the major languages of literature, education, and commerce in Africa. Furthermore, with its well over 25 million native speakers who live in one of the most densely populated areas of the world with an exceptionally high fertility rate and a traditional world view and culture that promote the raising of large families, it would appear that there ...


Review Of Ruth Finnegan's Oral Traditions And The Verbal Arts: A Guide To Research Practices, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 1998

Review Of Ruth Finnegan's Oral Traditions And The Verbal Arts: A Guide To Research Practices, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

Review of Ruth Finnegan's Oral Traditions and the Verbal Arts: A Guide to Research Practices. (ASA Research Methods in Social Anthropology Series, no. 4.) xviii, 284pp. London and New York: Routledge, 1992.


'The Big Canvass": An Interview With Mazisi Kunene, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 1996

'The Big Canvass": An Interview With Mazisi Kunene, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

In the present interview, recorded in his office, in July,1996, during an NEH Summer-long Seminar on the Literature and Culture of the New South Africa in which I participated, Kunene reflects on the challenges of the New South Africa and offers some illuminating insights into the impetus behind his choice of the epic as a mode of communication, his interest in the African world view and cosmology, the variety of his writing and interests beyond the epics for which he was best known, and his vision of the commonalty of all African cultures. In this, as in his creative ...


Tapping The Wisdom Of The Ancestors: An Attempt To Recast Vodou And Morality Through The Voice Of Mama Lola And Karen Mccarthy Brown, Claudine Michel Jan 1996

Tapping The Wisdom Of The Ancestors: An Attempt To Recast Vodou And Morality Through The Voice Of Mama Lola And Karen Mccarthy Brown, Claudine Michel

William Monroe Trotter Institute Publications

The focus of this Research Report is on morality as a culture-specific and contextual phenomenon. It argues that Vodou, as a religion, has largely been misrepresented in the West and has been portrayed as having no legitimate basis for morality mainly because of its African origins. This paper attempts to interpret morality in Vodou by presenting a model of ethics construction grounded in the history of the people and based on the true meaning of the religion. It argues that Haitians have turned to their ancestral religion and to their African past to survive isolation and ostracism from the West ...


Oral Literary Criticism And The Performance Of The Igbo Epic, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 1994

Oral Literary Criticism And The Performance Of The Igbo Epic, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

This paper is a continuation of a series of studies in which I have been looking at various aspects of the possible relationships between the poetics of oral epic performance among the Ohafia Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria and traditional aesthetic principles as voiced by local connoisseurs, ordinary listeners, and the bards themselves, either in the course of performances or in interviews recorded outside the various performance contexts. As I have pointed out in the earlier studies (Azuonye 1983, 1990a-d, and 1992), oral literary criticism is by no means peripheral to the Ohafia Igbo oral epic tradition. My field investigations ...


Review Of Isidore Okpewho's Epic In Africa (New Edition)., Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 1993

Review Of Isidore Okpewho's Epic In Africa (New Edition)., Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

Review of Isidore Okpewho's The Epic in Africa: Towards a Poetics of the Oral Performance. [Revised paperback edition.] xvii, 288 pp. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.


The Nwagu Aneke Igbo Script: Its Origins, Features And Potentials As A Medium Of Alternative Literacy In African Languages, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 1992

The Nwagu Aneke Igbo Script: Its Origins, Features And Potentials As A Medium Of Alternative Literacy In African Languages, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

The present paper is a study of the origins, features and significance of the Nwagu Aneke Igbo Syllabary (otherwise known as the Umuleri Igbo Script), one of the thirty or so indigenous systems of writing which (re-)emerged in West Africa during the colonial period as a medium for challenging alien cultural values and for the re-assertion of the superiority of African spiritual and moral traditions and of the thought-patterns which lie behind them. Beyond the claims of a one-time prosperous land-owner and diviner, the late Ogbuevi Nwagu Aneke of the village of Umuleri in the Anambra Local Government Area ...


Igbo Names In The Nominal Roll Of Amelié, An Early 19th Century Slave Ship From Martinique: Reconstructions, Interpretations And Inferences, Chukwuma Azuonye Jan 1990

Igbo Names In The Nominal Roll Of Amelié, An Early 19th Century Slave Ship From Martinique: Reconstructions, Interpretations And Inferences, Chukwuma Azuonye

Africana Studies Faculty Publication Series

The names discussed in the present paper come from the nominal roll of “212 Africans, all Ibos, who constituted the clandestine freight of Amelié, a slave-ship commissioned at Saint-Pierre, Martinique, and captured by the royal corvettee, Sapho, on February 8, 1822, in the Caribbean Sea.” The list was forwarded to me as far back as 1985 through Abiola Irele (then of the University of Ibadan), at the instance of the great Martinique cultural nationalist poet, Aimé Cesaire (1913–2008), by Mme Thesée, a French scholar who was then completing a study of the secret passage of this particular group of ...