Politics and the Urban Experience in Postcolonial West African Literature


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




Imaginative literature in West Africa, like other parts of Africa, is a by-product of urbanisation. Many writers have depicted various dimensions of city life in their countries, through the genres of the novel, drama, poetry, and short story. They have grappled with the socio-political and economic conditions that exist in the cities, sometimes pitching the subalterns who live on the fringes of urban existence against the people of power. This is evident in the works of writers like Armah, Awoonor, Sutherland, Ekwensi, Achebe, Soyinka, Osofisan, Ousmane, Sowfall, and Sarif among others. This research focuses on the urban experience as captured in the postcolonial literature of West Africa. While considering the nature of politics that shape this experience, it contends that to understand the extent of postcolonial predicament, it is necessary to conceptually interrogate the cities. This is the crux of in-depth analyses of relevant primary texts in the research.