Lewis Nkosi (1936 to 2010): The Postcolonial Imagination and the Poetics of Newness


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




Although his reputation as one of the most percipient voices in African literature is yet to be properly acknowledged, Lewis Nkosi stands out as a scholar whose immense contributions to the growth and development of African literature can only be underrated at the peril of Africa’s humanistic studies. At a time when mimesis was given primacy as a basic paradigm in literary scholarship, Nkosi opted for some form of newness by making very provocative proclamations that made many of his contemporaries very uncomfortable. It is interesting that at that time when the traditional tropes of criticism were built on the two troublesome paradigms of ‘content and form,’ Nkosi would point to what is today being valorised in some circles as postmodernism or experimental writing. Significantly, there have been miss-readings of Nkosi’s statement to imply that Black writing in apartheid South Africa is too easily predictable. This project engages the theoretical and creative writings of Lewis Nkosi as a postcolonial exploration of the ethics and aesthetics of newness.