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Jessica Falconi

Angolan essayist, poet, and militant anticolonialist, was born in Golungo Alto, Kwanza-Norte province, Angola. The son of José Cristino Pinto de Andrade, one of the founders of the African National League (Liga Nacional Africana), and Ana Rodrigues Coelho, he came to be known as a “Citizen of Africa.” At two years of age, he moved with his family to Luanda, where he completed his primary and secondary school studies. The proto-nationalist ideas of his father, the growing urbanization of Luanda, and the heterogeneous racial and social atmosphere of the Luanda Catholic seminary constituted the primary elements that marked the formation of his personality.

In 1948 he traveled to Lisbon, where he began a course in classics in the Department of Letters and frequented the Casa dos Estudantes do Império (House of Students of the Empire), an institution created in 1944 to support students from the colonies which quickly was ...

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Hédi Abdel-Jaouad

Tunisian poet, critic, and essayist, was born in Majel Bel Abbès, near Kassérine, Tunisia, where his father was employed with the railway system. His family originates from Gabes, in southeast Tunisia. Bekri’s mother died when he was ten years old, which affected both his personal and literary journeys. He attended the Lycée of Sfax, where he was active in various literary and artistic circles. At the age of eighteen he published his first poems, in the school’s literary journal. He then attended the University of Tunis, where he majored in French literature. During the turbulent years following May 1967, the university was a hotbed of political activism. Bekri was arrested for his political opinions in 1972 and was sentenced and jailed in 1975. Upon his release in 1976 he left for France and has since resided in Paris where he was granted political asylum Bekri completed a ...

Article

Born Alexandre Biyidi-Awala in Mbalmayo, a town near Yaoundé, he adopted the pen name Eza Bota with his first work and thereafter used the pseudonym Mongo Beti. Educated in Catholic mission schools and then at a French lycée in Yaoundé, Cameroon, Beti went to France in 1951 to study literature at the University of Aix-en-Provence. He published his first novel, Ville cruelle, in 1954. This work introduces the major themes of his early writing: the social disorientation caused by colonialism, and the African’s revolt against traditional village life, especially its patriarchy.

With his second novel, Le pauvre Christ de Bomba (1956; The Poor Christ of Bomba, 1971 Beti established himself as an important Francophone French language writer The novel was banned in Cameroon however because it presumes a complicity between missionaries and the government in maintaining colonialism Written in the form of ...

Article

Craig MacKenzie

journalist, novelist, short story writer, and essayist, is one of South Africa’s most enduringly popular writers. He is chiefly remembered for his storyteller figure Oom Schalk Lourens, a backwoods sage who, pipe in hand and a trick or two up his sleeve, beguilingly narrates some of the funniest and yet most moving stories in the entire canon of South African literature.

Born in Kuils River near Cape Town, Bosman spent most of his life in the Transvaal. He was educated at Jeppe High School for Boys, the University of the Witwatersrand, and Normal College, where he qualified as a teacher. In January 1926 the fateful decision was taken by the Transvaal Education Department to dispatch him as a novice teacher to the tiny farm school of Heimweeberg in the Dwarsberg area of the Marico district The next six months in the young man s life were to prove momentous ...

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Philip Nanton

Britishwriter best known for his books The French Revolution (1837) and Frederick the Great (1858–65). Born in Scotland, and settling permanently in London in 1834, Carlyle was the author of many other works, including essays and articles in periodicals. Among these was his ‘Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question’, originally published in Fraser's Magazine (London) in December 1849, and later rewritten and republished as a pamphlet called Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question (1853) and in some of the collected editions of the author's Latter‐Day Pamphlets (first published 1850).

In form, the Occasional Discourse is an imaginary report of a speech by a fictional orator and it would be unwise to assume that everything in the speech should be regarded as identical with the personal opinions of Carlyle who may have deliberately exaggerated some elements for effect The speaker ...

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Paul Breslin

Martinican poet, playwright, essayist, and political leader, was born on 26 June 1913, in Basse Pointe, Martinique. His parents, Fernand and Eléonore Césaire, were of modest means but devoted to their six children’s education. In 1924, Césaire entered the Lycée Schoelcher in Martinique’s capital, Fort-de-France. In 1931 he went to France to study at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, then, in 1935, at l’École Normale Supérieure. In Paris, Césaire developed friendships with other young black intellectuals and writers, most notably the Senegalese Léopold Sédar Senghor and Léon Damas (1912–1978), a French Guianese who had been his schoolmate at the Lycée Schoelcher. In 1937, he met and married a fellow Martinican student and poet, Suzanne Roussi (1915–1966). The marriage produced six children, one of whom, Ina Césaire (1942– ), became a prominent writer as well.

Césaire and his circle sought a definition of black identity They were influenced by the ...

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Victor Figueroa

Patrick Chamoiseau was born in Fort-de-France, Martinique and studied law in Paris before becoming a writer. In novels such as Chronique des sept misères (1986) and Solibo magnifique (1988), Chamoiseau explores the tensions and conflicts that race, class, and language create in Martinique. In his attempt to incorporate elements from oral Creole into his French prose, Chamoiseau has developed a complex rhythmic and lyrical style often filled with ironic humor.

Chamoiseau collaborated with Caribbean writers Raphaël Confiant and Jean Bernabé on the essay éloge de la Creolité (1989; In Praise of Creoleness, bilingual edition, 1993 one of the most influential theoretical pieces produced in the region in recent times This essay is an affirmation of a Creole identity influenced by but also different from the ideas of Martinican writer and cultural theorist édouard Glissant The essay which is also a manifesto proclaims ...

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Richard Watts

It would not be inappropriate to refer to Maryse Condé as a “restless soul.” Born the last of eight children, she was raised in Guadeloupe and was sent to boarding school in Paris—partly because of her extreme boredom in local schools—at the age of sixteen. At the Lycée Fénelon in Paris, Condé developed a love of literature that was dormant during her years in Guadeloupe. In Paris she became acquainted with Marxist anticolonial circles, joining the Communist youth movement in the mid-1950s. While attending the Jean Genet play Les Nègres at the end of the decade, she met and fell in love with one of the actors, a Guinean named Mamadou Condé. (She would later say of the man she married in August of 1959 that she fell in love with the character he played in Les Nègres.) They left for Africa in 1960 Condé s husband ...

Article

Richard Watts

Raphaël Confiant was born in Le Lorrain, Martinique. Like many people on the island, Confiant was raised to speak two languages: Creole at home and French in school or at work. Confiant developed an attachment to Creole, the oft-maligned spoken language of his island, and the underclass culture associated with it. With an eye toward gaining acceptance for Creole as a literary language, Confiant wrote his first five novels in this idiom. These works—influenced by authors such as the Haitian Frankétienne (Dézafi; 1975) and the Martinican Gilbert Gratiant (Fab Compè Zicaque; 1958 who were among the first to write in Creole present the diversity of Creole culture in Martinique However these novels lack of popular success resulting in part from a limited Creole reading audience convinced Confiant that his subsequent novels should be published in French But Confiant did not simply give up on ...

Article

Charles J. Sugnet

Senegalese novelist, playwright, journalist, and essayist, was born 26 October 1946 in the Medina of Dakar, Senegal. His father, born on Gorée Island in 1906, was an accountant for the colonial government. His mother, Soukeyna Sall, born 1916 at Dagana in northern Senegal, worked as a nurse in Dakar clinics. He did his primary schooling in Dakar and Thiès, and then attended the famous Lycée Van Vollenhoven in Dakar.

At the University of Dakar, he participated in the leftist political movements of 1968, helped found a cultural club named after Frantz Fanon, received his degree in modern literature, and began teaching literature and philosophy at excellent high schools in Saint-Louis and then at Rufisque. His comrades nicknamed him “Boris” after a character in Jean-Paul Sartre’s novel cycle Roads to Freedom. He married Mintou Diop in 1975 and has a daughter Elisabeth and a son Mustapha from ...

Article

Writer and one of the lesser known Pan‐Africanist leaders born in Nigeria, the son of a Baptist mission preacher. Fadipe was brought up in the church missionary school. He became the personal secretary to the manager of Barclays Bank, Lagos. He travelled to Britain and earned a BA degree at the London School of Economics in 1929. He was subsequently awarded fellowships to study at Woodbrooke College in Birmingham and then for his MA at Columbia University, New York. His dissertation entitled ‘A Yoruba Town: A Sociological Study of Abeokuta’, was the first study of its kind by an African academic on Nigeria. Fadipe subsequently took up a teaching post at Achimota College in the Gold Coast but returned to London after his contract was not renewed.

Once again at the London School of Economics in 1934 Fadipe pursued a Ph D working on the first major sociological ...

Article

Richard Watts

Born in Fort-de-France on the island of Martinique into a conventional, bourgeois family, Frantz Fanon grew up with assimilationist values that encouraged him to reject his African heritage. This influence was countered by one of Fanon’s high school teachers, Aimé Césaire, who introduced Fanon to the philosophy of Négritude and taught him to embrace the aspects of self that the colonizer had previously forced him to reject. The encounter with Césaire proved to be a turning point in Fanon’s intellectual development. In 1940 following France s capitulation to the Germans in World War II the part of the French Navy that had declared its allegiance to the collaborationist Vichy regime began the occupation of Martinique As a result 5 000 French soldiers commandeered the resources of the island leaving the resident population to fend for itself It was in this context that Fanon first experienced the full force ...

Article

Louis Tremaine

, Somali novelist, playwright, and essayist, was born in Baidoa, Somalia, on 24 November 1945 the fourth of ten children His father Farah Xasan a Somali reared in Nairobi Kenya was a much traveled interpreter for the British colonial administration in the region before becoming a merchant early in Farah s childhood His mother Aleeli Faduma was an oral poet of some local reputation as were two of his great grandfathers At the age of two he moved with his family to Kallafo in the Ogaden an area then under British occupation but claimed by both Somalis and Ethiopians There he received his first formal education attending both a public and an Islamic school His parents educated their daughters as well as their sons the home was rich with a great variety of books from world literature and young Nuruddin soon formed the goal of becoming a writer A ...

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Ghirmai Negash

Eritrean Tigrinya-language writer, historian, translator, linguist, and professor of African languages, was born and grew up in Yeha, an ancient historical village in Tigray, the northernmost Ethiopian province bordering Eritrea. Yeha is remarkable for its unique and early archaeological sites, as well as for its proximity to and historical connections with the well-known city of Axum, which formed the center of the Axumite kingdom during the reign of the Queen of Sheba, and still remains Ethiopia’s oldest cultural center. Giyorgis is considered one of Ethiopia’s and Eritrea’s most important intellectuals; he lived and wrote during the Italian colonial era in Eritrea. He is considered by many the true founder of secular, modern African literature in Tigrinya.

The consciousness of precolonial history evident in Yeha had a lasting influence on Giyorgis s imagination affecting everything he wrote from literature to history Another important influence on Giyorgis s formation as a native ...

Article

Carlos Dalmau

Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to a Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father, González moved to Puerto Rico when he was four years old. He published his first book of short stories, En la sombra, in 1943 when he was just 17 years old, and in 1945 he was awarded the Premio Instituto de Literatura (San Juan) for another collection of short stories, Cinco cuentos de sangre (Five Stories of Blood). He obtained a degree in social sciences from the University of Puerto Rico in 1946 and later completed postgraduate studies at the New School for Social Research in New York and at the Autonomous University of Mexico. González openly opposed United States colonialism and favored Puerto Rican independence. In 1955 he renounced his U S citizenship and became a Mexican citizen He taught literature at the Autonomous University of Mexico and maintained his Mexican ...

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Kizito Muchemwa

Zimbabwean essayist, novelist, poet, editor, translator, writer-in-residence, visiting lecturer, and cultural critic, was born to Ruvaro Muza Hove, a farmer, and Jessie Hove, his wife, in rural Mazvihwa, Zvishavane, a linguistic and ethnic buffer zone in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe. Hove’s father, a local chief, was a polygamist who brought the family into contact with colonial modernity. The family migrated in the 1960s to Copper Queen Gokwe a district that took in the colonially displaced from different parts of the country following the enactment of many laws dispossessing Africans of their land Hove s time in Mazvihwa and Gokwe explain the writer s ability to speak more than one local language a significant achievement in a racially and ethnically polarized country The aspects that have shaped the writer s sensibility are colonialism missionary education orature war and Zimbabwe s postindependence experience He escaped political persecution at home following ...

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Lynda Gichanda Spencer

Ugandan novelist essayist and activist was born in the Hoima district in western Uganda and is one of Uganda s most prolific writers She completed her Ordinary levels at Kibuli Secondary School and her Advanced levels at Sir Tito Winyi Secondary School She then went on to study marketing at the Nakawa Business College now the Makerere University Business School She holds a master s degree in creative writing from the University of Kwazulu Natal in Durban South Africa One of the founding members of FEMRITE Kyomuhendo also held the position of program coordinator FEMRITE is an indigenous non profit association that grew out of the Ugandan Women Writers Association Born of the need to organize women literary writers nationally and internationally it has contributed significantly to the expansion of the Ugandan women s literary corpus by collecting and disseminating information on gender related issues and by advocating for an ...

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Lisa Clayton Robinson

Born in Carrington Village, Barbados, George Lamming was raised by a single mother. As one scholar has pointed out, it was Lamming who “gave to a Caribbean reality the important verbalization ‘It was my mother who fathered me.’” After attending Roebuck Boys School, he won a scholarship to Combermere High School. There he met teacher Frank Collymore, who was also the editor of Bim, the influential new Caribbean literary journal, and who encouraged Lamming's writing ability. Collymore helped Lamming secure his first job, in 1946, as a teacher at a Venezuelan boys' college in Trinidad.

Lamming remained in Trinidad for four years before emigrating to London in 1950, on the same ship as the Trinidadian novelist Samuel Selvon. During his first several years in London Lamming wrote poetry and short fiction, which he published in Bim and broadcasted in England through the British ...

Article

Drew Thompson

, Angolan poet, essayist, doctor, and political activist, was born Alda Ferreira Pires Bareto de Lara Albuquerque on 30 January 1930 in Benguela, in the Portuguese colony of Angola. She died at the age of thirty-two from unknown medical complications. Much of what the public knows of her life comes from her poems, many of which were published posthumously in Portuguese as book compilations. Lara was a prolific writer in her short life. Her writings take on the spirit of the historical moment she lived and assume multiple meanings as they address a variety of themes, including childhood; her national and racial identity; life as an Angolan in exile in Portugal; her desires as a woman, mother, and citizen; daily life struggles under colonialism; emotional ambitions; and life’s simple joys and pleasures.

Lara s parents were involved in the region s commercial trading The colonial Portuguese racial system classified Lara ...

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Bodil Folke Frederiksen

Kenyan novelist, essayist, and poet, was born Marjorie King in Southampton, England. After taking an M.A. degree in English at the University of London and a spell of teaching, she traveled to Kenya in 1954 to work in the Church Missionary Society bookshop in Nairobi, where she would remain for over fifty years. In 1960, she married a Kenyan medical doctor, D. G. W. Oludhe-Macgoye, and they have four children. After Kenya’s independence in 1963, Marjorie Macgoye became a Kenyan citizen. She is a prolific and popular author of novels, short stories, poetry, essays, and books for children.

After her marriage she became integrated into an extended Luo family which deepened her interest in Luo as well as the broader Kenyan culture and history She demonstrated her understanding of Luo language and culture as an editor of Luo texts The Luo ethnic group is the second largest in Kenya and ...