African literature

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The African literature includes literature in different languages - European and African - with different styles and themes and historical backgrounds. Topics that appear again and again in many literatures of Sub-Saharan Africa as well as in the works of Maghreb authors are colonial history and colonial wars, the disappointments of the post-colonial period due to the tyranny and corruption of the elites and the resulting collapse of society. African literature also looks for models and material in pre-colonial history and in oral tradition.

János Riesz describes the problem that African reality is presented in a language that is only used by a small, educated elite in everyday life, while everyday communication is dominated by African languages as the “basic dilemma of African literature in European language” the rich oral traditions are also passed down. African literature in European languages ​​has been a hybrid literature from the start. With the study of traditional African oral tradition literature dealing African .

While the pioneers of African literature oriented themselves to European forms and traditions until the end of the 1940s and often wrote for self-understanding or in the hope of being able to convey the culture of their continent to Europeans, the issues of colonialism and decolonization emerged in the following period . African writers began to write post-colonial literature primarily for their compatriots, whose literacy was making great strides. The arbitrary borders drawn by the colonial powers led to a selective return to ethnic traditions and local languages, while the second languages, paradoxically, were used at the same time as political instruments for nation building in the young states.

Municipal library in Masaka (Uganda)
Trade in used books in the slums of Fadeyi, Lagos (Nigeria)

The failure of the hopes associated with decolonization and liberation ideologies led African authors to increasingly turn to Europe (and now also the USA) and begin writing for an international market. This is how African literature is now being created in France, Great Britain, the USA, Canada and Italy. More recently, the issues of exile and migration have become more important, while traditional African issues and colonial trauma have become less relevant. African literature gains a transcultural , even intercontinental, dimension, as many literary creators move confidently between Africa, Europe and America. Therefore, not only the British writer Taiye Selasi with roots in Ghana and Nigeria postulates that there is no such thing as “African literature”. The acceptance of an African literature is only an indication of the continued existence of post-colonial thinking. In fact, the African authors are today "Afropolitans", that is, citizens of the world with African roots. Many of them have already experienced globalization in their own country and even felt like a stranger there, even before European authors knew the term.

But the assignment of the diverse, linguistically differentiated newer African literatures and the authors living in the diaspora to the literatures of the linguistic areas of the former colonial powers appears to be inadmissible appropriation, especially since the European languages ​​used by the authors are increasingly “Africanized”.

It is even more difficult to assign “national” literatures to the young decolonized African states. Although regional focal points of early literary production in the second half of the 20th century such as Nigeria, Ghana or Mali can be identified, only a few African countries can today to some extent secure the institutional foundations of a literary business and distribution via the markets. This is not primarily due to the ineptitude or corruption of the elites, but because “the state” was mostly an unknown phenomenon in Africa's pre-colonial times. Only those countries in which centralized pre-colonial states existed, such as the Yoruba or Mali, provided or still provide sufficient public goods such as education, health and infrastructure to allow literature to be disseminated domestically. Since these public goods are endangered again and again by civil wars and other setbacks, many authors are forced to move to Europe or America. In addition, in countries where there are many bookstores, such as in Nigeria, “Bibles and Korans, spiritual publications, school books or business guides as well as well-worn second-hand thrillers and dime novels” can be found in the displays. With illiteracy rates still high, radio, television and the Internet play a far greater role than books in many regions, although the influence of state-controlled media has been declining since the 1990s.

The Arabic literature of the North African peoples and states is not counted as African literature because of the great linguistic homogeneity of the Arab world.

Oral literature in autochthonous languages

The orally transmitted narrative culture (oral literature) in the autochthonous African languages ​​has many forms. Fairy tales and fables are common property, while heroic epics and chronicles are passed on among bards. These bards or minstrels include, for example, the griots of the Yoruba, who used to be employed at royal courts. Even today, some bards make a living by singing chronicles and chants at festivals. Numerous genres, which are combined with music or dance for different occasions according to fixed rules, but still performed with a high degree of creativity, can be distinguished. The texts are presented - often in a naive tone - by a homodiegetic narrator, which is often found in modern written narratives.

Black African culture is not fundamentally without writing. Writing systems such as the Tifinagh and Nsibidi script , however, have proven impractical for the transmission of folk literature. Janheinz Jahn comes to Muntu. Outlines of Neo-African culture came to the conclusion that playback with a speaking drum is equivalent to a written recording and is better adapted to the tropical climate , which causes paper to rot quickly. A culture without writing is not necessarily less advanced, but has values ​​that have been lost in writing cultures .

The first records and translations of oral African literature are thanks to Hermann Baumann , Leo Frobenius and Robert Sutherland Rattray , among others . In addition to language studies, the main interests of ethnography were the stories and songs , until the analysis of social structure replaced the study of folk literature. Thereafter, missionaries who had not been trained in ethnology studied her as far as they could understand. Frobenius himself, who undertook twelve research expeditions across Africa from 1904 to 1935, did not understand any African language either. He had the stories told by the narrators from the surrounding villages and had translators who translated them into English or French. He published his German translations, for example the heroic epics Pui and Dausi , in several edited volumes without an original text.

The rhythm plays a major role not only in the music and oral tradition of Sub-Saharan Africa , but also in the more recent poetry of the rapidly changing post-colonial African societies (as in Chinua Achebe ).

Most of the orally transmitted poems and chants in Berber languages , especially in Tamaziɣt , have been lost since the 1960s. In the last few decades there have been attempts to revive these traditions. In Algeria, the singer Mohamed Ben Hanafi (Mohamed Aït Tahar, 1927–2012) made great contributions to the preservation of the Kabyle tradition through his broadcasts in the second program of Radio Algeria and his newly written popular song texts . An independent Kabyle literature has been developing since the end of the 20th century. The poetry of the other regions populated by Berbers was written down almost exclusively in French translation.

Historical literatures


Ancient Egyptian literature from around 2800 BC. Chr. To 300 AD has been handed down in various forms. The languages ​​used are the ancient , middle and new Egyptian language as well as the demotic . Since the literature was not passed on by copying after the fall of ancient Egyptian culture, today's knowledge is limited to archaeological finds. The oldest testimonies from the Old Kingdom are the religious pyramids and coffin texts and the autobiographies, from the Middle Kingdom the Ipuwer papyrus or the story of Sinuhe are known. War diaries and letters have also come down to us from the New Kingdom ( Papyrus Anastasi I ), as well as the newly founded literature on the afterlife, which, like the well-known Book of the Dead , relates to life after death . In addition, a rich oral literature apparently continued to exist, for example in myths, legends, animal stories, and work songs. The non-religious or non-cult writings included stories, dialogues, sayings, and autobiographies. Genres such as epic, drama or the multi-person novel were unknown.

The youngest dialect of Egyptian, Coptic , the colloquial language of common people, was superseded by Arabic since the 10th century; in Upper Egypt it lasted longer. The extensive literature in Coptic language consists mainly of copies of the Old and New Testaments, stories of saints and liturgical books. There was also a popular entertainment literature.

Old Ethiopian literature

Until the 19th century, the literature of Ethiopia was written in the ancient Ethiopian language (in the church language Ge'ez ). The predominantly Christian literature of the early epoch from the 4th to 7th centuries includes the inscriptions from the empire of Aksum as well as works translated from Greek such as the Bible. Some pseudoepigraphs such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees are only completely preserved in Ge'ez.

Since the 13th century, numerous works from Coptic have been conveyed through Arabic translations . This also applies to ecclesiastical, liturgical and hagiographic writings. The national epic Kebra Negest (glory of kings), a huge cycle of legends from the 13th century, tells the descent of the Ethiopian ruling house from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba , the Fetha Negest (right of kings) served as a legal code. The Arganona Weddase is a Marian office from the 15th century. The chronicles of the Ethiopian kings are also worth mentioning. The confrontation with Islam and the Portuguese missionaries produced a rich theological literature in the 18th century, especially in the monasteries around Gonder . The hymns ( kene ), cultivated by clerics and used in liturgies, have a complicated meter and artful rhetoric. Until the 20th century, individual philological works and chronicles were written in Ge'ez. Alaqa Taye Gabramariam (1861–1924) is one of the most important Ge'ez poets .

Many texts in the Oromo language that go back to the 16th and 17th centuries and were kept in monasteries, and the oral legends have never been edited. The most important work from this period is a story of the Galla von Bahrey .

The dominant literary language of the present is Amharic .

The Berber literature of the Maghreb

First page of the manuscript of a text by Muhammad Awzal (18th century)

Allegedly, the first “ heretical ” Koran - because it was not written in Arabic - was translated into Berber as early as the 8th century, but presumably into Arabic script. Since the 11th century, some religious texts in an early form of the Taschelhit or Shilha , a Berber dialect of southern Morocco, have come down to us. The orally handed down intellectual material is far more extensive. Taschelhit poetry reached its heyday in the early modern period; Her artistic works such as those of the traveling singer Sidi Ḥammu (Sidi Hamou) from the 16th or 17th century were passed down orally, but are still popular in Morocco today. 575 works of this typical Bedouin poetry were collected and translated into French by the French officer and priest Charles de Foucauld in the 19th century . The masterpiece of Shilha literature is an eschatological text by Muhammad Awzal (1680–1758) in verse ( Baḥr al-Dumūʿ , "Ocean of Tears", 1714), which has been translated into English and French.

Si Mohand ou-Mhand (presumably) on the left with a beard and the obligatory tobacco pouch

The Algerian Kabyle Si Mohand ou-Mhand (approx. 1848–1905), who had participated in the Kabyle rebellion in 1871 and had to fight his way through as a day laborer after his entire family had been expropriated, wrote many asefra (plural isefru ) with three stanzas and each a sonnet- like rhyme scheme: AAB AAB AAB. The three verses of each stanza have 7, 5 and 7 syllables. His line of poetry a nerrez wal'a neknu (“I bow, but I don't break”) became the motto of the Algerian Berber fight for recognition of their language in 1980.

In Morocco, Amazigh's printing ban was in effect until the 1980s; Amazigh has been constitutionally protected since 2011. Tamazight only became the official language in Algeria in 2016, after having been used in schools and public media since 2002. After 2010 the call of the Berber minority in Tunisia for greater consideration of their language in the public increased.

Arabic literature of the Maghreb

Important North African authors of the 20th century who wrote mainly in Arabic were Abu al-Qasim asch-Schabbi (Aboul Kacem Chebbi), the Tunisian national poet, and Mohamed Choukri , a Moroccan Berber ( Das nackte Brot , German 1986). Among the authors, Hadjer Kouidri deserves special mention, who received the Taleb Salih Prize, named after the Sudanese writer, for the best Arabic novel in 2014 . The first collection of short stories in Darija , the Moroccan Arabic dialect, was written by Youssouf Amine Elalamy (* 1961).

Modern Ethiopian Literature


Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (around 1960)

The oldest Amharic songs date from the 14th century; Book production in the Amharic language did not begin until after 1860 under Tewodros II . An important Amhari author was Hiruy Walde Selassi († 1938). Many members of the intelligentsia were murdered during the Italian occupation. After the end of the occupation in 1941, the production of patriotic texts in Amhari was promoted by the imperial family. Tekle Tsodeq Makuria wrote such moral and patriotic stories. Kebede Mikael (1916–1998) published poems, dramas, educational writings and translated works by Shakespeare elegantly in Amhari. The well-educated farmer's son Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin (1936–2006) wrote plays as a schoolboy, later wrote historical novels and works of history, and translated Shakespeare, Molière and Brecht into Amharic. He also ruled Ge'ez. After the revolution of 1974 he was temporarily vice minister for culture and established the theater faculty at the University of Addis Ababa. As a dialysis patient, he later had to live in the USA.


Since 1991 Oromo, the language of the Oromo (who used to be called Galla disparagingly and are only gradually building a new identity) has been written with Latin letters.


In Tigre , which is now written in Ethiopian script, there is no written tradition, but there are extensive orally transmitted songs. In accordance with the earlier nomadic lifestyle of the people, these are prose songs, songs of the dead, heroic songs or even fables and tribal traditions in prose. The linguistic expression is often very simple.

Exile literature

After the revolution and as a result of the Ethiopian civil war , which was brutally waged on all sides, an Ethiopian exile literature developed. Well-known representatives include Maaza Mengiste , who lives in the USA ("Under the Lion's Eyes", 2012), Nega Mezlekia (now in Canada), Hama Tuma (* 1949) (now in Paris) and Dinaw Mengestu (* 1976 ), who grew up in the USA and describes in a realistic and unpretentious way the life of Ethiopian emigrants in the USA, which is perceived as racist (“Zum Wiedersehen der Sterne”, 2011; “Our Names”, 2014).

Francophone literature

French is spoken in West, East and North Africa, besides Arabic and the Berber languages ​​(e.g. Kabyle ) also in the entire Maghreb except Libya . The radical spread of French in school lessons in the French colonies to implement the program of assimilation in the name of “civilization” and “progress” could not prevent the African languages ​​from dominating the world for a long time; however, it ensured that the intellectual elites who had attended French-speaking schools used the French language almost exclusively in their texts.

Today literary Francophonie is understood as the production of French literature outside of France. It only partially coincides with the space of the Francophonie , which has been increasingly institutionalized since the 1980s and has been represented by the Organization Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) since 1997 . However, both are closely related. However, in recent times this has been criticized from various quarters: On the one hand, French-speaking African authors defend themselves against being appropriated as Francophone authors: Only very few Francophone citizens speak French on a daily basis. The organization of the Francophonie as a neo-colonial authority and the term itself are criticized as derogatory; it implies the superiority of the mother country over the periphery. In contrast, many French-speaking African authors take the position that there is only one French literature. This is underlined by the fact that Paris is the pre-eminent center of all French-language literary production and that many African authors now live in France. At the same time, the concept of Francophonie in the mother country is at least officially seen as an expression of successful decolonization. The originators of the term in the 19th century even associated it with the idea of ​​a complete assimilation of Africans.

Francophone literature of the Maghreb

In Algeria , Morocco and Tunisia there has been a francophone literature - apart from the literature of the French Algerians like Albert Camus or Jules Roy and the cultural commuters like Isabelle Eberhardt (1877–1904) - only since around 1950. Today, Algeria is dominated by it French immigration was shaped and does not have a developed book market; the proportion of francophone literature compared to Arabic; in the neighboring countries of Morocco and Tunisia it is the other way round. However, the educated middle class elites trained in French-speaking schools often speak better French than Arabic; but the influence of French is declining and that of English among younger people, which is also reflected in the reception of international literature. In Morocco in particular, both the written French language and Standard Arabic are in a tense relationship with the oral traditions of the local population, who communicate using regional Arabic dialects and Berber languages. In Algeria, the French colonial power left behind a post-colonial identity, which is characterized by confusion and hybridity, but which also gave authors access to the French book market.

Advanced storytelling techniques and very serious subjects are typical of today's Maghreb literature.

The beginnings

Mouloud Feraoun, murdered by French extremists in 1962

The beginnings of Francophone Maghrebian literature were - apart from the poems of Jean Amrouche (1906–1962), a Berber who lived in Tunis and who came from Kabylia , and the translations of Kabyle poems by his sister Taos Amrouche (1913–1976) - through autobiographical work and a quasi ethnographic self-representation. Pointing the way for this literature of self-assurance in Algeria were Le fils du pauvre (1950) and La Terre et le sang ("Retaliation underground", 1953) by Mouloud Feraoun , who had lived as an industrial worker in France, in Tunisia La statue de sel ( 1953: German: "Die Salzsäule", 2002), Agar (1955) and Portrait du colonisé, précédé de portrait du colonisateur (1957) by Albert Memmi , who lived mainly in France since 1946, and La boite à merveilles in Morocco ( 1954) by Ahmed Sefrioui . Le passé simple (1954) by Driss Chraïbi , who had lived in Paris since 1945 and dealt with the constraints of the traditional Moroccan family, played an important role in the development of modern Moroccan literature . Mouloud Mammeri , an Algerian professor of linguistics, showed the disintegration of traditional social structures in colonial Algeria in his early novels in the 1950s, but also published French-language adaptations of the poems of the Algerian Kabylen Si Mohand ou-Mhand. An important figure in literary life in Algeria and France in the 1950s was the publisher Edmond Charlot (1915-2004), whose bookstore was destroyed in 1961 by the OAS bombs .

Since Arabic was not taught in Algeria until 1962, French remained the literary language for a long time. Mostly only short stories were published in Arabic. At the end of the 1950s and early 1960s, the conflict with the wars of liberation came to the fore in Algeria. In his masterpiece Nejma (1956) and his later texts, Kateb Yacine recognizes that the devastation of colonial history cannot be grasped with the aid of the representation techniques adopted from French literature. He developed an experimental synthesis of poetry, drama and novels, in which also intercultural elements and techniques of Faulkner and the Italian neorealists flow. The Algeria trilogy by Mohammed Dib , which has autobiographical traits, is at a similar level . His novel Qui se souvient de la mer (1956) contains elements of science fiction .

Since the independence of the Maghreb states

Francophone Tunisian literature since 1956

The Tunisian author Abdelwahab Meddeb (1946–2014), who was critical of Islam and who had lived in France since his youth , was also influenced by Yacine . In 2004, at the age of 84, Albert Memmi published his (so far) last book, Portrait des décolonisés (2004), a “Portrait of the Decolonized”, in which he critically examines the mental immobility, cultural backwardness and propensity for violence of Muslim immigrants in France . 47 years after he drew the portrait of the colonized in their homeland and that of the colonizers and meanwhile wrote numerous other books on migration and racism, he received a lot of criticism for the new book. Azza Filali is a doctor, she writes novels and short stories and is considered a beacon of Francophone Tunisian literature. In 2012 she received the highest Tunisian literary prize for the novel Ouatann , which depicts the stagnation of society before the Arab Spring based on the longings of three people.

Abdelhak Serhane (2016)
Francophone Moroccan literature since 1956

In the 1970s, under the Hassan II regime, the revolutionary élan of younger Moroccan authors such as Abdelkebir Khatibi (* 1938) fell silent . In 1972 several members of the Souffles group were arrested. The narrator, novelist and poet Abdelhak Serhane (* 1950), psychologist and critic of police violence and corruption under the regime, went into exile in Canada and later in the USA. Ben Jelloun (* 1944) treated the fate of migrants and their conflicts with traditional culture in a cautious manner in his work in French exile. The novels by Youssouf Amine Elalamy (* 1961) have been translated into Arabic and several other languages. Leïla Slimani (* 1981) lives in Paris; she portrays unleashed sexuality from a female perspective. In 2016 she received the Prix ​​Goncourt for her novel Chanson douce (Eng. "Then you sleep too", 2017) .

Leïla Slimani at the Frankfurt Book Fair (2017)
Francophone Algerian literature since 1962

While modern Francophone Tunisian and Moroccan literature is still influenced in part by Islamic topics, Algerian literature is completely secularized, but since the beginning of this century it has had to fight off Islamist criticism. With the achievement of independence, interest in pre-Islamic cultural traditions arose. The Algerian poet and novelist Mourad Bourboune ( Le Muezzin , 1968), born in 1938, belongs to this movement . In the late 1960s and 1970s, however, the focus was on coming to terms with the post-revolutionary era. As described Rachid Boudjedra (* 1941), who later wrote in Arabic, the traumas of his youth in La Repudiation (1969) and analyzed the contradictions of the post-revolutionary society.

Under the impression of corruption, abuse of power and because of the civil war around 1990, many francophone authors left the country and went to France. the theater, radio, novelist and musician Aziz Chouaki (* 1951). His novel Etoile d'Alger , playing in a musical environment, became famous .

Assia Djebar (1992)

The man-woman relationship is a standard topic in Maghreb literature, but it is only dealt with by a few female authors. One of these is Assia Djebar (1936–2015), who comes from a Berber family and also worked as a director. Her books, which are mostly about the life of women in Algeria, have also been translated into German and many other languages. Djebar tries to translate the thoughts and utterances of the Berber women, for whom there is no written language, into French, indirectly via Arabic, which they learned very late. Djebar had to live temporarily in Tunisia and since 1990 permanently in France; in 2000 she received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade . The Algerian novelist Tahar Djaout was murdered by Islamists in 1993 for supporting secularism . His last novel, Le dernier été de la raison, is about a small bookseller's resistance to oppression.

The French-speaking Algerian authors today are all representatives of exile literature. In Algeria, the French language was repeatedly denounced as the language of the colonialists, for example by the important Arabic-speaking author Tahar Ouettar . One of the few exceptions is the francophone narrator Kamel Daoud . His continuation of Albert Camus ' Der Fremde , the novel The Meursault Case (2014, 2016) gives the anonymous murdered Arab in Camus' work a name and a biography . He received the Prix ​​Goncourt in 2015 . In Germany, Hamid Skif published regularly (1951–2011). However, the themes in Algerian-Arab literature are similar to those in Francophone: bureaucracy, religious intolerance, the bloody 1990s and terrorism.

Sub-Saharan Africa: The Beginnings to 1930

Before 1960 there were few African intellectuals in the South Saharan region who wrote books in French. Among them was the teacher Amadou Mapaté Diagne (1886–1976), who saw himself as a modernizer and advocate of a policy of assimilation , graduated from the École Normale in Saint-Louis (Senegal) , who in 1920 published the fairy-tale story Le trois volontés de Malic , used for French lessons , also René Maran (1887–1960), a French colonial official from the Antilles, who worked in Ubangi-Shari , was the first black writer to receive the Prix ​​Goncourt in 1921 for his critical novel Boutala and then lost his post, and Antoine Dim Delobsom (1897– 1940) from French Sudan , a member of the Mossi people who opposed Christian proselytizing.

A lieutenant of the Tirailleurs sénégalais (1889)

The first generation of Francophone African authors published mainly in Africa; some of the authors never left their homeland such as B. Benin- born Togolese Félix Couchoro (1900–1968). Of his 21 novels only four were published in book form (first L'eslave 1929); the others appeared as serial novels in magazines. Like others, Couchoro was indirectly influenced by the experiences of over 200,000 black African soldiers who returned from France after World War I and organized themselves into political or union groups. One of these was the Senegalese shepherd Bakary Diallo (1892–1978), an illiterate person, who published his experiences as a Tirailleur sénégalais from the First World War with outside help in 1926 . Like Candide, he walks around the world as a big child, understands neither the war nor its causes, is badly wounded, but admires his white bosses. Diallo was later awarded the Legion of Honor.


The Négritude movement, which began in the 1930s, is a political and literary movement that goes back to the African-American civil rights movement of WEB Du Bois and influences from the French-speaking Caribbean (in Haiti : Jean Price-Mars , 1876-1969). The idea of ​​Négritude was the return to African cultural traditions and the detachment from Europe. It was also influenced by socialism , humanism and German romanticism . The Négritude also refers to the theories of Leo Frobenius in his cultural history of Africa , which is viewed by some Africanists as a misunderstanding, but also to Frantz Fanon and Albert Memmi; however, it is based on the colonial context.

Léopold Sédar Senghor in Frankfurt (1961)

In 1934 the Senegalese Léopold Sédar Senghor founded the magazine L'Etudiant Noir together with the Guyanese Léon-Gontran Damas and Aimé Césaire from Martinique , whose models were the Crisis of the NAACP in the USA and the communist magazine Légitime Défense in Paris. In the first number, Césaire used the term "Négritude" and made it known through his poem Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (1939), which is considered the beginning of literary Négritude. Senghor, poet and from 1960 to 1980 also the first president of the independent Senegal , defined negation as “the totality of cultural values ​​in the black world as they are expressed in the life, in the institutions and in the works of blacks.” Senghor's basic idea was a mixture of cultures, not a predominance of European or African values; he was influenced by Leo Frobenius ' organistic cultural morphology .

The reason that the literature was written almost exclusively in French is primarily due to the consistently Francophone schooling of the elite. Much of the work from this period was only published in West Africa; the debates had the character of self-understanding. The Senegalese Ousmane Socé Diop published the fictional-autobiographical novel Karim in 1935 . Roman Sénégalais , in which a young man describes life at the intersection of two cultures. His second, partly autobiographical novel Mirages de Paris followed in 1937, about an impossible love between a black woman and a French woman. The form of the more or less fictional autobiography offered these early authors the opportunity for cultural-political reflections, among other things. about the effects of Europeanized schooling. Only Senghor also published poems in Serer , his mother tongue.

The political orientation towards communism, in which Senghor never took part, and the inclusion of Négritude in the literary movement of surrealism ended after the Second World War. Many black soldiers fought in the colonial army of France and shook off the illusion of the white superman that they had taken over from the colonial rulers at school. As a result, the writers of the Négritude increasingly used terms from West African languages ​​and motifs from African mythology.

Since 1947 the quarterly magazine Présence Africaine , founded by the Senegalese Alioune Diop , represented the Négritude, which saw itself as the political mouthpiece of Pan-Africanism , in Paris. The authors mainly include Africans in the diaspora, but also Europeans and Americans. In 1948 the Négritude became known in Europe when Senghor published the anthology de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache de langue française , to which Jean-Paul Sartre wrote the foreword Orphée noir . In 1956 and 1959, important congresses of Francophone African writers took place in Paris and Rome, where the concept of negation was discussed.

The Négritude formulated the demand Retour aux sources! ("Back to the sources!"). One of the themes of her literature was therefore the rediscovery of the sources of African culture. This culture, which partly still existed in the country in a traditional way, was supposed to bring those who had adopted the mindset of the Europeans back to the sources. Oral literature, which has hitherto mostly been ignored by African writers, was collected and translated into French, and other fables and fairy tales were re-composed based on the traditional ones. The semi-oral style was often retained. One example is the Senegalese Birago Diop with his collections Les contes d'Amadou Kouma (1947) and Nouveaux contes d'Amadou Kouma (1958), in which the boundary between one's own poetry and tradition can no longer be determined. The playwright, storyteller and collector of fairy tales from his homeland, Bernard Binlin Dadié from Ivory Coast, who was imprisoned during the struggle for independence around 1950, presented himself more combative . Laye Camara from Guinea reported autobiographically in his anti-colonial novel L'enfant noir (1953) (German: "One from Kurussa", 1954).

The literature of the Négritude also dealt with the African kingdoms . In the search for a past that was on par with that of Europe, and which had always been dismissed by the colonial rulers, one came across the Sudanese pyramids and kingdoms , the early states of Timbuktu , Ghana and Zimbabwe in the 1940s and 1950s . The representation of the size and importance of these empires was not infrequently exaggerated. The first historical novel , Doguicimi (1933) by the Beninese Paul Hazoumé , dealt with the kingdom of Dahomey , after which the state of Benin was named. Nazi Boni from what is now Burkina Faso wrote in Crépuscule des temps anciens (1962), an ethnographic novel, the chronicle of the Bwaba and, as if, on the threat to the traditional values ​​of his people. His compatriot Roger Nikiema ( Dessein contraire , 1967) was also committed to Négritude . However, the pioneers of Négritude failed to promote the development of African languages ​​as literary languages; It also remained unclear how the promotion of African culture could look in practice.

Anti-colonial literature

Unlike the Négritude, the anti-colonial literature of the 1950s and 1960s aimed to immediately shake the colonial system. She expressed herself mainly in the novel. Francophone novelists such as the Cameroonian Mongo Beti and Ferdinand Oyono , the Senegalese Ousmane Sembène , who also shot the first African feature film, and Benjamin Matip and Jean Malongo from the Republic of the Congo addressed the dependence on colonial power, the suffering of emigrants in France and radicalized themselves given the French lack of interest in reforms. Tchicaya U Tam'si from the Republic of the Congo, who had lived in Paris with his father since 1946, went to Kinshasa in 1960 as a collaborator of Patrice Lumumba , but had to return to France in 1961, where he wrote the Surrealism- influenced volume of poetry Le Ventre (1964 ) wrote.

The work of these authors aimed to change the political attitudes of the readers. The novels often portrayed the individual fates of Africans, in which the discrimination by white businessmen, racist colonial officials or missionaries becomes clear. Partiality by no means ruled out a differentiated presentation, as Sembène's excellent novel Pieces of Wood from God shows about a strike under colonial rule.

Marie-Claire Matip , who in her short novel Ngonda, combined her memories of childhood in a village with an examination of rural traditions and emphasized the advantages of Western education , showed another way . The book published in 1958 was the first ever by a Cameroonian.

The novelist, poet and politician Fily Dabo Sissoko (1900–1964), who was arrested after independence in 1962 and died under unknown circumstances , sought cooperation with the colonial power on the way to independence in his homeland Mali .

Postcolonial Literature

Cheikh Hamidou Kane (2008)

In the 1960s, the Francophone authors dealt with the aftermath of colonialism; However, they mostly remained involved in the French literary discourse, such as the Cameroonians Mongo Beti and Jean Ikellé-Matiba (1936–1984). The latter lived temporarily in France and Germany. His book Cette Afrique-là (1963) accounts for the colonial period. Other voices articulated the identity problems of the Africans who emigrated to France or who studied there. These include the autobiographical book L'Aventure ambiguë (1961; dt. 1980 as "Der Zwiespalt des Sambo Diallo") by the Senegalese Cheikh Hamidou Kane (* 1928), whose hero lost his Islamic and Senegalese roots mourned and Kocoumbo, l'étudiant noir of the Ivory coast derived Gérard Aké Loba . Amadou Hampâté Bâ , who comes from Mali, also researches lost traditions in his memoirs; He is only critical of colonial rule if it ignores these traditions. On the other hand, Yambo Ouologuem, also from Mali, turned against what he saw as the unjustified pride of the Négritude in African traditions: his historical debut novel "The Commandment of Violence" (1968, German 1969) is just as much an attack on the African rulers, who sold their subjects as slaves, like to the colonial masters.

The post-colonial development of Ivory Coast was sharply criticized in Les Soleils des indépendances (Montreal 1968) by the novelist, children's book author and theater poet Ahmadou Kourouma (1927–2003), who lived in exile in various countries . For him, the “Ivoirité” represented an “absurdity”, the assertion made by President Henri Konan Bédié of a special national identity of the Ivory Coast with its 64 ethnic groups. A literary prize awarded by the Geneva Critics' Salon has been named after Kourouma.

Sony Lab'ou Tansi (1947–1995, born in what was then the Belgian Congo), like Sylvain Bemba , editor of the magazine Liaison , published from 1950 to 1959 , was one of the founders of the modern (street) theater of the Republic of the Congo in Brazzaville . Both became internationally known and have received many prizes. Henri Lopès ( Sans tam-tam 1977, Le pleurer-rire 1982), also born in the Belgian Congo, returned to Brazzaville from Paris in 1965, where he worked as an education politician, for two years as Prime Minister of the socialist government and later for UNESCO . The eminent poet Jean-Baptiste Tati Loutard (1938–2009) also served as Minister of the Republic of the Congo, and despite his numerous offices he published for almost 40 years.

The Nouvelles Éditions Africaines (NEA) , founded in 1972/73 by the governments of Senegal and Ivory Coast with the participation of French publishers, became important for the dissemination of the works of Francophone African authors . As a bow to President Senghor, his Lettes d'hivernage first appeared in 1973 , followed in the same year by François-Joseph Amon d'Aby's collection of legends La mare aux crocodiles and Amar Samb's reckoning with Islamic dogmatism: Matraqué par le destin: ou, La vie d'un Talibé . The member of the Académie Française Jean Dodo from Ivory Coast ( Wazzi ) as well as Biram Sacko and Ibrahima Sall were some of many other authors whose work has been published by NEA. Occasionally, works by non-Francophone authors such as the Nigerien Idé Oumarou have also been published. Noteworthy was inter alia. the fact of the publication of some of the works of the first professional writer from Mauritania , Youssouf Gueye . Since the late 1970s, a certain pessimism with regard to the future prospects of Africa has been reflected in the eclectic publishing program, which is also aimed primarily at European readers. Interest in African literature also declined in Europe. Since 1989 the publishing house, which had lost its former importance, was again operated exclusively by Senegal (as NEAS). In 1992, the Ivory Coast founded a successor publisher, Nouvelles Éditions Ivoiriennes (NEI), together with foreign investors .

The teacher, later politician and ethnographer Boubou Hama from Niger , who wrote thirty books from 1966 to 1974 alone, left a comprehensive fiction, scientific and essayistic work . The national Prix ​​Boubou Hama named after him was among others. to the Nigerien novelists Adamou Idé , Abdoulaye Mamani , who also wrote plays and the screenplay for the period film The Struggle of the Black Queen (1986), and Idé Oumarou, who subtly described political grievances from the inside view of a politician ( Le Représentant , 1984) .

In response to the disappointed hopes for modernization, authors such as Francis Bebey , Ahmadou Kourouma and Jean Pliya (1931–2015) began to think back to the traditional tasks of African artists in the 1980s . They turned away from the French audience and addressed a new African readership in order to illustrate the changes in everyday life and to convey political values. New publishers were founded in Cameroon, Senegal and the neighboring countries, although they only had small editions printed. More and more African vocabulary was used, traditional symbolism and not always bloodless rituals found their place in literature. Unlike in the past, the novels related differently to individual cultures and regions and their myths - including folklorism. On his travels, Kélétigui Mariko from Niger collected oral traditions and stories from the Touareg and other tribes of the Sahel region . Topics such as the corruption of the new elites, the oppressive demands of the family on the individual or the situation of women in the face of traditional machismo were dealt with in a sometimes extremely realistic form .

The post-colonial francophone theater

As early as the 1930s, teachers at the teacher training institute École normal William Ponty in Saint-Louis tried to encourage young students to write. You should study their traditions, but shape them according to French models. A spoken theater was created that was given some local color through African chants and dance performances. Thanks to its cultural and language policy, France also exercised a certain cultural influence after independence. The Malagasy playwright, poet and co-founder of the independence movement Jacques Rabemananjara (1913–2005), who was temporarily foreign minister of his country, can be counted among the movements of the Négritude .

Theater competitions in the francophone area have been held as Concours théâtral interafricain since 1968 . Every year since 1983 theater festivals have been held in Limoges ( Festival de la Francophonie Limoges ), in which African dramaturges can still take part. This academically shaped spoken theater, which emerged from the colonial era, survived the colonial era and was also cultivated in the newly founded and state-controlled national theaters. Two genres emerged that were supposed to have both an entertainment and an educational value, namely historical dramas and moral comedies. On the one hand, authors like Guillaume Oyônô Mbia (* 1939) from Cameroon tried to criticize traditions that inhibit development, on the other hand, historical traditions were rediscovered, similar to those in the novel, and revalued in drama, albeit often in transfigured form.

Since the late 1970s, ritual theater has been rediscovered according to the scheme of traditional initiation rites or healing ceremonies, according to the Cameroonian Werewere-Liking Gnepo . Massa Makan Diabaté (1938–1988) from Mali, who himself comes from a long family tradition of griots of the Malinke people , showed that the oral art of the griots had degenerated into pure entertainment and tried to revalue it by developing literary texts. Old forms of lecture art ( griotique ) were freed from the fetters of tradition, revived and forms of political drama developed, which were based, among other things, on Bertolt Brecht's theater . After the end of apartheid , influences from South Africa increasingly asserted themselves. A politicized theater scene developed in Madagascar, for which Michèle Rakotoson's plays La Maison morte (1991) and Jean-Luc Raharimanana's Le prophète et le président (1989) stand.

More recent pieces from Francophone Africa deal with topics such as migration, gender equality or the religious conflicts that flare up again and again. Works by Justin Stanislas Drabo (* 1978) aua Burkina Faso have been repeatedly performed abroad.

War and exile

Léonora Miano 2010

Since the 1990s, African civil wars and human rights issues have been the focus of African literature, for example in the work of the first female novelist from Burkina Faso , the feminist lawyer and diplomat Monique Ilboudou (* 1957), who explicitly dealt with the genocide in Rwanda ( Murekatete , 2001). Her compatriot Norbert Zonge , an investigative journalist, was tortured for his critical novel Le Parachutage (1988); In 1998 he was murdered for political reasons. More and more authors who took up current topics based on their own experience, however, were forced to relocate the plot of their texts to fictional countries. Other writers have resided in France since the 1990s, such as Aké Loba and the psychologist Gabriel Okoundji , born in the Republic of Congo in 1962 , who became known in the French-speaking world for his diverse poetry, and the Cameroonian Eugène Ebodé (* 1962). The two Cameroonian authors Léonora Miano (* 1973), whose novels (first: L'intérieur de la nuit 2005) won many prizes (including the Pri Fémina 2013), and Hemly Boum (* 1973), also live in France . whose novels reflect the changes in the social structure of Africa. The sociologist Sami Tchak (actually Aboubacar Sadamba Tcha-Koura, * 1960) from Togo lives in France, but found his novel and essay topics in Latin America and the Caribbean, which he traveled for a long time ( Hermina 2003; Les filles de Mexico 2008). The chemistry professor, novelist and fabulous poet Emmanuel Dongala (* 1941) helped set up the theater in Brazzaville, for which he wrote several plays, and had to emigrate to the USA during the turmoil of the 1990s. The poet, essayist and narrator Alain Mabanckou (* 1966) now lives in the USA, but continues to write in semi-oral French with many repetitions and digressions, proverbs and fables, as it is spoken in his home country, the Republic of the Congo. In Mémoires de porc-épic (2006; Eng .: “Porcupine Memoirs”, 2011) he ironically ironizes the popular beliefs of his compatriots. Tierno Monénembo (* 1947) from Guinea, who dealt with the history of the African diaspora and, in Le Terroriste noir (2012) with the contribution of Africans to the French Resistance , also went into exile in the US . Ryad Assani-Razaki emigrated to Canada at the age of 18, but writes about life in his homeland, Benin, the misery of street children and the motives of the emigrants. The Togolese writer and theater maker Sénouvo Agbota Zinsou (* 1946) emigrated to Germany .

Fatoumata Keïta (2014)

Fatoumata Keïta (* 1977) from Mali, who had to sell water bottles at the train station as a child, stayed in her home country. She writes poems, novels and essays on village and urban life, polygamous family structures, female circumcision ( Sous fer 2013, with Françoise Dessertine) and the situation of widows from a social anthropological perspective. She uses many terms from the Malinke .

Former Belgian colonies

The authors from the former Belgian colonies in particular have been familiar with civil war, violence, migration and exile for decades. Unlike in the English and French colonies, the formation of a native bourgeois elite was not encouraged. Few of the Congolese had Belgian citizenship and there were only a handful of local academics at the time of independence in 1960 - a consequence of an extremely paternalistic colonial policy. The Congolese author and anthropologist Valentin-Yves Mudimbe (* 1941) described the archaic and violent structures of the colonialist tribal society and its political turmoil in the 1960s ( The Invention of Africa ). His book Before the Birth of the Moon, first published in 1976, has also been translated into English . He went into exile in the USA in 1979. In Koli Jean Bofane was born in 1954 in what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo . His 1996 book Pourquoi le lion n'est plus le roi des animaux (English: Why the lion is no longer king of animals ) has been translated into several languages. His novel Sinusbögen überm Congo reports on the power of the elites and corruption in the Congo. The author fled to Belgium in 1993. Also from the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the poet and short story writer Clémentine Nzuji , who founded the artist group Pléiade du Congo in 1964 , and Fiston Mwanza Mujila (* 1981), who now lives in Graz and, in highly musical terms , civil war, violence and corruption in describes his homeland. For his novel Tram 83 he received the International Culture Prize of the House of World Cultures .

Véronique Tadjo during a reading in Frankfurt / Main, 2001

Gilbert Gatone ( The Noisy Silence ), born in 1981 in Rwanda , which has been independent since 1962 , went into exile in Zaire and now lives in France, where he was denied naturalization. Scholastique Mukasonga from Rwanda deals with the civil war there from the seemingly naive perspective of a missionary student. She lives in France today. Gaël Faye (* 1982 in Burundi ) has lived in France since 1995. He became known as a musician, rapper and aturo and tells his childhood story in the shadow of the impending civil war in "Kleines Land" (German 2017).

The events in Rwanda have also been processed literarily by authors from other African countries, for example by the Ivorian Véronique Tadjo , who is also known for children's books and now teaches in Johannesburg , and the Cameroonian Eugène Ébodé (* 1962), who lives in France .

The 21st Century: Migration, Diaspora, "Post-Post Colonialism"

More recently, several authors have addressed the wave of migrants from Africa, the questionable nature of Eldorado Europe or the difficulties of integration. B. by the Senegalese Abdel Aziz Mayoro Diop and the Senegalese Fatou Diome ("The Belly of the Ocean" 2004) as well as by the Cameroonian singer and songwriter Blick Bassy . With the disappearance of a militant opposition and the dominance of new topics in urban life in Africa or the life of migrants in Europe and the USA, the postcolonial fixation of the authors is becoming less important. The "children of the post-colony" (so thoroughly critical of Abdourahman Waberi from Djibouti ) also overcome post-colonialism aesthetically. Instead of looking for their own black roots , the authors orientate themselves on international reference systems. The work of Al Zamir (* 1987) , who lives in the Comoros , is seen as an enrichment for the French novel.

But the anti-colonial struggle is still an issue for many of the authors who have stayed in their homeland, for example for the Cameroonian author Hemley Boum in her family saga “Song for the Lost” (2018). The problems of the reconciliation of the ethnic groups after the genocide in Rwanda also receive literary attention, for example in the novel Souveraine magnifique (2014) by Eugène Ebodé. The escape across the Mediterranean is the subject of one of the novels by Timba Bema , who has lived in Switzerland since 2007.

The overthrow of the regime in Burkina Faso by a broad popular movement in 2014 gave a boost to many intellectuals advocating political renewal. The Burkinabe playwright Aristide Tarnagda (* 1983) staged the Coltan project in Cologne in July 2014 , named after the raw material that brought a humanitarian catastrophe to eastern Congo.

Literary prizes from Francophone Africa

Since 1961 the Grand Prix littéraire de l'Afrique noire has been awarded by the Association of French-speaking Writers Association des écrivains de langue française (ADELF). Until 2016 he went to Cameroon fourteen times or to a native Cameroonian (most recently to Blick Bassy), eleven times to the Republic of the Congo, nine times to the Ivory Coast and seven times to Senegal, which roughly describes the regional focus of literary production. Among the numerous national literary prizes, the Prix ​​Massa Makan Diabaté awarded in Mali should be mentioned.

Anglophone literature

The English language is common in West, East and Southern Africa. However, the emergence of literature in English in colonized Africa is not simply a transfer phenomenon, but the result of a creolization process in which European forms and communication structures (written form, reading public, publishers, etc.) are combined with an African substrate of topics, content and elements of meaning were brought.

This process began in South Africa in the 19th century with the installation of the first printing press in 1795 and the opening of the first public library in 1823. The first printing press arrived in Accra around 1840 . Scottish missionaries began running schools for Africans in the mid-19th century. In Freetown ( Sierra Leone ), the first higher education institution in sub-Saharan Africa was founded in 1840.

Africanus Horton (James Beale Horton)

Liberated slaves from the Caribbean ( Krios ) or their descendants such as Africanus Horton (1835–1883), an early representative of African nationalism, came here as missionaries (or as a military doctor like Horton) and began to work as an educational and journalist. In Sierra Leone, short texts had been written in Krio , a Creole language that was used by former slaves who had migrated back from the Caribbean and found its way into Nigerian pidgin , since the beginning of the 20th century . Overall, however, literary production remained sparse for 100 years. It was not until the 1950s, when the independence movements became stronger, that the universities, which were built with high investments, became focal points of the English-language literature in Africa, which has received international attention ever since.

But the cultural influence of the British remained rather small. In contrast to many French-speaking African authors in the discussion about the justification of the concept of Francophonie, English-speaking African writers are mostly uninterested in the question of whether one should speak of English or Anglophone literature or whether there are even several Anglophone literatures. For them, the search for their cultural identity is less of a problem than for francophone authors. The flexibility of the English language, which adapts more easily to local idioms, contributes to this. Many authors use standard English in the authoritative passages of their works, but quotations from spoken language are often located on a continuum between pidgin and standards.

The publishing house William Heinemann Ltd. made great contributions to the publication of English-language literature by African authors . since 1962 with his African Writers Series in the Heinemann Educational Books (HEB) series. However, titles from French, Portuguese, Zulu, Swahili, Acholi, Sesotho, Afrikaans, Luganda and Arabic have also been translated into English. Since 2011 the media group Pearson has published a new episode of this book series.

West Africa

The origins of modern literature in Nigeria

One of the first modern West African authors was the Nigerian Amos Tutuola ( The Palm Wine Drinkard , 1952), a book that defied realistic narrative conventions and was written in faulty English (its author had attended school for just six years). It was precisely for this reason that the book later became style-defining and highly valued, even though it was criticized at the time because it slandered Nigerians as barbaric, constantly drunk people and provoked racist fantasies.

Most of West Africa's major English-language authors come from Nigeria , where the University of Ibadan gained pan-African exposure. There Ulli Beier founded the magazine Black Orpheus in 1957 , which became the main forum for many Nigerian poets and authors. He wrote successful plays under his stage name Obotunde Ijimere. The Arts Theater of the University of Ibadan performed plays by Wole Soyinka as early as 1959 and has developed into touring theater since 1961, but mostly played plays by European authors. As a critical reaction to the emerging alienation of theater from everyday African life in Ibadan, the Mbari Club emerged as a literary center for African writers. John Pepper Clark -Bekederemo (JP Clark) staged his first play Song of a Goat here in 1962 , a synthesis of forms of ancient theater and a topic that is always relevant in Africa - fertility and motherhood - for the young generation educated in Europe.

The Nigerian broadcaster NBC also promoted and disseminated numerous literary activities and offered some authors such as Tutuola, Achebe or Ekwensi employment. As early as the 1950s, popular urban literature based on the American model appeared in Nigeria, published in the so-called Onitsha market literature, the most important of which was probably Cyprian Ekwensi .

From independence in 1960 to disillusionment in the 1970s

Chinua Achebe , winner of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2002, who only learned English at the age of eight, is considered the actual founder of English-language literature in West Africa . His books (first Things Fall Apart , 1958; German Everything falls apart , 2012) address colonialism in the 19th century, the breakdown of tribal structures and identities and the power opportunism of the new elites based on the biography of a wrestler from the Igbo people . His work contains many quotations and sayings from the Igbo ; It was seen as a model by many authors who had the stated aim of correcting the image of a "primitive" Africa conveyed by colonialist literature.

The Nigerian Flora Nwapa - also an Igbo - was the first West African whose novels and stories received international recognition. She can be regarded as the forerunner of feminist literature and made no secret of her skepticism about the manipulative interventions of Christian missionaries in the spiritual and everyday world of Africans. Cyprian Ekwensi (1921–2007), son of a big game hunter and Igbo storyteller, wrote hundreds of short stories as well as 35 novels and children's books. His best-known work is Jagua Nana (1961, German 1987), a description of the life of an aging sex worker that is not free from stereotypes.

The essayist and literary scholar Abiola Irele (1936–2017), who, after Ulli Beyer, took over the management of the magazine Black Orpheus , was regarded as a representative of Négritude in Nigeria . He criticized the overemphasis on the ideological differences between the English- and French-speaking authors of Africa. This overemphasis prevented the former from realizing the relevance of the concept.

The dramatist, poet and narrator Wole Soyinka , winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize for Literature, whose saying “A tiger does not proclaim his tigritude ; ” was a representative of the disillusioning literature after independence, which is called Tigritude in a polemical way from the Négritude ; he pounces ”became legendary at the African writers Conference of English Expression , which took place from June 11th to 17th, 1962 in Kampala . This world's first conference of English-speaking African authors was a kind of critical Anglophone counterpart to the francophone Congrès mondial des artistes et écrivains noirs . The disillusioning approach was also represented by John Pepper Clark and the Ghanaian Ayi Kwei Armah , who in his novels describes the corruption, devastation and social frustration in his homeland and seeks support in African traditions. His works are influenced by French existential philosophers such as Jean Paul Sartre and Albert Camus . The Ghanaian Ama Ata Aidoo depicts the situation of women in Ghana in her novels ( Changes , German: “The Second Woman”), stories and plays. Buchi Emecheta wrote The Joys of motherhood (1979; German: “Twenty sacks of shell money “, 1983) is a social novel that shows how a chieftain's daughter is broken by the tensions between tradition and the colonial present.

The Biafra War of 1966–1970, which both Achebe and Soyinka dealt with in dramatic war novels, had a rousing effect . The master of the Nigerian short story INC Aniebo (* 1939) also fought on the side of Biafra .

Wole Soyinka, the first African Nobel Prize winner

Politicization and Spirituality after 1980

As a representative of a surrealist influenced postmodernism, who also breathed life into the inanimate, one can consider the Ghanaian Kojo Laing , who wrote novels and poems in a linguistic continuum that moved between Oxford English and Pidgin and absorbed many local language elements.

The main themes of the 1980s and 1990s, however, were the democratization movement and criticism of the military dictatorships. These include poetic works by the Ghanese Kofi Awoonor , influenced by the tradition of the Ewe , who also translated texts from the Ewe . He was killed in 2013 while giving a lecture in Kenya during the raid on the Westgate shopping center . The criticism of the Nigerian military dictatorship cost the novel, screenwriter and environmental activist Ken Saro-Wiwa his life: he was sentenced to death in 1995 under the Sani Abacha regime . The Nigerian Helon Habila also dealt with the victims of the military dictatorship and the ongoing oil disaster in the Niger Delta (“Oil on Water”, 2012).

Since the 1980s, women have increasingly spoken out in literary terms, for example the Nigerian Buchi Emecheta , who lives in London , whose first book manuscript was burned by her husband, the Nigerian Sefi Atta , who lives in the USA ( Everything Good Will Come , Lagos 2005, dt. : Tell everyone it will be fine! Zurich 2013) and the Ghanaian Ama Ata Aidoo ( Changes , 1991, German: The second woman , 2013). The Nigerian Femi Osofisan , who studied in Ibadan , Dakar and at the Sorbonne and taught drama at the University of Ibadan, uses surrealist stylistic devices and traditional African forms of expression with an educational impetus in his around 60 frequently performed plays. He often adapted European classics. Its themes are changing traditions, gender and sexual oppression. Women of Owu (2004) is a retelling of the Trojans of Euripides .

The Biafra War also found literary repercussions, albeit quite late because it is still a taboo subject. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie addresses him and his effects on family relationships in her novel Half of a Yellow Sun (2006; German "Half of the Sun", 2007), which has been translated and filmed in many languages . The Booker Prize winner's topics also include the consequences of the military dictatorship and migration to the USA ( Americanah , 2013). One of the younger Nigerian authors is Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani , who received the 2010 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the best debut novel (German: The sea-blue shoes of my uncle Cash Daddy , Munich 2011). Sally Singhateh from Gambia primarily addresses women and young people with her books.

Many authors also write in English in the part of Cameroon, which formerly belonged to the British mandate of the League of Nations . These include Bole Butake , Sankie Maimos , Mbella Sonne Dipoko (1936–2009), Jedida Asheri , Kenjo Jumbam , Nsanda Eba and Imbolo Mbue .

Cosmopolitanism and Diaspora

Chimamanda Adichie

In the 21st century, the chaotic cities of Nigeria developed into important centers of literary life in Africa, which was constantly becoming politicized. Elnathan John (* 1982) traces how young people are shaped by violence in Born on a Tuesday (German 2017). Nigerian authors also delve into spiritual aspects of traditional or metropolitan African life. Many emigrated to Europe or the USA, however, Ben Okri , who has lived in England since he was 19 , who through his magical-realistic or surrealistic tale of Azaro, a “ghost child” from the slums The Famished Road (1991, Eng . The hungry street ) became known. For this he received the Booker Prize .

Many English-speaking writers in West Africa have developed a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Kofi Awoonor lived in the USA and was ambassador to Brazil and Cuba. In Ride Me, Memory (1973) he reflected on his experiences in the USA. Helon Habila, Sefi Atta (* 1964) and Chimamanda Adichie often stay in England or the USA. Atta describes the connections between patriarchy , religion, criminal violence and migration from the perspective of women of all classes (e.g. Hagel auf Zamfara , German 2012). Imbolo Mbue from Cameroon now lives in the USA. Her book Behold the Dreamers (2016; dt. The country dreamed 2017) is about life Cameroonian immigrants in New York after the financial crisis. Pius Adesanmi († 2019), who emigrated to Canada, became known through satires on the chaotic society and politicians of Nigeria . Nii Ayikwei Parkes was born in England, grew up in Ghana and now lives in London again. His crime novel Tail of the Blue Bird (London 2009; German: Die Spur des Bienenfressers , Zurich 2010) became a bestseller. Ismael Beah wrote about his experiences as a child soldier in the civil war in Sierra Leone ; he lives in the USA today.

East Africa

The beginnings 1960–1977

Anglophone East African literature had a different background than West African. In East Africa, Swahili and other African languages ​​were widely used as traditional literary languages. As a result, authors writing in English usually had a different mother tongue than Swahili, and Anglophone East African literature appeared a decade later than West African literature.

The development of Anglophone East African literature took place first and foremost around the Ugandan Kings College Budo , which became the educational center for all of East Africa, and later the Makerere College in Kampala ( Makerere University since the late 1940s ). In 1961, Rajat Neogy (1938–1995) founded the first literary magazine for sub-Saharan Africa Transition (which, however, had to move to Ghana in 1970 and to the USA in 1976). A center of the East African literary scene emerged in Kampala, which also extended to Kenya. Well-known authors who received a lot of attention were Okot p'Bitek (who became famous for the Song of Lawino written in the Nilotic Acholi ) and Taban lo Liyong , who re-translated Okot's work. Okot is considered to be the founder of a school of dramatic and sometimes comical poetry, which is deeply anchored in traditional forms of expression, but takes up modern themes. The nurse and later parliamentarian and diplomat Grace Ogot (1930-2015) was Kenya's first Anglophone writer. Her short stories and novels reflect the society and culture of the Luo on Lake Victoria as well as modernization conflicts and intra-African migration ( The Promised Land , 1966).

Magazines such as Transition were important for the dissemination of Anglophone literatures . One of the most important writers in Kenya is Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o , who already participated in the resistance against the English colonial power, was arrested under Jomo Kenyatta , now lives in American exile and is a candidate for the Nobel Prize for Literature. In prison he wrote the novel Devil on the Cross on toilet paper . He deals with African traditions in literary, essayistic and theater terms and has been publishing in Kikuyu since 1978 .

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o in the Literaturhaus Munich 2012

Mention should also be made of the socially critical novels by Meja Mwangi , whose settings are often in the slums of Nairobi ( Kill me Quick , 1973). One of the most important authors in Kenya is Charity Waciuma , who draws from the oral Kikuyu tradition and writes children's books.

Crisis and a new beginning

With the collapse of the first East African Community in 1977 and the Ugandan civil war of the 1980s, East African literature fell into a crisis, as the collapse destroyed the relatively large local book market and resulted in the closure of numerous literary magazines. Since then, Anglophone literature in East Africa has produced important individual personalities such as Nuruddin Farah , but as a whole has not been able to follow up on the 1960s and 1970s. The English-speaking writers who became famous in the 1990s have long since left their homeland. Abdulrazak Gurnah , an Indian-Arab author from Zanzibar , went into exile in England, Moyez Vassanji , an Indian-Kenyan author, went to Canada. Both deal with the experiences of migration and the Indian-African diaspora. The children Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, his son Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ (* 1971), who was born in the USA and who also teaches there, and his daughter Wanjikũ wa Ngũgĩ ( The Hypocrites , German 2014), who lives in Finland, are literary too active.

On the occasion of the unrest in Kenya in the late 2000s, Wanjohi Wa Makokha , who is very familiar with Swahili poetry, wrote a volume of poems ( Nest of Stones: Kenyan Narratives in Verse ). The Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina (1971–2019) lived temporarily in South Africa, studied, worked and taught in England, the USA and Berlin. In 2003 he founded the magazine Kwani? With this, for the first time in a long time, there was a literary magazine for Africa south of the Sahara.

The leading feminist in Uganda, the lawyer Sylvia Tamale (* 1967) was best known for her book When Hens Begin To Crow: Gender and Parliamentary Politics in Uganda (1999). In 2011 she edited the anthology African Sexualities . Today she diagnoses that Uganda's once powerful and politically groundbreaking women's movement has reached a dead end despite a parliamentary quota system and has become the pillar of the system.

Southern Africa

John M. Coetzee (* 1940)

South Africa

Until 1994

In South Africa , white authors began to publish literary works in English as early as the 19th century. Black authors followed in the 1920s and 1930s; RRR Dhlomo and his brother Herbert Isaac Ernest Dhlomo , Thomas Mofolo and Sol Plaatje created their own literature in the English language.

During the apartheid system , many authors - even under great political pressure - turned against it; others, like the novelist Alex La Guma and the poet Dennis Brutus , went abroad. Nelson Mandela's letters from prison (German 2018) document the state of emergency in society and at the same time the vitality of African traditions and history.

The trends during the apartheid period, i.e. exile literature, "black literature" with representatives such as Zakes Mda , Mongane Wally Serote and John Kani, and "white literature" with Nobel Prize winners for literature Nadine Gordimer and John M. Coetzee (who has been an Australian citizen since 2006 ) as well as the playwright Athol Fugard and André Brink and Breyten Breytenbach (who mainly write in Afrikaans ) were isolated from each other for a long time and only began to approach each other with the end of apartheid. An exception was the cooperation between Athol and John Kani, which began in the 1970s and who, in his plays, which were also performed in the USA and Australia, depicted the racist violence in his homeland, for which he was temporarily arrested and received death threats. Mark Mathabane , who comes from an extremely poor township , became known in Germany for his autobiography “Kaffern Boy - A Life in Apartheid” (1988); he emigrated to the USA.

The Market Theater in Johannesburg

In the course of apartheid in the 1970s, a form of performance poetry emerged in which people's fears and worries were processed. In 1975 the experimental Arena Theater was founded in Rosebank ( Johannesburg ), which initially mainly performed plays by European authors. In 1976 the Market Theater in Johannesburg followed, which from the start presented plays by African authors such as Athol, Kani and Zakes Mda.

Since 1994

The apartheid phase has been reviewed by many authors, including the poet and prose writer Antjie Krog with her book Country of My Skull (1998) about the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission . Miriam Mathabane (* 1969) describes the humiliation and violence she experienced in her childhood in the ghetto.

The screenwriter and director Roger Smith founded the first multi-skin film collective in South Africa. He also became known in Germany for his thriller about everyday life in South Africa, which is characterized by violence.

The novelist and playwright Damon Galgut , traumatized by cancer in his childhood , who, despite several early publications, first became known relatively late through The Good Doctor (2003), but then immediately received numerous literary prizes, discusses his illness, his travels, life in rural South Africa and male homosexuality.

Masande Ntshanga (* 1986) sets his novel The Reactive (German positive , 2018) in the milieu of young drug-consuming casual workers and sellers of illegal AIDS drugs at a time when the epidemic was still being leuigned. It shows that young people fail not only because of a lack of opportunities, but also because of themselves and their cynicism.

English-language literature by authors of Indian origin

Aziz Hassim (1935–2013) and Farida Karodia are important representatives of the English-language Indian-South African literature . Hassim describes the multicultural life in the Kasbah of Durban in his novel The Lotus People . The apartheid regime revoked Farida Karodia's passport; she emigrated to Canada, where she now temporarily lives. In her three-generation family saga Other Secrets , she addresses the everyday life of people who fell through the rough grid of ethnic classification during apartheid and whose families were divided by racial segregation.


As a pioneer of white postcolonial literature is Doris Lessing to name (1919-2013), the experience of the then Southern Rhodesia and today Zimbabwe processed for the most part only after the return migration to England 1949th Doris Lessing (1919–2013) was born in Iran as the daughter of a British officer and grew up on a farm in what was then Southern Rhodesia. Her lyrics deal with the boredom of British settlers and the misery of the local population. In 1950 she published her first novel and was best known in 1953 for An African Tragedy About an Impossible Black and White Love. She was later banned from entering Zimbabwe and South Africa as a temporary member of the English Communist Party. After its repeal, she wrote the accusing report Return to Africa (1992). In 2007 she received the Nobel Prize for Literature as an "epic female experience".

Modern written literature of the black population developed late. The novels by Stanley Nyamfukudza and Dambudzo Marechera ( The house of hunger , short stories, 1978) were shaped by the rebel movements, but view the resistance against the colonial rulers soberly and self-critically, not glorifying as in other countries. Marechera, who died at the age of 35, also described his experiences as a student in England. Just two years after the end of the war of liberation, ethnic conflicts broke out, the victim of which Christopher Mlalazi erected a literary memorial (German: “Run away with mother”, 2013). Shimmer Chinodya (* 1957), who later worked in the Zimbabwean Ministry of Education, dealt with the situation of children in war ( Children of War ). His award-winning novel Harvest of Thorns was translated into German under the title Dornenernte (1991). He also worked as a screenwriter.

Tsitsi Dangarembga was the first black Zimbabwean woman to write the novel Nervous Conditions in 1988 . Yvonne Vera (“A Woman Without a Name”, Munich 1997) dealt with the trauma of the guerrilla war in colonial Rhodesia ; she died in exile in Canada. The lawyer Petina Gappah (* 1971) wrote novels and short stories, including the historical novel From the Darkness Radiant Light (2019) about the return of the body of David Livingstone to his homeland in 1873. Kudakwashe Muzira is at home in many genres of thriller from dystopias ( Electronic gag ) to children's books ( Farai and the School Gangsters ).

Other countries in southern Africa


Malla Nunn , who emigrated to Australia with her family in the 1970s, deals in her detective novels with the consequences of the division in South African society and the political crimes of the 1950s (German: "Zeit der Finsternis", 2016).


The Namibian Helmut Kangulohi Angula wrote an autobiographical novel, also translated into German, about the time of the SWAPO's struggle for independence (“Two thousand days of Haimbodi ya Haufiku”). Joseph Diescho deals with similar topics . Neshani Andreas was a teacher at a country school; her novel The Purple Violet of Oshaantu (2001) deals with the role of women in traditional rural society.


The Zambian Dominic Mulaisho (1933–2013), who later became governor of the Bank of Zambia, wrote two novels. In The Tongue of the Dumb (1973) he describes with many turns what typically happens to a traditional village after the arrival of Europeans, including the power struggles between members of the old elite. Ellen Banda-Aaku (* 1965) writes short stories, novels and children's books and now lives in London. In Patchwork (German 2013) she describes the story of the daughter of an alcoholic second wife of a rich politician in post-colonial Zambia.


The very first collection of poems by an author from Malawi , Of Chameleons and Gods (1981) by Jack Mapanje (* 1944), aroused the displeasure of President Hastings Banda . Mapanje had to emigrate to London. Frank Chipasula (* 1949) also emigrated to the USA for political reasons. Legson Kayira (ca.1942–2012) wrote about life in the country and satirized on Banda. David Rubadiri (1930–2018), one of Africa's poets most frequently featured in anthologies, traveled an odyssey through several African countries in exile before becoming ambassador to the United Nations after Banda's death in 1997 . The poet Felix Mnthali (* 1933) taught as a professor in Botswana .

Literature in Afrikaans

The first evidence in Cape Dutch dates from the late 18th century, and book production began in the late 19th century. Some religious texts from Muslim religious schools in so-called Arabic Afrikaans, which were written in Arabic script and interspersed with Arabic words, also date from the 19th century.

1900 to 1960

The work of many authors writing in Afrikaans in the first half of the century must be viewed as extremely provincial from today's perspective. The conservative-patriotic pastor Jakob Daniël du Toit ( Totius ) wrote psalms and poems; in 1916 he opened the series of Hertzog Prize winners . In addition to his work as a writer, CJ Langenhoven was involved in the introduction of Afrikaans as the official language in South Africa in the 1920s . In the poetry of the group of the Dertigers ("thirties") Nicolaas Petrus van Wyk Louw , who also advocated other African languages, the examination of the religious tradition is reflected, which had not taken place in this form in Afrikaans before. Most of the authors, however, stuck to nationalist ideas. DJ Opperman was the most famous poet of the 1940s and 50s who wrote in Afrikaans. He received the Hertzog Prize twice for poetry and once for drama (Louw had received it five times). Also Toon van den Heever (1894-1956) was published in 1951 with the Hertzog Prize for Poetry for 1919, awarded in 1931 revised collection of poems.


Among the authors who became famous in the 1960s and 70s (the Sestigers , i.e. the "sixties") who challenged the conservative-patriarchal Boer cultural landscape and apartheid politics, Jan Rabie and Breyten Breytenbach should be mentioned in particular . Both had spent several years in France. Rabie ushered in a new period of literature in Afrikaans with his surrealist-existentialist short stories. Breytenbach, who was also influenced by surrealism, received the Hertzog Prize for poetry three times and the CNA Literary Award five times . The Sestigers rejected the apartheid policy and opened literature to new styles and topics. Breytenbach was a member of a European anti-apartheid activist group and spent seven years in South African custody after temporarily returning to his home country. After his release, he wrote The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist in 1983 .

Ingrid Jonker (photo from 1956)

Among the winners of the Hertzog Prize were also the innovator of the South African novel André Brink (once for drama, once in the novel category) and the poet Ingrid Jonker , whose poems have been translated into many languages ​​and set to music - both members of the Sestigers - as well the avant-gardist Etienne Leroux , the colored Adam Small , who was the first non-white person to receive this award, and Karel Schoeman , whose numerous novels and translations were partly written in exile in Amsterdam.

Among the prose writers born in the 1940s and 50s, Ingrid Winterbach and Deon Meyer became internationally known for their precise and satirical descriptions of various, sometimes criminal, South African milieus ( Der Atem des Jäger , 2004), among the poets Johann de Lange . In her first post-apartheid novel Triomf (1994), Marlene van Niekerk described the fate of a poor white family; she was also recognized as a poet.

Since 1994

Breytenbach temporarily returned to South Africa from exile in France; his works were subsequently translated into German more often, such as B. Dog Heart ("Mischlingsherz", German 1999), a partly cryptic-surrealistic mixture of dream and memory, anecdotes, biographies and descriptions of landscapes.

After the transition from apartheid to the enthusiastically promoted image of the rainbow nation, a more pessimistic view of the present gained ground in Afrikaans literature. André Brink's first novel at the turn of the century, Donkermaan (2000) shows that the prospect of a future in a wonderland is being given up.

Willem Anker (* 1979) stood out among the younger authors with novels and as a playwright. With him and authors such as Brink, Winterbach, Meyer, de Lange and Niekerk, Afrikaans literature is gaining in importance and quality and is now being translated into other languages ​​more often than ever before.

The Hertzog Prize is still the most important literary prize for works in Afrikaans and is awarded every year alternately in the three categories of poetry, drama and prose.

Literature in Sub-Saharan African Languages

Measured against the multitude of languages ​​spoken on the African continent - especially south of the Sahara - the literary production of the indigenous languages ​​is extremely narrow and is increasing - if at all, as in South Africa - only very slowly. This is all the more serious as Somali , Amharic , Hausa or Yoruba are languages ​​that are spoken by at least 10 to 30 million people each, but which have not become literary languages. Swahili poetry is an exception .

The reasons for the low literary production in the indigenous languages ​​are in the colonization and the resulting dominance of the use of European languages ​​by the elites, in the artificial demarcation, the dispersion of the language carriers across several states as well as in the much too much due to low purchasing power and language fragmentation narrow national book markets. In addition, indigenous literature has little chance of being received outside the region. In contrast, media like theater can also be effective in indigenous languages.

However, the indigenous languages ​​also cause serious problems for translators. Some of them have their own rhythm that can hardly be translated into European languages; sometimes they are extremely allusive due to the reference to local traditions and myths that are incomprehensible to people who did not grow up in the culture. Ulli Beier says that Yoruba is a learned language . The saying: “The worm dances, but that is its way of moving” means: “It seems that the thunder god Shango is angry with you , but he is always so quick-tempered”.

Southern Africa

In South Africa, isiXhosa , Sotho ( North and South Sotho , the latter called Sesotho ) and isiZulu became literary languages. In the early 19th century, the peoples came into contact with Europeans, who brought reading, writing and printing to South Africa. As a result, different genres emerged, with Xhosa and Zulu being subjugated and partially losing their culture, but the Basotho in Basutoland were able to maintain a cultural independence. The first indigenous authors were under the influence of the missionaries and were influenced by Christianity, but created the basis for a standardized orthography. The Christian Xhosa poet Ntsikana (approx. 1780–1821) wrote hymns , and the first black Presbyterian clergyman Tiyo Soga (1829–1871) translated the Bible and the religious work The pilgrim's progress by John Bunyan into isiXhosa.

First literary work since 1925

The book publications, which had increased since 1910, were often exposed to the censorship of the missionaries and later the language surveillance of the apartheid regime, but under the influence of the mission also noteworthy literary works appeared. The biographical novel Chaka by the teacher Thomas Mofolo from Lesotho, written in Sesotho before the First World War, became world famous in 1925 . Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi wrote the first novel in isiXhosa in 1914. In 1930 the first novel ( Insila ka Shaka , "The Servant of King Shaka") by the pastor, journalist and politician John Langalibalele Dube in isiZulu followed. Benedict Wallet Vilakazi was one of the first authors who wrote western-inspired poems and novels on isiZulu in the 1930s and 1940s and became increasingly politicized in the process . In 1946, he was the first black South African to obtain a doctorate on orally traditional Zulu literature. As a result of the apartheid policy, however, literary production in indigenous languages ​​came to a standstill after 1948.

After the end of apartheid

The establishment of a number of publishing houses and the current recognition of the African languages ​​after the end of apartheid in 1994 gave rise to hope that literature in African languages ​​would be promoted. But even in 2011, apart from school and religious books, not a single book was published in isiZulu. The reception conditions were actually favorable, as isiZulu is the only indigenous language understood by over ten million people and in which national newspapers have been printed since 1903. The author Phiwayinkosi Mbuyazi criticized the tendency to preserve and freeze the traditional “pure” isiZulu and self-published a book for young people about the encounters of teenagers with new technologies, for which 450 new words (e.g. for “environmental pollution ") developed.

Other states of southern Africa

The most important author in Lesotho was ' Masechele Caroline Ntšeliseng Khaketla (1918–2012), who published eleven books on Sesotho, including volumes of poetry. In Zimbabwe, the performer Chirikure Chirikure writes satirical poems, which he sets himself to music, in English and Shona .

In Zambia, Julius Chongo (1943–1995) wrote short stories and dramatic radio plays that poetically mix reality and fiction, in Chichewa and Nyanya, respectively . They were broadcast on the radio from 1966 to 1976 and z. T. published as books. Ernst R. Wendland translated them into English.

West Africa

Although 400 to 500 languages ​​are spoken in West Africa, only the main languages ​​have significant literary traditions. Above all , this includes Yoruba , which is spoken in Nigeria, Benin, Togo and in the diaspora. Nigeria has, without a doubt, the richest traditions of oral literature in West Africa. About 30 percent of all African languages ​​are spoken here, but many of them are endangered. The collection of oral traditions began here as early as the 19th century.

In French-speaking West Africa, oral traditions have been collected, documented and translated since the 1920s, and to a greater extent only since the 1960s. But in the Anglophone countries today far more writings are published in African languages ​​than in the Francophone, in which the school system of the colonial times was based on the idea of ​​an assimilation of the African elite. The absolute pioneer in the distribution of literature in African languages ​​is Nigeria with the three major languages ​​Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo.

The first Bible in Yoruba in Badgary

The Yoruba had developed urban cultures and a complex metaphysical-mythological system even before the colonial era. The city of Ife , seat of the spiritual leader of all Yoruba, is considered the starting point of the Yoruba culture. Numerous myths and fairy tales, including the creation myth of the Yoruba in various variants, found their way into Yoruba literature. This developed in the 19th century when the Christian Yoruba showed an early interest in western education. Samuel Ajayi Crowther (approx. 1809-1891) was the first native Anglican bishop of Nigeria. He published grammar, vocabulary and prayer books in Yoruba and initiated a translation of the Bible. In 1875, local missionaries standardized orthography to distribute religious texts. Numerous collections of poetry have been made in Yoruba since 1886.

In Lagos, under the influence of English and Portuguese, as well as the influence of the Patois of Sierra Leone, a special dialect developed that differed significantly from the dialects of rural areas. The first novel in this dialect and in Yoruba in general, Itan-Igbesi Aiye Emi Segilola ( The Life History of Me, Segilola ) about the life of a prostitute by Isaac B. Thomas , appeared in 1929 as a serialized novel in 30 episodes in a newspaper in Lagos, combined with the call for donations for the first-person narrator. In the realistic book, which reports many details about the Lagos of the 1920s, the various linguistic influences and the peculiarities of oral urban language use are reflected. In the new editions published as a book, the style was also "literaryized" under the influence of the language of the Bible. This book, which was published 15 times between 1929 and 2012, was followed by The Forest of a Thousand Daemons (1938) by Daniel Olorumfemi Fagunwa (1903–1963). The magical-folkloric adventure novel full of full rhetoric and the main character of the legendary Yoruba hunter Akara-ogung is considered to be the first comprehensive book in Yoruba. It was reprinted many times and translated into English by Wole Soyinka in 1968. In his five novels, two of which deal with pre-colonial society and the other with colonial influences on Yoruba society, both traditional Yoruba and Christian values ​​are upheld.

Duro Lapido (1931–1978), son of an Anglican clergyman, was a playwright who wrote exclusively in Yoruba and in his plays, in which he played himself, processed the old myths, fairy tales and stories from Christian, Islamic or Yorubian traditions. Another important playwright of the Yoruba folk theater (the Yoruba Opera ) was Hubert Ogunde (1916–1990), who also wrote these pieces, which were always linked to music, in English. The politician Afolabi Olabimtan (1932–2003) also wrote novels in Yoruba. Wole Soyinka translated many Yoruba texts into English.


The Igbo have made a relatively small contribution to Nigerian literature so far . Pita (Peter) Nwana (approx. 1881-1968) wrote the first short novel in Igbo in 1933 ( Omenuko ; 1935, 1999). It is a historical tale about a poor boy who becomes a wealthy merchant and supreme chief, but sells his apprentices as slaves to compensate for the loss of goods and still becomes impoverished. His name Omenuko means " Who can achieve something when wealth is rare". Initially, efforts to promote literature in Igbo remained largely unsuccessful for a long time, especially since Chinua Achebe achieved his great success in 1958 with Things Fall Apart in English . Achebe also refused to use the standard Igbo. It wasn't until the 1970s that some novelists emerged like Tony Ubesie , who died early in 1993.

The palace gate in Zaria, an intellectual center of Islam in northern Nigeria

The Hausa in northern Nigeria, Niger and Chad were shaped more by Islam than by Western influences. Their literature is far less extensive than that of the Yoruba, but reaches back to Usman dan Fodio and the Sokoto Caliphate , that is, to the late 18th century. The early works were written in Ajami , a variant of Arabic script. The journalist and poet Abubakar Imam (1911–1981) published the first Hausa newspaper Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo in Zaria since 1941 . Many modern novels written in Hausa are written by women (so-called Kano Market Literature ). B. the more than 30 books by Hafsat Abdul Waheed (* 1952), the romance novels by Balaraba Ramat Yakubu (* 1959) or the works of Lubabah Ya'u.


The Tuareg poetry has survived orally, especially in Niger. Many of the songs still widespread today deal with the founding hero of the Tuareg, Amamella or Aniguran , and his family. The songs are thematically diverse and thematize fight, honor, love and dromedaries; they are template-like, constructed according to strict rules, but emotionally intensive and serve for direct communication. The songs are mostly accompanied by instruments. Since the Tamascheq , which is spoken by around two million people, has developed a standard orthography in Niger and Mali, it has become an important means of expressing a cross-border cultural Tuareg identity.

Other languages

Djéliba Badjé , Nouhou Malio and Koulba Baba were Nigerian professional storytellers ( Djesserés ) who recited old epics from the time of the Songhai Empire in Zarma . Some of their stories have been preserved in sound recordings or transcripts.

The Ewe spoken in the south of Togo (and Ghana) was already codified in the German colonial period; but the standard ewe, the official national language of Togo, is not the most commonly spoken variant. Due to the early trade contacts with Europe, the first texts were printed in Ewe early on in this region. Sam Obiadim wrote the first novel in Ewe in 1846.

The Twi and Fante languages spoken in Ghana have also become literary languages. For Francophone West Africa there is also written literature in the languages ​​Bamanankan ( Bambara ), Dyula, Fula ( Fulfulde ) and Wolof .

East Africa

The beginning of the epic Utendi wa Tambuka , 19th century manuscript in Arabic script

The classic Islamic Swahili poetry, predominant on the coast of Kenya , dates back to the 17th century. She became known in Germany through the discovery of Chuo cha Herkal (Book of Herkal) by a German missionary in 1850, which was published in 1912 by Carl Gotthilf Büttner . Classical Swahili poetry, based on Arab models, dealt with religious themes, historical events or heroic deeds such as the life of Muhammad or the Arab-Byzantine and Ottoman-Byzantine wars, as they were for the entire period from 628 to 1453 in the verse Utendi wa Tambuka (1728) by Mwengo bin Athumani on behalf of the Sultan of Godfather . Swahili poetry was written in Arabic script until the 19th century. Important poets were Aidarusi bin Athumani , who lived at the end of the 17th century, and Sayyid Abdul bin Nassir , who wrote poems and funeral chants at the beginning of the 19th century. In the 20th century, the tradition of Swahili poetry was maintained by Sheik Shaaban bin Robert (1909–1962).

Modern novels in Swahili did not emerge until the 1960s in Kenya ( Abdilatif Abdalla ) and especially in Tanzania, where Ebrahim Hussein's first play in Swahili appeared. A popular Tanzanian novelist was Muhammed Said Abdulla , who overcame Swahili literature's fixation on folkloric subjects and wrote modern detective novels in the 1960s to 1980s .


In Uganda , the first books on religious topics and the history of the Buganda Kingdom on Luganda were published at the beginning of the 20th century . In the 1960s, Luganda was more widely used as a literary language than other languages ​​in the region. One of the most important promoters of this development was Michael B. Nsimbi (1910–1994).

Other languages

The Ugandan Okot p'Bitek wrote the poem Wer pa Lawino (“Lawinos Lied”) in Acholi in 1966 , a country housewife's complaint about the westernization of her husband with several thousand metric verses before he translated it into English. Like the Kenyan Grace Ogot, he wrote not only in English but also in Luo .

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o signs books in London

The Kenyan Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o often writes his works in Kikuyu before they are translated, or translates his English works in Kikuyu. Today he lives in exile in the USA.

Nuruddin Farah published the first novella in 1973 in Somali , a language whose orthography had only been standardized the year before. Despite his long exile in many African countries, the scene of his other works, which he wrote in English, is his homeland Somalia and one of his topics is the situation of refugees and especially women.

Lusophone literature

The Portuguese language is spoken in Angola , Mozambique , Guinea-Bissau , Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe , the former colonies of Portugal . The development of an autochthonous literature was just as slow as the abolition of slavery or forced labor and the introduction of the school system. The autochthons only enjoyed civil rights when they could write and read, which (with the exception of the Cape Verde Islands) was deliberately delayed. In Angola, earlier than in Mozambique, a national literature of authors of different skin colors developed. In Lisbon itself, an association of emigrants, influenced by the pan-African movement, developed around the magazine O Negro (1911).


The first printing press in Luanda was installed in 1845. The volume of poems Espontaneidades da minha alma by José da Silva Maia Ferreira , which was published in Luanda in 1849, is considered the first work in Angolan literature . Ferreira belonged to the Creole society that developed the Angolanidade literary movement . This movement is thematized in the novels of O segredo da morta (1929) by António de Assis Júnior to A gloriosa familía (1997) by Pepetela (Artur Prestana) and forms the central theme of Angolan literature. Óscar Ribas (1909-2004) wrote his novels with the ethnologist and linguist's eye on traditional Angolan myths and stories. But even middle-class authors of African descent hardly succeeded in breaking the Eurocentric view. It was only with the founding of the magazine Mensagem by Agostinho Neto in response to the phase of paralysis from 1920 to 1940 by increasing colonialist repression that a literary and later also political spirit of optimism began, which led to the independence movement MPLA .

Important works of the struggle for independence were the socially critical Camaxilo trilogy (from 1949) by Castro Soromenho and the novel Mayombe (1980) by Pepetela. Pepetela was an active guerrilla fighter for the MPLA, and Neto became the first president after independence in 1975. Many works by Luandino Vieira , who immigrated to the poor districts of Luanda from Portugal and who also fought against colonial rule, were written in prison. He used elements of the Kimbundu , the local Bantu dialect of the Luanda area. He turned down the Prémio Camões , which was awarded to him in 2006 .

Since 1985, Pepetala and other authors such as Manuel dos Santos Lima (* 1935) reckoned with the corruption and incompetence of the regime and its main characters and turned back to Angolan history. José Eduardo Agualusa , who uses postmodern narrative modes, is also one of the social writers .

Until about 1980 women were an exception in Angolan literature; one of them was the poet Alda Lara . Since then the number of female authors has risen: Ana Paula Tavares (* 1952), author of many poetry and prose volumes, now lives in Portugal. Ana de Santana and Amélia da Lomba , with their sentimental and fearful style, are considered to be representatives of the “generation of uncertainties” ( Geração das Incertezas ). Cremilda de Lima and the late Gabriela Antunes mainly wrote children's books.


(only until 1964)

The beginnings

The stratum of Assimilados in Mozambique was narrower than in the other Portuguese colonies due to an even more rigorous colonization. In the 1920s, the first literary works were created around an urban class of assimilated intellectuals. Mainly through the establishment of magazines ( O Africano , O Brado Africano ), a literary scene developed which broke away from colonial literature in the course of the 1930s and 1940s.

In the 1950s the theme of the Moçambicanidade dominated . This meant the increased focus on an African identity, which was supposed to replace a missing national culture. Outstanding authors were the poet Noémia de Sousa, who was descended from Portuguese, Africans and Indians, and the mulatto José Craveirinha, who was influenced by Négritude, and Luís Bernardo Honwana ( Nós matamos o cão-tinhoso , 1964). Increasingly, writers who were critical of the repressive colonial system were arrested. Craveirinha was in solitary confinement for four years. The most important literary prize in Mozambique, the Prémio José Craveirinha de Literatura , was later named after him. De Sousa had to go into exile to Lisbon and later to Paris; her poems from around 1950 were only published in 2001.

Mia Couto (2006)


With the beginning of the War of Independence in 1964, literature entered a nationalist and militant phase. After independence in 1975, Mozambican literature changed again. After poetry had dominated for a long time (e.g. in the work of Orlando Mendes , which was influenced by neorealism ), narrative works have been published continuously since the 1980s in which the authors dealt with more personal and intimate topics and developed their own language. The civil war, which raged from 1976 to 1992, had a major impact on literature . Its history and that of the colonial wars were examined by the historian João Paulo Borges Coelho (* 1955), who also wrote numerous novels.


Paulina Chiziane (2008)

Suleiman Cassano (* 1962), Paulina Chiziane (* 1955), some of whose work has been translated into German, Ungulani Ba Ka , are important contemporary Mozambican authors, in whom the authors set themselves apart from the idealistic and propagandistic models of the time of struggle Khosa (* 1957), Mia Couto , who tries to distance himself from “European” realism and orientates himself on Brazilian authors and magical realism , and Lília Momplé . More and more women and voices from rural Mozambique have their say. The outstanding lyric poet Paulo Teixeira (* 1962) now lives in Portugal. Nelson Saúte edited several anthologies of work by Mozambican authors.

Mozambican Portuguese is characterized by numerous anglicisms that were adopted from neighboring South Africa and by Bantuismen or hybrid formations with lexemes of indigenous languages. At least one Mozambican novel was written by the linguistics professor Bento Sitoe (* 1947) in an autochthonous language, namely in Xironga or Xitsonga .

Cape Verde

Colonial times

In Cape Verde , in addition to the official language Portuguese, the mixed language Cape Verdean Creole ( Crioulo , Kriolu) is spoken in several variants, which is the first language for most residents. Among the Portuguese colonies, the melting pot of the small Cape Verde Islands was the first to produce indigenous literature in Portuguese and Creole.

The romantic novel O esclavo (1856) by José Evaristo de Almeida paints the picture of Cape Verdean society around the middle of the 19th century. Pedro Monteiro Cardoso and Eugénio Tavares wrote poetry in crioulo , which was fixed in writing at the end of the 19th century. In Kriolu, the writers Eugénio Tavares and Pedro Cardoso, who were influenced by the idea of ​​pannativism, first published collections of poetry in the 1930s; Folk culture songs were also collected in Kriolu. Kriolu has not yet become the literary language for prose works.

Baltasar Lopes da Silva on a Cape Verdean 500 escudo banknote

Writers like Baltasar Lopes da Silva (1907–1996), Jorge Barbosa (1902–1971) and Manuel Mendes Lopes were influenced by literary movements in Brazil . After 1936 they published poems and short stories in the magazine Claridade, mostly in Portuguese. The famous short story O enterro de nhâ Candinha Sena (1957) by António Aurélio Gonçalves also appeared there . The Claridade movement demanded recognition of a Creole identity and became one of the roots of the independence movement, from which Amilcar Cabral , who lived for a time in Cape Verde, also emerged.

The only novel by Baltasar Lopes da Silva, Chiquinho (1947), remained groundbreaking for Cape Verdean literature for a long time. The tropical doctor Henrique Teixeira de Sousa (1919–2006) also emerged as a prose author ; he later emigrated to Portugal.

The founder of the Claridade , Manuel Mendes Lopes, claimed that the Cape Verdean culture and the Creole dialects were divided into two ethnically differentiated groups: that of the Sanpadjudus , who were culturally oriented towards Europe , the inhabitants of the cultural center of São Vicente , and those of the more African-oriented Badíus , the resident of the economic center of Santiago . This differentiation, however, often contested by ethnologists, who see it as more variable constructions of identity that disappear in the diaspora, was accompanied by a regional rivalry, the importance of which decreased in the 1950s.

At that time the movement of the Africanidade arose , which turned away from Portugal and turned to Africa. Since the 1960s the problems of the islands such as drought, isolation and emigration have been discussed; During this time, Portuguese took on more and more Creole elements and the authors turned against colonial rule. An important champion of Cape Verdean literature was Ovídio Martins , who emigrated to the Netherlands. His and the work of other militant Cape Verdean authors have been published mainly in Angola and Brazil.

Since independence

Creole became an important medium of militant poetry during the struggle for independence; However, the first major prose work in 1987 was not published until crioulo of Manuel Veiga .

Ovídio Martins and the authors of the post-colonial period continued to seek rapprochement with Africa. In 1977 the magazine Raîzes (roots) was founded, which stood for this movement. The lawyer Germano Almeida , today's best-known author, exposes the hypocrisy of Cape Verdean morality in his humorous, sometimes autobiographical novels: A morte do meu poeta (1998) is considered the first national novel of Cape Verde, which became independent in 1975. O testamento do Senhor Napomuceno da Silva Araújo (1989) was also translated into German (“Das Testament des Herr Napumoceno” 1997, new edition 2014).

The poet and journalist Arménio Vieira was the first Cape Verdean poet to receive the Prémio Camões in 2009 . The second Cape Verdean award winner is Germano Almeida (2018).

The book editions are still very small, new editions are very rare. Despite attempts to upgrade it after independence, the status of the Kriolu is precarious and standardization has not yet taken place. More than 20 percent of the population are illiterate.

Sao Tome and Principe

The first African Portuguese poet, Caetano da Costa Alegre, came from São Tomé and Príncipe . Another poet and representative of neorealism was José Francisco Tenreiro . Like da Costa Alegre, he studied in Portugal and wrote an essay on the emergence of negro-American, Cuban and Brazilian models ( Acerca da literatura “negra” ). His volumes of poetry Ilha de santo nome (1942) and Coraçao em Africa (1964) are also associated with the Négritude. The politically motivated poets Alda do Espírito Santo and Maria Manuela Margarido were both imprisoned by the Portuguese secret police PIDE during the colonial period . The poet Conceição Lima could also be heard in Germany in 2013. Sum Marky (1921–2003) became known as a novelist , who had already addressed colonial oppression in the 1960s. Sacramento Neto has published numerous short novels since the beginning of the 21st century .

Attempts to establish the creole language Forro (originally the language of the freed slaves) or Saotomense as a literary language (first in poetry by Fâchiku [Francisco] Stockler, 1834–1881) have remained unsuccessful to this day.


The novel Auá: Novela negra by Fausto Duarte (1903–1953), who was born in Cape Verde, was published in 1934 and belongs to the genre of colonial literature. The written culture in Guinea-Bissao as well as the literature of the freedom struggle of the 1960s and 1970s was closely linked to that of the Cape Verde Islands. An important recent author was the future Minister of Defense Hélder Proença .

Recent Trends in African Literatures

If the pan-Africanism of the negation has long been a mere memory, the following epoch did not lead to the formation of new cultural areas and literary traditions in view of almost 60 states and many hundred autochthonous languages ​​of Africa. The demarcation of borders was too artificial for that, the intra-African migration too chaotic, the pull of Europe, the USA and Canada too strong. Since 1990, literature has been based more and more on the global and migration experiences of writers, who find better publication opportunities outside of Africa and, increasingly, readers from the African diaspora . More and more transcultural elements flow into literary production.

Conversely, new trends from the USA and Europe are influencing African literature, which no longer wants to orient itself towards the old Western models. The influences of hip-hop from the USA are noticeable in the poetry. In modern performances literature, spoken word, dance and video merge. African literary festivals or cultural days in London, Frankfurt, Vienna, Bayreuth ( Festival of African and African-Diasporic Literatures ) and other cities attract numerous participants. Modern authors maintain a sophisticated writing style, reflect on their language and subvert traditional narrative methods, whereby the boundaries between the fictional and the biographical often blur.

The theater plays a major role, especially in multicultural African cities with their many migrants. Gestures and facial expressions facilitate the understanding of the language and only a few printed texts are required for the distribution of the pieces through performances. At the theater festival founded in Lagos in 2013 alone, numerous groups perform annually; There are 140 performances in 2019. The diverse theater scene in Johannesburg is also significant, as it has an impact on Anglophone and Francophone theater in the rest of Africa.

If African authors do not want to emigrate, they often still have to rely on government offices, UNESCO scholarships or university teaching positions to support themselves. The book market is tight and there are many more readers than books are sold. So these have to circulate several times. There is insufficient translation capacity for books that are not written in English, French or Portuguese.

Book fairs and literary prizes

The Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF), which has been held in the capital Harare since 1983 , has been a major international book fair . After the then President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe , rejected the presence of homosexuals at the book fair, calls for the book fair to be relocated to Cape Town in South Africa were raised. In fact, the Cape Town Book Fair was opened in June 2006 in cooperation with the Frankfurt Book Fair . The International South African Education, Training, School Supplies and Book Market Exhibition was previously held in Johannesburg . Other book fairs have been held in Lagos (Nigeria, since 1994), Accra (Ghana, since 1996) and Lusaka (Zambia); an international children's book fair has been organized in Lomé ( Togo ) since 1992, and a pan-African children's book fair since 1992 in Nairobi (Kenya).

Internationally renowned prizes include the Grand Prix littéraire de l'Afrique noire for francophone and the African Commonwealth Writers Prize for Anglophone literature. Another well-known literary prize is the Noma Prize for African Literature for books published by African publishers, which has been donated by Kodansha since 1980 , for the first time to Mariama Bâ . The Tchicaya-U-Tam'si-Prize is awarded for African (also Arabic) poetry . In Germany, the LiBeraturpreis honors women writers from Africa alongside Asia and Latin America.

So far, the Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to three writers and one writer from Africa:

year Surname nationality
1986 Wole Soyinka Nigeria
1988 Nagib Mahfuz Egypt
1991 Nadine Gordimer South Africa
2003 John Maxwell Coetzee South Africa

See also




  • Eckhard Breitinger : The literature of Black Africa in English , in: Kindlers new literature lexicon, Munich 1996, vol. 20. pp. 258-269.
  • Eckhard Breitinger: The literature of South Africa in English , in: Kindlers new literature lexicon, Munich 1996, Vol. 20. P. 270-280.
  • János Riesz: The literatures of Black Africa in French , in: Kindlers new literature lexicon, Munich 1996, vol. 20. pp. 1035-1045.
  • Ilse Pollack: The Portuguese-Language Literature of Africa. In: Kindlers new literature lexicon, Vol. 20, Munich 1996, pp. 90-93.
  • Jozef Deleu: The literature in Afrikaans , in: Kindlers new literature lexicon, Munich 1996, Bd. 20. S. 197-202.
  • Fritz Peter Kirsch: Literatures of the Maghreb in French , in: Kindlers new literature lexicon, Munich 1996, vol. 20. pp. 1046-1051.
  • Manfred Loimeier : Exchange of words. Conversations with African authors. Horlemann, Bad Honnef 2002.
  • Holger Ehling, Peter Ripken: The literature of black Africa. Munich 1997. (Authors in individual portraits)
  • Almut Seiler-Dietrich : Words are totems. Heidelberg 1995.
  • Almut Seiler-Dietrich: Interpret Africa. (24 individual works by African authors and an overview of 20th century African literature.)

Overall representations

  • OR Dathome: African Literature in the Twentieth Century. University of Minnesota Press, 1975.
  • Albert S. Gerard (Ed.): European-language Writing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Amsterdam, Philadelphia 1986.
  • Janheinz Jahn : History of Neo-African Literature . Düsseldorf 1965.
  • Hjördis Jendryschik: African forms of storytelling. Specific characteristics of the Francophone novel of Black Africa. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1991, ISBN 3-631-43570-3 .
  • Tibor Keszthelyi: African literature: attempting an overview . From d. Hungarian. trans. by Péter Lieber. Aufbau-Verl., Berlin 1981.
  • Kesteloot Lilyan: Histoire de la litterature negro-africaine . Karthala, Paris 2001, ISBN 2-84586-112-5 . (French)
  • Rainer Strzolka: Libraries in Africa . In: library. Research and Practice 23.1999.2, 157–194.
  • Rainer Strzolka: Libraries in Oral Cultures: The Example of Africa . 2nd edition in two volumes. Koechert, Hanover 2000.
  • Abiola Irele, Simon Gikandi (Eds.): The Cambridge history of African and Caribbean literature . 2 volumes. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge 2004, ISBN 0-521-59434-0 .
  • Markus Kessel: "Making Africans out of negroes". The mediation of Sub-Saharan African literatures in German translation since the late 1970s. SAXA Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-939060-27-7 . Table of Contents



  • Gerald Moore, Ulli Beier: The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry. Penguin Books, 1998. (Poems from 60 years by 99 authors from 27 countries; English)
  • Margaret Busby (Ed.): Daughters of Africa : An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent from the Ancient Egyptian to the Present . London: Jonathan Cape, 1992. ISBN 978-0224035927 . (Texts by over 200 women authors from Africa and the African diaspora; English)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Riesz 1996, p. 1035.
  2. "African Literature" and Postcolonialism: Still in the Dark. in: Tagesspiegel, September 5, 2017.
  3. ^ Nathan Nunn: Historical Legacies: A Model Linking Africa's Past to its Current Underdevelopment. In: Journal of Development Economics. 2007; 83 (1), pp. 157-175.
  4. : Marie-Sophie Adeoso can write about you many things. In:, February 23, 2017.
  5. Toyin Falola, Ann Genova (Ed.): Yoruba Creativity: Fiction, Language, Life and Songs. Africa World Press. Trenton NJ and Asmara 2005.
  6. ^ Janheinz Jahn: Muntu. Outlines of Neo-African Culture. Düsseldorf 1958, Chapter 7: Hantu
  7. Charles Smith, Chin Che (Ed.): African Rhythms: New Approaches to Literature. 2014. ISBN 978-978-37085-9-4 .
  8. ( Memento from February 15, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  9. See also the summary in Alfred Hermann: The ancient Egyptian literature. In: Kindlers new literature lexicon, vol. 20. Munich 1996, pp. 867-876
  10. Hermann 1996, p. 871.
  11. ^ Coptic language in
  12. Julius Assfalg: The Christian literatures of the Orient. In: Kindlers Neues Literatur-Lexikon, Vol. 20. Munich 1996, pp. 931–939, here: p. 934.
  13. Universal Lexicon: Ethiopian Literature
  14. ^ Otto Rössler: The Berber literature. In: Kindler's new literary lexicon. Vol. 20. Munich 1996, pp. 944-948.
  15. Abdenour Abdesselam: Ssi Mouhand Oumhand en Kabylie et Charles Baudelaire en France. Algiers 2005
  16. Vermondo Brugnatelli: Mi Spezzo ma non mi piego. La poesia di Si Mohand Ou-Mhand (1849-1905). Turin 2016
  17. Stephen Graham Wright: Ethiopian Literature on
  18. Maria Höfner: The Tigrē literature. In: Kindlers Neues Literatur-Lexikon , Munich 1988, Volume 19, pp. 940-943.
  19. Georg Glasze: Francophonie - “neocolonial project” or “protective wall for cultural diversity”? ( Memento from February 18, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Geographische Rundschau 5/2013, University of Erlangen, p. 50 f. (Pdf)
  20. La Grande Maison , L'Incendie , Le Métier à tisser , 1952–1957.
  21. Review on Deutschlandfunk , December 6, 2004.
  22. Kirsch 1996, p. 1050.
  23. Kirsch 1996, p. 1049.
  24. Littératures francophones , Valencia 1996, pp. 125 ff. [1]
  25. ↑ Portrait of the author ( Memento from February 15, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  26. Abdelkader Aoudjit: Algerian literature: A reader's guide and anthology. (= Francophone cultures and literatures, Vol. 66). Peter Lang, New York 2017, p. 58.
  27. Alain Ricar: Naissance du roman africain: Félix Couchoro, 1900-1968. Editions Présence Africaine, Paris 2000.
  28. Ries 1996, p. 1036.
  29. Not to be confused with the filmmaker Bakary Diallo .
  30. János Riesz, Aija Bjornson: The "Tirailleur Sénégalais" Who Did Not Want to Be a "Grand Enfant": Bakary Diallo's "Force Bonté" (1926) Reconsidered. In: Research in African Literatures , Vol. 27, No. 4 (1996), pp. 157-179.
  31. ^ Definition quoted in: Janheinz Jahn: History of Neo-African Literature. Düsseldorf 1966
  32. Hans-Jürgen Lüsebrink: Writing, books and reading in the French-language literature of Africa: On the perception and function of writing and reading books in a cultural epochal change. Berlin 2017, p. 45 ff.
  34. 9th edition at Presses Universitaires de France 2015.
  35. Published in German as: Adler und Lilie in Kamerun: Life report of an African. Erdmann, Herrenalb 1966.
  36. ^ Albert S. Gérard: European-language Writing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Part 1, John Benjamin Publishing 1986, p. 574 ff.
  37. ^ Website of the publisher ( Memento from March 1, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  38. Aissatou Bouba-Folle: The Theater in Francophone Africa , on, December 5, 2005.
  39. Center for Creative Arts, University of Kwazulu-Natal 2014
  40. ^ German: Horlemann Verlag, Berlin 2013.
  41. FM Mujila: Tram 83 , German edition Vienna 2016.
  42. ^ German edition: Horlemann Verlag, Berlin 2014
  43. Laura Barton: I want to expose the dangers of the immigration dream. In: The Guardian , September 9, 2015.
  44. Dirk Göttsche, Axel Dunker, Gabriele Dürbeck (eds.): Handbook Postkolonialismus und Literatur. Springer Verlag, 2017, p. 8.
  45. Jérôme Garcin: "Dérangé que je suis": Ali Zamir revitalize la langue française. In: Bibliops, January 22, 2019.
  46. Review on
  48. E. Breitinger 1996, p. 258 f.
  49. Karl-Heinz Stoll: The interculturality of African literature: Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Wole Soyinka. Münster 2003, p. 14.
  50. ^ Bernth Lindfors: Critical Perspectives on Amos Tutuola. Washington, DC 1975, p. 41.
  51. ↑ In addition biographical information in an anthology of Nigerian literature from the 1950s to the early 1970s: Modern Narrators of the World: Nigeria. Editing: Cyprian Ekwensi, Albert von Haller, Tübingen 1973.
  52. Albert S. Gérard (Ed.) European-language Writing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Chapter IX: Nigeria, p. 629 ff., Here: p. 728 f.
  53. ^ The Nation (Nigeria) online April 15, 2017
  54. The Telegraph , September 22, 2013, online: [2]
  55. Short biography on the University of Ibadan website
  56. ^ Cameroon on the website of the Goethe Institute
  57. E. Breitinger 1996, p. 258
  58. Published in Mankon, Bamenda (Cameroon) 2010.
  59. Simone Schlindwein: Hens in Power: Africa's Feminism in Crisis on, September 21, 2016.
  60. ^ On South African-Indian literature, see Ronit Frenkel: Reconsiderations: South African Indian Fiction and the Making of Race in Postcolonial Culture. Unisa Press (University of South Africa) 2010, ISBN 978-1-86888-548-0 .
  61. Birgit Koß: Three generations of women in Africa ,, February 11, 2014.
  62. For the history see Afrikaans literature on
  63. ^ Translated from Christopher B. Balme: Theater in the postcolonial era: Studies on theater syncretism in English-speaking countries. De Gruyther, 2013, p. 124.
  64. Authors in Africa: Writer aims to revive Zulu literature , accessed July 28, 2015.
  65. Pocheza m'Madzulo: Some Chinyanja Radio Plays of Julius Chongo (with English translation). University of Zambia Press, Öuksaka 2004.
  66. BW Andrzejewski, p Pilaszewicz, W. Tyloch: Literatures in African Languages: Theoretical Issues and Sample Surveys. Cambridge University Press 1985.
  67. Friedrich Becker: African fairy tales. Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag. Frankfurt am Main 1969.
  68. Karin Barber (Ed.): Introduction to Print Culture and the First Yoruba Novel: IB Thomas's 'Life Story of Me, Segilola' and Other Texts. Leiden 2002, p. 66 ff.
  69. ^ Columbia University website
  70. Laurence Rivaille, Pierre-Marie Decoudras: Contes et légendes Touaregs du Niger. Des hommes et des djinns. Paris 2003.
  71. Thomas A. Hale: Scribe, Griot, and Novelist: Narrative Interpreters of the Songhay Empire. Followed by The Epic of Askia Mohammed Recounted by Nouhou Malio. University of Florida Press, Gainesville 1990, ISBN 0-8130-0981-2 .
  72. Jan Knappert: Traditional Swahili Poetry. Leiden 1967.
  73. Abdullahi A. Osman: A little man with a big name. In: 38/2011.
  74. Nicolas Freund: Immured in Ironie , in:, September 1, 2017.
  75. ^ German edition: "We killed the mangy dog", Stuttgart 1980.
  76. Jelena Adel: Green entanglements: nature conservation and politics of belonging in Cape Verde. Münster 2017, p. 67 ff.
  77. ^ Albert S. Gérard (ed.): European-language Writing in Sub-Saharan Africa. John Benjamin Publishing, 1986, p. 417.
  78. ^ Website of the 10th (digital) festival 2020
  79. Program of the Lagos Theater Festival at