Cover Texts Bayreuth African Studies 51 - 60


Bayreuth African Studies 51

Ingrid Rissom (ed.)
Languages and Communication in East Africa


Multilinguism is a common phenomenon in Africa: there is hardly one country where only one language is spoken, but there are many countries where various types of mixtures of languages can be heard. There are the mother tongues for communication within the family and with the people of the same origin, there is the official language of bureaucracy and there may also be the language of school education, which more often than not is the former colonial language. There may be other languages spoken by various groups of people within one country like Kisuahili, which also functions as means of international communication, and there may be sociolects of different age- and/or professional groups like e.g. in Kenya Sheng or Engsh.

Which is the language one should use to communicate with neighbours, which with teachers, which with foreigners from your own country, which with foreigners from other countries? Which is the language people feel at ease with, in which do they express their feelings, which is the language of the literature they like to read? How does the daily mixture of languages around us affect us, in the language(s) we speak, in our choice of words, in our feeling towards the languages?

The papers in this volume discuss the multilingual situation in Africa under various aspects like language shift, language borrowing, language interference, creative language mix, transfer of language patterns and last not least the psychological effect of this language mix on the people who go through this experience.





Bayreuth African Studies 52

Ulli Beier (ed.)
A Dreaming Life. An Autobiography of Twins Seven-Seven


Twins Seven-Seven tells his story in gutsy, very Nigerian English, and he is disarmingly honest in describing his own activities and motives. The book is more than an autobiography: It mirrors those years of hope and creative fervour often called Nigeria's cultural renaissance.

















Bayreuth African Studies 53

Gyimah Labi
Theoretical Issues in African Music


Theoretical Issues in African Music addresses teachers, students, and performers. It shows how composers strike a balance between old and new, tradition and modernization and it reveals how vital analytical techniques are for an understanding and the acquisition of the principles of composition.

"... Gyimah Labi covered many innovative theoretical and analytical ideas in this text." - Daniel Avorgbedor

"there are many innovative theoretical and analytical idesas covered in this text." - Daniel Avorgbedor











Bayreuth African Studies 54

Ambroise Kom (ed.)
Mongo Beti Parle


Sur la scène politique camerounaise, dans le mileux littéraires et intellectuels africains, Mongo Beti est presque entré dans la légende tant son écriture et les opinions qu'il émet suscitent débats et controverses. Polémiste redoutable, pamphlétaire infatigable, farouchement camerounais mais très français d'usage, travailleur acharné, profondément généreux, il est perçu comme intolérant et comme amateur des causes extrêmes. L'homme en tant que demeure passablement inconnu à cause de ses années d'exil et surtout de la distance qu'il avait dû créer entre lui et quiconque cherchait à l'approcher, par crainte des pièges et des persécutions diverses. Le présent entretien voudrait montrer l'homme tel qu'en lui-même, avec ses ambiguïtés, ses paradoxes mais aussi son attachment viscéral à l'Afrique, au Cameroun et à son coin de pays, au terroir natal.

Ambroise Kom a enseigné les littératures africaines, africaines-américains et caraïbes dans des universités aux USA, auf Canada, au Maroc et au Cameroun. Il a également été professeur invité en Allemagne, en France et en Afrique du Sud. Il a dirigé plusieurs collectifs et publié des livres sur Chester Himes, George Lamming et les enjeux culturels de la condition postcoloniale en Afrique.



"...an important portrait of one of the leading writers and intellectuals of West Africa" - Adele King in World Literature Today (2002)

"...cet ouvrage offre de nombreuses cles pour la comprehension de l'homme, de son oeuvre, de son itineraire, de ses combats, de ses obsessions. Il s'agit en definitve d'un ouvrage dont ne pourra plus probablement se passer aucune recherche consacre a Mongo Beti et qui se veut serieuse." - Andre Ntonfo in Le Messager (Cameroon, 26 Dec. 2001)

"Beti addresses us in these last words in provocative terms that are however informed by a deep sense of commitment to the material, moral and spiritual welfare of African peoples." - Abio Irele in Research in African Literatures

"... ce texte est présenté comme une contribution à la densification de l'histoire des idées en Afrique. Mongo Beti Parle nous donne à découvrir un homme constamment sur le qui-vive, cultivant la méfiance en vertue de son statut de dérangeur." - Lionel Manga in Etudes littéraires Africaines 13 (2002)

"... sur le plan épistomologique, cette interview est une vrai boucle. L'ouvrage renferme de nombreuses informations bénéfiques aux chercheurs sur la politique et la géopolitique camerounaise, les relations Nord-Sud, la conception betienne de l'écriture..." - Cécile Dolisane-Ebosse in Dalhousie French Studies 61 (2002)




Bayreuth African Studies 55

Tirop Peter Simatei
The Novel and the Politics of Nation Building in East Africa


Ujama socialism in Tanzania, Comprador capitalism in Kenya, military fascism in Uganda propagated different national ideologies. Politicians, historians and writers discuss and narrate the Nation controversially. Tirop P. Simatei envisages the plurality of perspectives further by analysing the works of indigenous African writers like Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Kibera, or Serumaga, the Malawian expatriate Rubadiri and the Asian writers Nazareth and Vassanji.

With Mary Okurut, Margaret Ogola and Oludhe MacGoye he presents a feminist reading of the Nation and history. The plurality of approaches reflects the complexity of the topic of The Novel and the Politics of Nation Building in East Africa.

Tirop Peter Simatei is a lecturer in the Department of Literature and Creative Arts at Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya. He holds a PhD from the University of Bayreuth.



"Simatei's work shows mastery of subject matter, depth of knowledge not only of literary texts, but literary, cultural and political theory. Simatei's power of expression is superb, it catches the reader with its clarity and precision." - Said Khamis

"a brilliant book" - Peter Nazareth in World Literature Today (USA)

"The thoroughly well written book treats the reader to 'national narratives' on varying ideas of East African nations and nationhoods... a lucid but unabashedly extra-literary work" - Peter Amuka in Sunday Nation Nairobi (14 Oct. 2001, p. 13)




Bayreuth African Studies 56

Charles Bodunde (ed.)
African Languages Literature in the Political Context of the 1990s


Since the first works of African literature in European languages have been published, the language issue did not cease to be the hot topic in critical discourse. While ideologues propagated the writing in African languages as the primary condition to throw off the yoke of cultural imperialism, the critical discourse on African language literatures was monopolised by anthropologists and folklorists. In the present collection of essays, a group of literary critics from different regions in Africa reclaim that territory of African language literature for the literary critic, and redefine the critical debate by looking at the aesthetics, the literary traditions, the socio-political relevance of these literatures in present day Africa. Looking at the interfaces of African oral and written, African and European language literatures, they presents us with a fresh view of African language literatures, no longer as a static, backwards looking folkloric genre, but as a living force that interacts and contributes remarkably in the shaping of current culturo-political discourse.


"African Language Literature is seminal, wide-ranging and much needed. Together with his Oral Traditions and Aesthetic Transfer it should generate considerable regard for Bodunde within the circle of scholars of African literature" - Wumi Raji in Research in African Literature (RAL) (USA, 2002)

"The essays in this volume have broadened the debate on written literature in indigenous languages in terms of their diversity in aesthetic forms and political vision." - Femi Abodunrin in The Year's Work in English Studies




Bayreuth African Studies 57

Kyallo Wadi Wamitila
Archetypal Criticism of Kiswahili Poetry


The Fiomo Liyongo poems reveal all the qualities that constitute a national heroic epic: an origin shrowded in mystery, both of the hero himself and the early epic texts, a dispute of power which is also a dispute of civilisations between the city and the uncultured hinterland. It culminates in betrayal, an oedipal murder and the beatification of Fiomo Liyongo as cultural hero. This is the material from which the Grand Tales of national heroic epics are woven, all over the world and from the beginning of time.

Kyallo Wamitila approaches the Fiomo Liyong narrations from a comparative perspective that relates the narrative, structural and thematic elements of the Kiswahili poems to other heoric epics like the Gilgamesch Epic, The Niebelungenlied, the Chanson de Roland, El Cid or the Kevaleva. Wamitila maps out the place of the Fiomo Liyongo texts within the classical tradition of Kiswahili poetry and then explores its relationship to the universal epic traditions. For the thematic analysis he employs the Jungian categories of archetypes and collective (un)conscious, for the narrative aspects the Fryean categories of archetypal criticism. The merit of Wamitila's work lies in the deployment of the local specificities of Kiswahili literature on the one hand, and the establishment of a firm space for the Kiswahili traditon within the world wide tradition of heroic epic narration.

Kyallo Wamitila teaches at Nairobi University in the Department of African Languages. His Kiswahili novel Nguvu ya was published by Longhorn Press in 1999.




Bayreuth African Studies 58

Charles Bodunde
Oral Traditions and Aesthetic Transfer: Creativity and Social Vision in Comtemporary Black Poetry


Modern African poets never lost sight of the poetic traditions of Yoruba Oriki, Ifa divinations, Ijala hunter songs, of Nguni Isibongo, Acholi songs or Ewe dirges. Charles Bodunde's work reveals that the revitalisation of the oral idiom, particularly with the younger generation of poets, does not arise from a nostalgic longing for local folklore colour, for "postcard poetry". They rather reintroduce the oral idiom to recreate a popular poetic language that can be shared by the common people. Local issues are raised "to recall the errors of the past to understand the future". But beyond the levels of poetic style and themes, the poets reclaim the immunity of the masquerade, the impunity of the udje satires, the Ifa principle of mediation in order to regain the role of the public voice for the poet and artist. They reclaim the traditional minstrel's role of social censorship, of exposing wrong doers, "of raising people's consciousness towards social construction."

Charles Bodunde, himself a poet and performer, teaches literature at the University of Ilorin / Nigeria. He is the editor of African Languages Literature and the Political Context of the 1990s.



"Oral Traditions is deft, painstaking, and rigorous. Together with his African Languages Literature it should generate considerable regard for Bodunde within the circle of scholars of African Literature." - Wumi Raji in Research in African Literature (RAL) (USA, 2002)

"Bodunde explores the pervasive engagement of specific local traditions by poets, their employment of performance idioms. The comparative perspective becomes a source of strength as Bodunde weaves a relationship between the poets." - Wumi Raji in Research in African Literatures (RAL)




Bayreuth African Studies 59

Wole Ogundele (ed.)
Ulli Beier. The Hunter Thinks The Monkey Is Not Wise


"The hunter thinks, the monkey is not wise... The monkey is wise, but he has his own logic." This proverb characterises the humane quality of tolerance of the Yoruba towards other cultures. It also characterises Ulli Beier's tolerance and empathy as a mediator and interpreter of Yoruba culture. Ulli Beier has been an observer and participant in the development of Yoruba, Nigerian, African art and cultures for more than 50 years. The essays assembled here span the period of the independence movement and cultural nationalism,. the Biafra civil war, successive military regimes to the present. And it represents Ulli Beier's unlimited interest in all aspects of cultural and social life, from myth, religion and history, from the social organisation of the family, the village, the regional kingdom and the national community, but also the aesthetics and social role of the arts, theatre, literature, be it in deep Yroubaland, in Africa, or the American diaspora. The essays reflect the most important period in the history of modern African art and culture, seen through the eyes of its most expert critic and enthusiastic admirer.

Wole Ogundele teaches at the Awolowo University in Ife and has been closely associated with the Yoruba arts movement, Soyinka's theatre troupe.


"the editor Wole Ogundele should be praised for a job well done" - Chinua Achebe

"Ulli Beier's literary essays have left an indelible imprint on the critical and creative appreciation of African and Black literature." - Femi Abodunrin in The Year's Work in English Studies




Bayreuth African Studies 60

Onookome Okome (ed.)
Writing the Homeland - The Poetry and Politics of Tanure Ojaide


Tanure Ojaide gives voice to the people of the Niger Delta. He celebrates the spirit of his Urhobo culture, he sings of the closeness to nature in the forests and streams of the labyrinthic delta. But he also speaks out frankly against the environmental destruction of his homeland by the oil companies and the political degradation under the military regimes.

The essays in this volume present a poet who is not only committed to his land, its culture and its people, but a poet with a strong political and an articulate poetic vision.


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