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Tydskrif vir Letterkunde

On-line version ISSN 2309-9070
Print version ISSN 0041-476X

Abstract

VASSILATOS, Alexia. The transculturation of Thomas Mofolo's Chaka. Tydskr. letterkd. [online]. 2016, vol.53, n.2, pp.161-174. ISSN 2309-9070.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/tvl.v.53i2.13.

Often, literary cultures from Anglophone Africa and Francophone Africa are treated as separate intellectual spheres. In this paper, I seek to understand the dialogue between these cultures. Thomas Mofolo's novel Chaka (1925), drawn from oral lore and written in Sotho by a Sotho writer, is about the life and times of the founder of the Zulu nation, King Chaka. I will show that Chaka is a transcultural text, which is at the source of a complex intellectual relationship between Southern Africa and Francophone Africa within the literature on Chaka. In particular, I am interested in the way in which an African writer from Lesotho could have shaped another African writer's ideas about the Zulu King-Senegalese poet Léopold Sédar Senghor-which, in turn, triggered a series of Africanist interpretations and rewritings. Through these multiple texts the impact of Chaka on African literature and ideology has been immeasurable. I will discuss Thomas Mofolo's novel contribution to Chaka's mythical status in Francophone African literature and Africanist ideology, mainly by way of the Negritude movement. In my analysis I postulate that the complexity of Mofolo's text and its transculturation stems from the novel's many forms/(trans)form (ations).

Keywords : Chaka; Francophonie; Léopold Sédar Senghor; Negritude; Thomas Mofolo; transculturation.

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