chapter  5
17 Pages

Reinventing the nation in Africa

The political writings of Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka
WithOlabode Ibironke

This chapter is a critique of how Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka, in a direct and meditative manner, confront the objective historical structures of colonial and postcolonial power that shape the character of Nigerian national identities. It focuses on only two of their political writings: Achebe's The Trouble with Nigeria and Soyinka's The Open Sore of A Continent with the hope of clearly highlighting their contributions to the debate on the status of the political in African thought today as well as strategies for reconstituting African political identity. The task of political commentary in these political writings has been to counter the deeply ingrained penchant for mystification in the understanding and presentation of Africa's challenges. The emphasis or assumption in these political writings is that the concept of the nation, be it in Africa, Asia, Europe, is always a perpetually self-(re)constituting entity.