African Literature and the Nobel Prize – Freedom Under Speech

Alberto Calderón P. * / When referring to African cultures, their sublime rhythms, their songs, those choirs so close to nature and the rhythm of their bodies with dance immediately come to mind, the sculptures that immediately identify with that part of the planet. However, we seldom stop at a cornerstone of its cultural manifestations: writing and poetry.

To know the culture of African countries we must relate to their languages, traditions, many of them oral, others documented, and with this they will get to know and identify with their inhabitants, delve into the way of spreading and knowing their worldview through writing . I am sure that if we are capable of not only proposing it in our collection, but also approaching to create new bridges between the various cultures of which the inhabitants of this planet are made and celebrate the knowledge of the immense human wealth and ideas that await us..

Eva de la Torre tells us in The notebooks the theme of African literature, that for the peoples the preservation of the form of oral communication plays an important role within their traditions, to communicate events of all kinds, makes mention of three countries where the literary effect has stood out Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, of the latter with an important collection in the Swahili language. The countries of North Africa with the proximity to other cultures have developed an incipient literature in English to be read outside their borders.

But the proposal has been consolidated in the last fifty years, creative maturity, imagination, but also the conditions of poverty, the legacies of colonialism, the social and political situation of those countries, can be seen in the extensive literary work that sprouts like a spring between the sand, the aridity and the vast territories where the biodiversity of the fauna and flora continue to surprise the human being. Its importance is such that before this 2021 Nobel Prize, it was awarded a few days ago, they had already been recognized with prizes to others from the African continent to the great poet: Wole Soyina in 1987, (whom I had the honor to see and hear live a few years ago in Xalapa, Ver.); Naguib Mahfuz 1988; Nadine Gordimer in 1991; JM Coetze 2003.

Now literature is also a transcontinental reference to know the vision of Africa between the wonderful and the fantastic, on a permanent path to the future. Proof of this is the recognition that the Swedish Academy makes by awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature this year to Abdulrazak Gurnah, 73 years old and who lives in the United Kingdom, is a professor at the University of Kent, part of his literary work has been translated into Spanish, the works that can be obtained are: Paradise, On the shore and Precarious Silence, in them he talks to us about the problems that some become so ancestral into contemporary issues such as the injustices derived from colonialism, the difficult phenomenon of refugees and that ideal that in America is the Bolivarian, for many Africans including Abdulrazak continental unity is an ideal. Although he is fully identified with African social and literary causes, he belongs to the Royal Society of British Literature, for this and having arrived in the United Kingdom at 18, he is practically an English citizen.

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African Literature and the Nobel Prize – Freedom Under Speech

Hank Gilbert