1st Edition

Close to the Sources Essays on Contemporary African Culture, Politics and Academy

By Abebe Zegeye, Maurice Vambe Copyright 2011

    European and African works have found it difficult to move past the image of Africa as a place of exotica and relentless brutality. This book explores the status and critical relationship between politics, culture, literary creativity, criticism, education and publishing in the context of promoting Africa’s indigenous knowledge, and seeks to recover some of the sites where Africans continue to elaborate conflicting politics of self-affirmations. It both acknowledges and steps outside the protocols of analysis informed by nationalism, differentiating the forms that postcolonial theories have taken, and arguing for a selective appropriation of theory that emerges from Africa’s lived experiences.

    1. Introduction: The Assault on African Cultures  2. Notes on Theorising Black Diaspora in Africa  3. On the Postcolony and the Vulgarisation of Political Criticism  4. Rethinking the Epistemic Conditions of Genocide in Africa  5. African Indigenous Knowledge Systems  6. Knowledge Production and Publishing in Africa  7. Amilcar Cabral: National Liberation as the Basis of Africa’s Renaissances  8. Amilcar Cabral and the Fortunes of African Literature  9. Perspectives on Africanising Educational Curricula in Africa  10. Voices from the Fringes: Some Reflections on Postcolonial South African Writings


    Abebe Zegeye is Director of the Hawke Institute at the University of South Australia.

    Maurice Vambe is Professor in the Department of English Studies at University of South Africa.

    "Zegeye and Vambe define 'Africanization' in a wholly new fashion which foregrounds difference, complexity, and migration within Africa and thus dispenses with the failed imaginings of Europeans and cultural nationalists. Their specificity and attention to the politics of authenticity is grounded in a critique of both sub-altern and indigeneity paradigms in Africa and thereby casts light on unfamiliar sites of cultural resistance and subjectivity. By focusing on the expressive and literary arts, philosophy, education, publishing, party politics and other forms of governance as sites of catastrophe and as sites of potential and past fortune and opportunity, they provide a provocative and necessary riposte to the often tokenizing reception of African philosophy by attending to the charged history of consumption of African knowledge production."

    - Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, UC Irvine