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African Literature

Oral Tradition, Written Literature, Women's Writing, Children Of The Postcolony, Debates And Critical Engagements

African literature is best understood within the context of Ali Mazrui's categorization of African historical experience as a "triple heritage": Africa as a space produced by endogenous historical traditions, Arab/Islamic influences, and Western Judeo-Christian influences. This triple heritage has produced a literature characterized by a tripodal identity, based on its relationship to each element. Africa's indigenous heritage is of its rich oral traditions. The Arab/Islamic heritage is associated with the written literatures of North Africa and parts of East and West Africa. The Arabic and Western aspects of Africa's triple heritage reflect the continent's experience with the historical trauma of conquest, evidenced by such events as the Arab invasion of North Africa and West Africa, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and colonialism. The Western/Judeo-Christian heritage has shaped the literature written in English, French, and Portuguese.

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