Imbizo https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo <p style="margin: 0cm 0cm 8pt;"><em>Imbizo : International Journal of African Literary and Comparative Studies</em> is a scholarly and peer-reviewed journal of the department of English studies at the University of South Africa. The journal aims to foster critical debates on African Literary Theory, cultural studies, history and popular culture. The journal publishes original research articles, review articles and important conference proceedings on theoretical and practical perspectives that expand knowledge on discourses on the Africanisation of the processes of Africa's literary creations.</p> Unisa Press en-US Imbizo 2078-9785 Functions and Dysfunctions of Dance as Represented in Paul Chidyausiku’s Broken Roots https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/9637 <p>In this article I engage with literary representation to argue that although Paul Chidyausiku intended to display the functions of Zimbabwean traditional dance in his re-imagined precolonial Shona society of the novella <em>Broken Roots</em> (1984), he ends up unconsciously suggesting its dysfunctions as well. The paper draws on the functionalist approach and the dysfunctional theory to interpret both the positive and negative connotations surrounding the represented performance contexts. In his recreated early society, Chidyausiku configures dance as performing either decolonial, socialisation, celebratory or gender roles, among others. The article, however, finds Chidyausiku’s overall depiction of the performing society as sometimes ambivalent, thus implying his conflicting conceptualisation of both his African society and the cultural phenomena, including dance, imbedded within it.</p> Jairos Gonye Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-22 2022-05-22 13 1 20 pages 20 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/9637 Refiguring Blackness and Decolonisation in Femi Abodunrin’s It Would Tke Time: Conversation with Living Ancestors and Other Poems https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/9258 <p>This article focuses on Femi Abodunrin’s poetry in order to reflect on the ideological conditions from which his articulation of Blackness and decolonisation emanates. Although Abodunrin’s creative oeuvre transcends a single poetry anthology, the study nevertheless restricts itself to one poetry anthology,<em> It Would Take Time: Conversation with Living Ancestors</em>, and excerpts from three other poems, “Whatever I Hang,” “The Pursuit of Happiness” and “Going to Meet the Man,” published in <em>Splinters of a Mirage Dawn: An Anthology of Migrant Poetry from South Africa</em>. Arguably, Abodunrin’s poetry is a quintessential postulation on Blackness and decolonisation in a postcolonial context. Hence, his work represents a coherent response, a reappropriation and refiguring of the syncretic experiences of Black Africans within the circumstantial whole of a postcolonial social reality. The phenomenology of decolonisation, depersonalisation and an inhabitation of an alienating and somewhat fragmented reality are some of Abodunrin’s thematic interests. His tactic to subvert a Eurocentric approach to the politics of African identity, literature and culture, Africans’ displacement and the psycho-affective dimension of this tussle confirms that despite the struggles, Africans can assert their presence and agency in the conception and articulation of their culture and identity. <em>It Would Take Time</em> and Abodunrin’s other three poems are reflective of the uphill efforts channelled towards recentralising African agency, refiguring Blackness and also emphasising the triumph of a unique ideological outlook on decoloniality without ambiguities of reference.</p> Moffat Sebola Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-22 2022-05-22 13 1 17 pages 17 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/9258 Anfractuous Narratives, Human Rights and Precarity in Fatima Meer’s Prison Diary https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/10213 <p>This article offers an analysis of South African writer and political activist Fatima Meer’s <em>Prison Diary: One Hundred and Thirteen Days</em> and addresses the ways in which her creative imagination has been triggered by feelings of vulnerability and precarity within the context of racism and injustice. The analysis leans on Bryan Turner’s notion of vulnerability and human rights and Judith Butler’s thoughts on precarious lives. Meer’s narrative is anfractuous given the many roles she played in society, resulting in a memoir that is replete with windings and intricate turnings. Her plots and paths as an academic, artist, sociologist, writer, prisoner, Mandela’s biographer, political activist and human rights campaigner are anfractuous—they twist and turn but do not break. Turner notes that without an ethical commitment realistically to follow one’s vocation or one’s fate, a human being cannot achieve “personality.” In Weber’s ethical system, being a “personality” means having devotion to a cause or acting passionately in terms of a career or course of action that one has rationally chosen. Meer’s politics, activism and commitment to social justice were never divided from her academic inquiry. Her memoir describes her 113 days’ incarceration in the Johannesburg jail in 1976 during the Soweto uprising. The memoir is easily interpreted as a classic postcolonial text, yet this diary of imprisonment may well reflect random moments in the lives of different people—social connectedness of a less obvious nature, yet of significance in glimpsing a common global humanity.</p> Rajendra Chetty Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-22 2022-05-22 13 1 14 pages 14 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/10213 Labelling and Othering: (Re)Engaging Wangari Maathai’s Madwoman Tag in Unbowed: A Memoir https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/9438 <p>This article is an interpretive analysis of how Wangari Maathai’s autobiography <em>Unbowed: A Memoir</em> (2007) revises the author’s Otherness through theorising and practising intersectional environmentalism. The article argues that <em>Unbowed </em>becomes a space where Maathai’s struggle for environmental restoration and democracy intersects with her feminist agency. This article isolates Maathai’s practice of feminism as one that took cognisance of ecological justice to revise her Otherness, using it as a space enabling her to speak against societal injustice. To negotiate and, in effect, humanise the environment and use it as a locus for emancipating Kenyan women, Maathai reworks the label of madness attached to her and (re)uses it as a tag with some degree of privilege. Using literary criticism methodologies to engage Maathai’s autobiography, this article examines the implications of self-definition for those operating within liminal spaces. Of importance is how Maathai uses the madness label, aimed at silencing her, to create a hierarchy of privilege. The article concludes that through subtly agitating for ecological justice, Maathai found her voice to self-define herself, revising Otherness and liberating <em>Wanjiku</em> (the Kenyan poor). She does this by refocusing the hierarchies of subjectification embedded in the label “mad.”</p> Stephen Muthoka Mutie Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-22 2022-05-22 13 1 17 pages 17 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/9438 Popular Art and the Reconfiguration of Political Intolerance in Kenya https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/8290 <p>Political intolerance is a recurrent feature in any general election in Kenya. The charged political atmosphere during elections has often seen heated verbal tiffs among politicians and supporters of opposing political leanings degenerate into intimidation, violence, eviction of tenants from their houses, discrimination at the workplace, denial of job opportunities, and even murder of political opponents, among many other atrocious acts. This article explores how popular artistic productions deployed by the National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition in the run-up to the 8 August 2017 general elections to galvanise the electorate in its nationwide campaigns implicitly sparked intolerance among their political opponents. The article examines popular art forms such as popular songs, cartoons, memes and popular religious songs that centre on this historical period in the country and are directly associated with the NASA coalition. The article shows how these creative art forms morph into vehicles of political aspirations, codifying political visions and manifestos. They become central to political struggle and contestations over power, and when reconfigured, potentially anchor political intolerance.</p> Charles Kebaya Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-22 2022-05-22 13 1 21 pages 21 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/8290 Religion, Security and Politics in Northern Nigeria: A Public Intellectual Reading of Ahmed Yerima’s Pari https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/9521 <p>Nigeria boasts of some of the world’s biggest worship centres, as the vast majority of its population attend religious services and pray regularly. However, this nation remains one of the most religiously divisive nations across the world. Critical and literary studies have shown the role of religion in the creation and aggravation of conflict in this nation. This article analyses the ways in which Ahmed Yerima’s play, <em>Pari</em> (2016), examines this burning subject of religious violence in Nigeria, and most specifically, northern Nigeria. Classifying this contemporary playwright as an active public intellectual, this article engages in a close reading of how the play speaks to the controversial subject of religion. The latter part of the article explores <em>Pari</em>’s handling of the subject of conflict resolution, positing that confession, remorse, and forgiveness are important requirements if lasting peace is to be restored after any crisis. These subjects are constructed around the 2014 abduction of the 275 Chibok schoolgirls in northeastern Nigeria by the Islamic terror group, Boko Haram.</p> Albert Olatunde Oloruntoba Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-22 2022-05-22 13 1 16 pages 16 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/9521 (Dis)continuing with Tradition: Tsitsi Himunyanga-Phiri’s Exposition of Contemporary African Women’s Problems in The Legacy https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/9220 <p>Issues concerning African women have been the subject of many literary writings. Most early female African writers on women’s issues conveyed these from a predominantly feminist perspective, setting a kind of tradition. Amidst this, a few writers emerged whose writings on women’s issues pointed to a departure from such tradition. This article examines Tsitsi Himunyanga-Phiri’s novel <em>The Legacy</em> (1992), ascertaining instances where she departs from or conforms to the tradition set by some earlier African women writers. The discussion centres on her portrayal of contemporary African women’s problems, their underlying causes as well as possible solutions. Amongst the observations are that while the writer upholds sentiments held by her predecessors on the problems encountered by women and their possible solutions, she also departs from their common practice of blaming African men, patriarchy and traditional culture for the challenges encountered by the women. Instead, she singles out the colonial system, its destruction and ultimate abuse of both African customs and men as the chief architect of those challenges. The article concludes that Himunyanga-Phiri in some parts continues while in others discontinues with the tradition set by earlier female African writers.</p> Godwin Makaudze Jessie Furvin Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-23 2022-05-23 13 1 14 pages 14 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/9220 Transformative Belief: Flight and Transcendence in Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu’s The Theory of Flight https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/10502 <p>Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu’s novel, <em>The Theory of Flight</em>, uses the theme of flight to depict issues of self-belief, freedom, and identity in postcolonial Africa. Ndlovu portrays the importance of belief as a means of transcending and dealing with one’s difficulties. Her dislike of dualities and categorisations is evident in her unification of the natural and the supernatural in the novel, as well as the characterisation of the protagonist as a “hybrid” being. The novel’s anti-binarist stance exemplifies the divisions that have echoed and developed from colonialism, such as sexism and racism. Such issues are prevalent in modern-day South Africa owing to the dehumanising system of apartheid, and can be seen through the country’s high rate of gender-based violence and racial inequality. <em>The Theory of Flight</em> suggests that self-belief is humanising and allows individuals to take back their power and free themselves from racist classifications, allowing for a postcolonial society to heal and move forward. This article begins with a brief summary of events in the novel relevant to this analysis. Thereafter, the usefulness of the theoretical frameworks of spiritual realism and postcolonialism are discussed. The theme of flight in the novel is then explored, as well as its significance in the context of the text. Together with this, further links between tropes and images of flight are drawn, allowing for an in-depth analysis of the significance of flight in Ndlovu’s novel.</p> Tasmiyah Oumar Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-22 2022-05-22 13 1 15 pages 15 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/10502 Escaping the pen https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/10569 Lubhna Mather Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-22 2022-05-22 13 1 6 pages 6 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/10569 Unsafe https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/10580 Sherielle Le Roux Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-22 2022-05-22 13 1 4 pages 4 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/10580 Review of the Post-apartheid Guernica Exhibition: A Commentary on the South African Condition https://unisapressjournals.co.za/index.php/Imbizo/article/view/10432 <p>Exhibition Review.</p> Siseko Kumalo Copyright (c) 2022 Imbizo 2022-05-22 2022-05-22 13 1 5 pages 5 pages 10.25159/2663-6565/10432