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Constructions of Identity in Contemporary African Drama: A Comparative Study of Wole Soyinka and Zakes Mda

Agboluaje, Oladipo (2003). Constructions of Identity in Contemporary African Drama: A Comparative Study of Wole Soyinka and Zakes Mda. PhD thesis The Open University.

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Abstract

This thesis examines identity constructions in contemporary African drama, through a comparative study of Wole Soyinka of Nigeria and Zakes Mda of South Africa. Soyinka and Mda construct African identities from an Afrocentric, universal humanism. Both dramatists locate African identities in the interaction between the individual and the community, which allows for a heterogeneity of African identities. Their different ideas about how African identities are formed arise from the specific social, historical conditions of their respective African contexts. Soyinka's identity constructions are essentialist, deriving from ethnic myth and history. Soyinka's essential African identity varies through social experience. Mda grounds his constructions of African identity in the material experience of apartheid. Mda privileges class over ethnic myth and history. My comparison of the two dramatists and their work reveals how colonialism is implicated in ethnic as well as materialist accounts of African identity. The works of Soyinka and Mda illustrate how African identities vary according to a complexity of social and historical conditions. My conclusion is that notions of African identity are rendered from the personal perspective of the dramatist, perspectives derived from local experience, which is influenced by colonialism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: 2003 The Author
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > English & Creative Writing
Item ID: 59407
Depositing User: ORO Import
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2019 12:20
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 21:42
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/59407
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