Goyemide on slavery: the liberating power of the word

Ugochukwu, F. (2006). Goyemide on slavery: the liberating power of the word. Nordic Journal of African Studies, 15(1) pp. 27–41.

URL: http://www.njas.helsinki.fi/


This article looks at Etienne Goyemide's novel, Le Dernier survivant de la caravane, a mythical foundation story set in the last years of the 19th century which records an episode of the northern slave trade in Banda land, RCA, and throws some light on the African roots of the northern slave trade. It considers the narrative by evaluating its relation to East African history and by showing the impact of displacement on the villagers' individual and collective identity. It highlights the violence of the cultural clash as expressed in the style and structure of the novel, and reveals the liberating power of the spoken word in a novel written like an oral epic, with an unusual mix of narration, speeches, songs, chants, folktales and legends. The concluding episode - the slaves' escape and foundation of a new village - is shown as the accomplishment of the patriarchal vision proclaimed and nurtured on the way.

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