Les enjeux de la modernite dans le roman Africain au feminin: Werewere Liking, Angèle Rawiri et Ken Bugul
Ngabeu, Jeannette Ariane
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Defined as a stage of history that began in the Western world before spreading around the world, modernity has proven to be a controversial concept for many scholars and critics. This thesis revisits the treatment of modernity in Francophone postcolonial Africa through the novels of three Francophone African women authors: Ken Bugul, Werewere Liking and the late Angèle Rawiri. Drawing on a corpus of ten novels (Orphée Dafric, Elle sera de jaspe et de corail, La Memoire amputée by Werewere Liking ; G'amarakano, Fureur et cris des femmes by Angèle Rawiri ; Le Baobab fou, De l'autre côté de regard, Rue Felix Faure, La Folie et la mort, Mes Hommes à moi, by Ken Bugul) ; I explore how these literary texts position modernity as a central question in the present and future of Africa. My analysis examines how, in their novels, these authors represent current problems for African identity. Where modernity entails a discontinuity between past and present that creates emptiness, memory emerges as an important chain of transmission of knowledge. Ken Bugul and Werewere Liking also highlight the madness of those with postcolonial political power, and the consequences for the people, who themselves become mad because of the actions of leaders. Angèle Rawiri's novels emphasize the dislocation of self amid the paradoxes of modernity in Africa, through the fragmentation of her writing and her depiction of a suffering female body. These authors depict the postcolonial space as a problematic environment. Affecting young women and men most directly, it features an unending quest for identity that is exemplified most strikingly by Ken Bugul's depictions of estranged, wandering protagonists. My study ends with a discussion of gender issues as these authors explore the traps and pitfalls of modernity through their female characters' dilemmas. In the process, they point out how the use of a Western feminist approach to read African women's novels may be another paradox of modernity. My alternative reading takes into account the realities of African women in order to rethink social problems. It also makes deeper understanding of African identity a matter of viewing through local lenses.