Saturday, 26 January 2013

Négritude Movement

Négritude is a literary and ideological movement, developed by francophone black intellectuals, writers, and politicians in France in the 1930s. Its founders included the future Senegalese President Léopold Sédar SenghorMartinican poet Aimé Césaire, and the Guianan Léon Damas.
The Négritude writers found solidarity in a common black identity as a rejection of perceived French colonial racism. They believed that the shared black heritage of members of the African diaspora was the best tool in fighting against French political and intellectual hegemony and domination. They formed a realistic literary style and formulated their Marxist ideas as part of this movement.
In 1885, Haitian anthropologist Anténor Firmin published an early work of négritude De l'Égalité des Races Humaines (English: On the Equality of Human Races), which was published as a rebuttal to French writer Count Arthur de Gobineau's work Essai sur l'inegalite des Races Humaines (English: Essay on the Inequality of Human Races). Firmin had an impact on Jean Price-Mars, the founder of Haitian ethnology and on 20th century American anthropologist Melville Herskovits.[1]
The Harlem Renaissance, centered on Harlem in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, had a significant influence on the Negritude movement.[2] The movement's writers including Langston Hughes, and slightly later figures such as Richard Wright, addressed the themes of "noireism" and racism. Further inspiration came from Haiti, where there had similarly been a flourishing of black culture in the early 20th century, and which historically holds a particular place of pride in the African diaspora world due to the slave revolution led by Toussaint L'Ouverture in the 1790s. Césaire speaks, thus, of Haiti as being "where négritude stood up for the first time". On the European side, there was also influence and support from the Surrealism movement.
During the 1920s and 1930s, a group of young black students and scholars, primarily hailing from France's colonies and territories, assembled in Paris. There they were introduced to the writers of the Harlem Renaissance by Paulette Nardal and her sister Jane. The Nardal Sisters contributed invaluably to the negritude movement both with their writings and by being the proprietors of the Clamart Salon, the tea-shop haunt of the French-Black intelligentsia where the Negritude movement truly began. It was from the Clamart Salon that Paulette Nardal and the Haitian Dr. Leo Sajou founded La revue du Monde Noir (1931–32), a literary journal published in English and French, which attempted to be a mouthpiece for the growing movement of African and Caribbean intellectuals in Paris. This Harlem connection was also shared by the closely parallel development of negrismo in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and it is likely that there were many influences between the movements, which differed in language but were in many ways united in purpose. At the same time, "Murderous Humanitarianism" (1932) was signed by prominent Surrealists including the Martiniquan surrealists Pierre Yoyotte and J.M. Monnerot and the relationship developed especially with Aimé Césaire.
The actual founders of la Négritude, known as les trois pères (Fr. the three fathers), were originally from three different French colonies in Africa and the Caribbean but they met while living in Paris in the early 1930s.
Aimé Césaire was a poet, playwright, and politician from Martinique. He studied in Paris, where he discovered the black community and "rediscovered Africa". He saw la Négritude as the fact of being black, acceptance of this fact, and appreciation of the history, culture, and destiny of black people. He sought to recognize the collective colonial experience of Blacks - the slave trade and plantation system. He attempted to redefine it. Césaire's ideology defined the early years of la Négritude.
The term négritude (which most closely means "blackness" in English) then was first used in 1935 by Aimé Césaire, in the 3rd issue of L'Étudiant noir, a magazine which he had started in Pariswith fellow students Léopold Senghor and Léon Damas, as well as Gilbert GratiantLeonard Sainville, and Paulette Nardal. L'Étudiant noir also contains Césaire's first published work, "Negreries", which is notable not only for its disavowal of assimilation as a valid strategy for resistance but also for its reclamation of the word "nègre" as a positive term. "Nègre" previously had been almost exclusively used in a pejorative sense, much like the English word "nigger". Césaire deliberately and proudly incorporated this derogatory word into the name of his movement.
Although each of the pères had his very own ideas about the purpose and styles of la Négritude, the movement was generally characterized by opposing colonialism, the denunciation of Europe's lack of humanity, and the rejection of Western domination and ideas. Also important was the acceptance of and pride in being black and a valorization of African history, traditions, and beliefs. Their literary style was realistic and they cherished Marxist ideas.
Neither Césaire—who after returning to Martinique after his studies in Paris was elected both Mayor of Fort de France, the capital, and a representative of Martinique in France's Parliament—nor Senghor in Senegal envisaged political independence from France. Négritude would, according to Senghor, enable Blacks under French rule to take a "seat at the give and take [French] table as equals". However, France had other ideas, and it would eventually present Senegal and its other African colonies with independence.
Poet and the later first president of Sénégal, Senghor used la Négritude to work toward a universal valuation of African people. He advocated a modern incorporation of the expression and celebration of traditional African customs and ideas. This interpretation of la Négritude tended to be the most common, particularly in later years.
Damas was a French Guyanese poet and National Assembly member. He was called the "enfant terrible" of la Négritude. He had a militant style of defending "black qualities" and rejected any kind of reconciliation with the West.
In 1948, Jean-Paul Sartre analyzed the négritude movement in an essay called "Orphée Noir" (Black Orpheus) which served as the introduction to a volume of francophone poetry called Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache, compiled by Léopold Senghor. In this essay, Sartre characterizes négritude as the polar opposite of colonial racism in a Hegelian dialectic and with it he helped to introduce Négritude issues to French intellectuals. In his view, négritude was an "anti-racist racism" (racisme antiraciste) necessary to the final goal of racial unity.
Négritude criticized some black writers in the 1960s as insufficiently militant. Keorapetse Kgositsile criticized that the term was based too much on blackness by a white aesthetic, and was unable to define a new kind of black perception that would free black people and black art from white conceptualizations altogether.
The Nigerian dramatist, poet, and novelist Wole Soyinka opposed la Négritude. He believed that by deliberately and outspokenly taking pride in their color, black people were automatically on the defensive: "Un tigre ne proclame pas sa tigritude, il saute sur sa proie" (Fr. A tiger doesn't proclaim its tigerness; it jumps on its prey).

Original texts
  • Césaire, Aimé: Return to My Native Land, Bloodaxe Books Ltd 1997, ISBN 1-85224-184-5
  • Césaire, Aimé: Discourse on Colonialism, Monthly Review Press 2000 (orig. 1950), ISBN 1-58367-025-4
  • Damas, Léon-Gontran, Poètes d'expression française.Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1947
  • Damas, Léon-Gontan, Mine de Rien, Poèmes inédits,
  • Diop, Birago, Leurres et lueurs. Paris: Présence Africaine, 1960
  • Senghor, Léopold Sedar, The Collected Poetry, University of Virginia Press, 1998
  • Senghor, Léopold Sédar, Ce que je crois. Paris: Grasset, 1988
  • Tadjo, Véronique, Red Earth/Latérite. Spokane, Washington: Eastern Washington University Press, 2006
Secondary literature
  • T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, Negritude Women, University of Minnesota Press 2002, ISBN 0-8166-3680-X
  • Christian Filostrat, Negritude Agonistes, Africana Homestead Legacy Publishers 2008, ISBN 978-0-9818939-2-1
  • Gary Wilder, The French Imperial Nation-State: Negritude & Colonial Humanism Between the Two World Wars, University of Chicago Press 2005, ISBN 0-226-89772-9
  • Thompson, Peter, Negritude and Changing Africa: An Update, in Research in African Literatures, Winter, 2002
  • Thompson, Peter, Négritude et nouveaux mondes—poésie noire: africaine, antillaise et malgache. Concord, Mass: Wayside Publishing, 1994
Still Relevant:
  • Georges Balandier, "La Situation Coloniale: Approche Théorique", Cahiers internationaux de sociologie, XI (1951):44-79. English translation by Robert A Wagoner, as "The Colonial Situation: A Theoretical Approach (1951) in Immanuel Wallerstein, ed. Social Change; The Colonial Situation (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1966): 34-61

The People's Spring | Samir Amin

The People's Spring

The Future of the Arab Revolution

The 2011 outburst of uprisings by the Arab peoples caught the world's attention. But can the 'Arab Spring' live up to the hopes invested in it? Amin's incisive analysis shows that although this 'spring' coincides with the 'autumn' of capitalism, the current Arab uprisings are primarily anti-imperialist and not anti-capitalist movements. To take control of shaping their future, Arab peoples need to avoid a retreat into Islamisation, to unify in a positive and genuinely new alternative for secular democracy, and struggle alongside other people against both capitalism and imperialism.
If workers in the imperial centres also to rise up the resulting alliance could lead to a transition towards socialism. Alternatively capitalism's decline could pull humanity into widespread barbarity. There are powerful forces pulling in this direction: the US/NATO project for military control of the planet, the decline of democracy in the imperialist countries and the rejection of democracy by religious fundamentalists in countries of the South. The 2011 uprisings offer a glimpse of an alternative future. But the challenge is huge, not only for the Arab and Islamic world but also for all the radical left, in the South and the North. The events currently taking place become comprehensible, enabling us to face up to their challenges, only in the light of understanding them in the long term.
Format Paperback
Nb of pages VI - 204 p. Index . Bibliography .
ISBN-10 0857491156
ISBN-13 9780857491152
Format PDF
Nb of pages CCXX - p. Index . Bibliography .
ISBN-10 0857491164
ISBN-13 978085749116

Dr. Dambisa Moyo

Dr. Dambisa Moyo

Image of Dambisa Moyo

Dr. Dambisa Moyo is an international economist who writes on the macroeconomy and global affairs.

She is the author of the New York Times Bestsellers "Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa", "How The West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly - And the Stark Choices Ahead" and "Winner Take All: China's Race for Resources and What It Means for the World".

Ms. Moyo was named by Time Magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World", and was named to the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders Forum. Her work regularly appears in economic and finance-related publications such as the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal.

She completed a doctorate in Economics at Oxford University and holds a Masters degree from Harvard University. She completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry and an MBA in Finance at the American University in Washington D.C..

Dead Aid
Winner Takes All

Monday, 5 March 2012

Sheila Nakitende | Ugandan Artist b.1983-Present

Sheila Nakitende, Ugandan Artist was born in the Kampala in 1983 - Her work below entitled, "Untitled, 2011" is up for auction next week - 13th March 2012 - This painting comes from a series of works Sheila created in 2011 to do with deconstruction and reconstruction. Breaking down the standard ideas normally associated with Contemporary African Art and moving away from commercial art for the tourists and into the world of Abstraction. 

Title: Street Queens

       Title: Mother & Child                            Title: Migration

These initial paintings in the series are more traditional and what is expected of an artist of East Africa, depicting women or girls at play or Mother and child scenarios. The most commonly seen icon of East Africa is that of women carrying jugs on their heads. Portraying woman as objects of desire, shown topless and dancing in the villages; lit only by the light of a full moon. The idea of the hard-working, down-trodden, exotic-African seems to be norm in Kampala but, as we can see, Sheila moves away from this iconography and campaigns in a new direction. Splitting up the elements of the rather dated visions of village life within the Continent and opting instead to highlight and focus in on an emerging African modernity. Sheila works her palette into a more up-to-date version of femininity in modern Africa with such wonderful optimism; one that discovers that woman are capable of intelligence; of greatness. Women working with mathematics, geometry, colour and flare. The possibilities of creating cities as architects, structural engineers and town planners. Sheila is creating a blueprint that is multi-coloured but serves as the building blocks for a brighter future, not only for women but for all Ugandans - The radical notion that women are now capable of creating their own future and even driving their own 4x4 vehicles must be something of a threat to more traditional Ugandans but the wave of change has arrived - the Airport Artists have flown and gone away and Sheila's paintings begin to display a new narrative in the East African artistic dialogue and we see women communicating in far more realistic and natural ways. Showing a different face in art, one which is multi-racial and highly cultural, the face of a truly modern Africa. These works sincerely celebrate the changing attitudes towards women but not through the eyes of the men but through the eyes of themselves with a new feminine confidence and self-belief.

To understand the make up of a National Aesthetic or series of Aesthetics take a look at what wiki says:

The next series of paintings Sheila begins to shred away from the expected in search of a place to be heard on a far grander international arena. The initial hurdle is to speak the correct visual language in order to find a receptive audience. Sheila has certainly done her homework and in the subsequent paintings we see her give birth to artworks that can be defined as Ugandan Abstraction. She cleverly plays around with the standard visual language and with her colourful ribbons, breaks-down the unhealthy stereotypical accepted customs of the Ugandan artistic practitioners and in doing so she becomes a maverick artist in the process.

Title: First Class, Middle Class

The last four paintings in the series start to play with the mere suggestion of shape and form. Using the palette in a similar style to the Abstract Expressionists of the New York School of the 1960's, with the simple push and pull effect that expresses juxtaposed colourful metaphors. Defining a new era of art in a country so famed for disaster. The palette knife has been quietly used to encourage texture telling the audience to take the rough with the smooth and judge accordingly. The subtly in these works shows the artist to have a maturity that is beyond her years. Here we see a true artist wielding her paintbrush to her canvases, as a conductor would his baton to an orchestra. This is a fantastic body of work that will be spoken about in years to come. They will be seen as the works that are the break through in regards to modern femininity in East Africa and be amongst artworks that echo a sense of purpose and direction. They are sure to be apart of a series of extraordinary moments in Contemporary African History and fall in ranks of the other great female artists in East Africa, some of whom are presently enjoying an innovative global unveiling of respect for female African artists, living and working on the Continent.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Sierra Leone Writers


Formal Name: The Republic of Sierra Leone 

Local Name: Sierra Leone 

Local Formal Name: Republic of Sierra Leone 

Commonwealth | United Nations | African Union 

Status: UN Country 

Capital City: Freetown 

Main Cities: Bo, Makeni, Kenema 
Population: 4,616,000 
Area: 71,740 km2 
Currency: 1 leone 100 cents 
Languages: English, tribal languages 
Religions: Animist, Muslim 

Authors include:

Gabon Writers

Formal Name: The Gabonese Republic 

Local Name: Gabon 

Local Formal Name: République Gabonaise 

United Nations | African Union 

Status: UN Country 

Capital City: Libreville 

Main Cities: Port Gentil 
Population: 1,323,000 
Area: 267,670 km2 
Currency: 1 CFA franc 100 centimes no longer used 
Languages: French, Bantu languages 
Religions: Christian 

Authors Include:

Cameroon Writers

Formal Name: The Republic of Cameroon

Local Name: Cameroun

Local Formal Name: République du Cameroun

Commonwealth | United Nations | African Union

Status: UN Country

Capital City: Yaoundé

Main Cities: Douala

Population: 12,905,000
Area: 475,440 km2
Currency: 1 CFA franc 100 centimes no longer used
Languages: English, French, Bantu, Sudanic tribal languages
Religions: Indigenous beliefs, Christian, Muslim