Bourgeois Tensions, Marxist Economics and Aphaeresis of Communal Spirit in Sembene Ousmane’s God’s Bits of Wood and Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s Devil on the Cross
Keywords:Marxism, Sembene Ousmane, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, capitalism, African literature, communalism
This article appraises the poetics of two of the foremost African creative writers whose literary sensibilities exhibit conspicuously Marxist conceptual models. The writers have poignantly deployed their creative ingenuities towards raising social consciousness against the bourgeois economy which imposes a politics of asymmetry, parasitism and stratification on the economic thought of the African society that once projected a communal spirit. Considering the precarious conditions of Africa’s economy due to the pernicious effects of capitalism, it is imperative to examine the sordidness of classism, alienated labour, commodification or thingification of the underclass and other bourgeois tensions in African literature, as portrayed by these writers. Marxist theoretical models of economic determinism and historical materialism are discussed as the simulacrum of Vilfredo Pareto’s 80/20 Rule or Pareto Principle. Though Marxists are fixated on revolution as the only solution to end the misery of the underclass and terminate the hegemony of the oligarchy that exploits sellers of labour, the paper advocates economic revivalism through the exploration of the opportunities offered by the communal mode of production.
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