Repository logo

Le marronnage paradigmatique dans la littérature africaine francophone contemporaine : d' Ahmadou Kourouma à Kossi Efoui.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This research considers two authors Ahamdou Kourouma and Kossi Efoui in a context of paradigm shift to query the contemporary Francophone African literature discourse. The assumption about contemporary African Francophone literature is that a literary discourse should not be parochial to a culture, to a nation or to a continent. Such discourse in being confronted to different geographical space and time, challenges the idealisation of historical literary paradigms especially when they are used for the mere sake of past and present victimisation and identity claims. In challenging confined ideologies and paradigms in space and time, a writer aims at universal readership and recognition. The literary texts in Africa, seen through the length of colonialism and slavery, prone the writer to a rough and brutal spectrum of imaginary. Hence parochial and militant paradigms such as Negritude and Bantu ethnology dominated literary production before and after the independence of African countries. These paradigms idealised the black race and were obsessed with retrieving the history of the continent before colonialism; with the intention of exorcising the inferiority complex inflicted not only by colonialism but also by slavery. For this research, such paradigms are considered as "masters" with cannon status for the sake of our corpus (Kossi Efoui’s novels) conceptual analysis. In order to analyse Kossi Efoui’s novels, the choice of the concept marronnage is important as it sets the operational space for a writer who wants to free himself or herself from literary parochial and canonical paradigms’ influences. Hence, the aim of the research is to show that in moving away from aspects of social constructs, philosophical particularities and political fiascos with regard to the evolution of African literature, Kossi Efoui has managed to break the myth of ontological and social isolation of the African continent. The analysis of cultural and identity aspects in Les Soleils des indépendances, a novel by Ahmadou Kourouma, has consolidated such a claim. The Kourouma’s cited novel is considered, in this research, as a text that set the path for a paradigm shift in the Francophone literary field in Africa. In addition Les Soleils des indépendances has aided to establish a trend from certain African social, political and cultural practices. This trend is seen as the premise to Kossi Efoui’s literary endeavours to shift the African literature paradigm and contest the “status quo”. However, the research has supported at the same time that, despite claiming to be a universal writer, Kossi Efoui remains entangled in a struggle. The struggle is first to be recognised of a writer (artist) without any cultural and national labels. In actual fact, Kossi Efoui’s novels are still generally confronted to issues of identity. Nevertheless he uses various elaborated literary styles and strategies destined to deconstruct the parochial traditional African world view and to challenge the nexus from the African historical stagnation. This research refers to Bourdieu, N’Goran and Fonkoua on the concept of literary field with the aim of showing how Kossi Efoui falls in the general classification of African writers living abroad, who are trying to break the boundaries and proclaim universalism. They live in cross worlds and cross-cultural hybridity. Three major parts will shape this research: the first part is based on the theoretical framework in which different literary theories together with a targeted literary analysis of a novel considered as a founding text, The Sun of independence by Ahmadou Kourouma, are setting the path to confront Kossi Efoui’s novels. This confrontation will involve features, generally related to traditional and social life in Africa but also to philosophical considerations which will show whether his approach is theoretically different in using the “marronnage” rhetoric. The second part is an analysis of the first two novels of Kossi Efoui: La Polka and La fabrique des cérémonies. The analysis shows paradoxes between universalism and parochial approach to African literature in Kossi Efoui’s discourse as he uses literary devices such as motions intrigues, media, dance, border crossings, chaotic décor and masks. The third part builds the same trajectory of ambiguities in the literary discourse. Nonetheless the analysis emphasizes the ontological and historical impacts of events such as genocide, colonisation and slavery on the African continent. The conclusion shows that Kossi Efoui does not totally represent the claim made in the premises of this research in terms of total paradigm shift. There is a profound sense that he is still in search of a universal recognition. One would think that the obvious paradigm in Efoui’s novels is that literature should be looked at, first and foremost, as art beyond cultural, political, philosophical and social perceptions. However, it is evident that human conditions, ontological, geographic and economical contradictions, build a setback to such a claim. African literature, even when produced in the diaspora, is still subjected to the persistent classification, hierarchies, chaos and violence in the imaginary as well as the influence of cultural and political realities from the country of origin of respective writers.


Doctor of Philosophy in French. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 2016.


Theses - Languages, Linguistics and Academic Literacy.