Eileen Julien Author of Literature in Africa & African Literature Summary.
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In the documentary “Uganda’s School for Life: Educating out of Poverty – Rebel Education”, begins by stating how Uganda has the highest youth unemployment rate in Africa. Emmanuel Kalyebi discusses once students finish school it is very difficult for the to find a job. He mentions how in school they give the students theoretical knowledge and once they are capable of finding a job, the employer must train them since they did not receive that knowledge while in school such as communication, critical thinking. He discusses how it is frustrating for not only the students ,but the parents as well because the parents go out of their way to give their children a good education which is suppose to help them after they graduate to find and obtain a job. However, it does not help them one bit since they do not receive and learn the knowledge needed for a job. Kalyebi states that over 500,000 students who graduate Universities in Uganda, the economy is only able to provide jobs for about 90,000. This is stressful for everyone because it makes you question of what the rest of the students who graduate are supposed to do to help maintain and provide for their families. In the document “Literature in Africa”, author Eileen Julien discusses the different types of literature in Africa. Julien begins by stating how when “Americans and Europeans use the expression “African literature”, they are referring to the poetry, plays, and novels written by Africans that reach Western and Northern shores” (209). The author describes how African literature stands for a variety of things such as “intra- African” themes of class, ethnicity, gender, and national identities emerged. In the last document “Traditional African Modes of Education: Their Relevance in the Modern World”, Michael Omolewa discussing the teaching and learning strategies of indigenous African education. Omolewa states how “Traditional African education is an integral part of the culture and history of a local community…” (594). This article is similar to the documentary in which it discusses the education in Africa and the importance of it.
For this weeks reading, we had to read an article about the literature in Africa. Eileen Julien, the author of this article, starts off by saying that when most people think of African literature, they think of poetry, plays, and novels. While this is true, these are only “segments of a vast array of word arts in Africa”. The verbal arts in Africa are “ancient and long preceded the modern era”. Africa has a lot of literatures, but they are only well-known in Africa. Other continents don’t really acknowledge African literatures and they are ignored. Africa has plenty of different cultural differences. There are more than 50 nations and more than 2,000 languages/ ethnic groups. During the decolonize period, many of the literacy texts were about injustices and racism. After the 1600’s, there was a big increase in the amount of women writers. This meant that there were a lot of new themes getting written about. The writings written by women “has been especially important because it often challenges directly the meanings ascribed to the works of literacy forefathers…” The women force us to see their side/ perspectives in the world. Literature in Africa is categorized in a number of different ways. Routinely, they are divided by regions, ethnicity, and nationality. It is also categorized by language. All of these different ways show how diverse Africa really is. There are a lot of different cultures in Africa, and the literature has to be broken up. In the 50’s and 60’s, when countries started to achieve decolonization, Africa started to join the wave. What’s even better is that this is around the time the printing press was invented. Africa used this to their advantage and used the printing press for a lot of different things; one being for political and cultural purposes. All of the writings that were made “garnered critical acclaim abroad and spawned great controversy…”
In the text “Literature in Africa” the author Julien starts off the article by explaining that the works of art in Africa, like plays, poetry, and novels while being ancient are not the first forms of art in Africa. This connects with the second article “Traditional African Modes of Education” because the second text states, “Traditional African education is an integral part of the culture and history of a local community, which is stored in various forms and transmitted through various modes. Such modes include language, music…” (Omolewa 594). As it is stated in the first article some of these oral traditions that are centuries old were lost in the waves of time, but many of these traditions were preserved by retelling generation by generation through ancient languages. As both of the articles go on they explain the decolonization of Africa in it’s schools and politics. “Traditional African modes of Education” States that, “The coming of European (Western) education from the late 15th century onwards disrupted the traditional system and brought the formal school system at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels…” (Omolewa 594). After this integration, the nations in Africa continued to value the importance of their traditional education systems and traditions. In “Literature in Africa” It states, “During the period of decolonization and formal declarations of independence around the continent in the mid- twentieth century, many literary texts portrayed the injustices and racism of the colonial period and the promise of independence” (Julien 211). With these pieces of text it is clear to see that the traditions and stories in Africa were very capable of standing up to the test of time. With the evolution of education in Africa, the documentary “Uganda’s School for Life: Educating out of Poverty – Rebel Education” shows us the state of the educational system in Uganda. Seventy percent of the youth are unemployed but Educate! is helping to fight poverty and unemployment in Uganda..
In the article, “Literature in Africa” it explains that there is no exact record of the earliest tradition of literature in Africa. Although, it does explain that the art of literature, oral and written, is extremely ancient and precede any common knowledge of the modern era. The literature of Africa can be found in some of the earliest civilizations of the world including the ancient Egyptian writings. Because it is such a vast continent the article explained there are some estimates that conclude there are more than two thousand languages and ethnic groups there, meaning there are many different stories and many different forms of expressing them. Literature across the continent has never been uniform because of the variety. The ways literature is used varies as well, because in 1820 the printing press arrived in Africa and it was used by African nationals to promote their political and cultural viewpoints. The interest to read and write was sparked by this form of writing because literature was then seen as way to manipulate facts, rewrite history, and create a sense of power between groups of people. The increase of interest in writing and the power it can have was one of many reasons education also saw a rise in numbers. Being able to read and write is taught in schools and not many people had time or could afford such a thing. With in an increase in literature there were more literate people to teach and give younger children the opportunity to be literate as well. As seen in the documentary there are now schools that are built in some of the poorest areas with teachers educating the youth valuable skills in life. Most of the skills are career oriented and help the kids be better prepared to have a chance of being an entrepreneur later on. Tasks such as making soap, selling food, recycling paper to turn it into cardboard, crafting jewelry, and sewing are all taught in the video. Being able to read and write has given them opportunities to go to these schools and have careers in less intensive work fields.