Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Harvest of Our Dreams- Kofi Anyidoho

A Harvest of Our Dreams With Elegy for the Revolution by Kofi Anyidoho

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Of all of the books I read for my African Readings class this summer, this was by far the most problematic for me.  I wrote a paper about it here, but in general I was really confused who his intended audience was.

Anyidoho, like other African writers, writes in some local words and phrases instead of translating them, yet does not include a dictionary.  I would think that this makes the work more "authentic" if it is speaking to the native population and blatantly ignores the West, but when I went to the Ghanaian students and asked for clarification of who "Uncle Demanya" or the various God references were, they were just as clueless as I was.  If the students didn't have that cultural literacy, and if I am clueless, even having spent some time in Ghana, who is the intended audience?

This has been a text I have chosen to focus on in terms of the authenticity of postcolonial writing.  While there were several poems, especially towards the beginning I enjoyed, this issue seemed to eclipse the messages I could not access.

I do like this idea he has about harvesting dreams that have gone "ungathered in our time."  He has a lot of great commentary about the revolution.  He refers to colonialism as "The Panther," whose claws were only "clipped," revealing that the influences that are preying on the Nation today.

I would love to give this another shot with a few footnotes and a glossary.  If I had any of those I might have done a better job at helping the Ghanaian students understand this Ghanaian writer.

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