Original Research

Africa in Brathwaite: The matrix of cultural quest, identity and history as poetic vision

Muchativugwa L. Hove
Literator | Vol 40, No 1 | a1493 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v40i1.1493 | © 2019 Muchativugwa L. Hove | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 February 2018 | Published: 28 January 2019

About the author(s)

Muchativugwa L. Hove, School for Language Education, North-West University, South Africa


Brathwaite’s invocation and experimental appropriation of ‘nation language’ is a significant mediation that destabilises and de-authorises coloniality, inscribing a new ‘in-betweenness’ that highlights how the subaltern can speak. I argue here that the poet-persona’s minted vocabulary and his re-appropriation of canonical texts such as the Bible and Shakespeare’s The Tempest inaugurates a meta-discursive enunciation of epistemic possibilities. In embracing the fragmented contours of Barbados and radically privileging the political complicity of Africa in the matrix of slavery, Brathwaite embosses languaging as the primus for problematising identity, belonging and becoming. Polysemy therefore emerges as a complex interplay of enunciation and emergence, agency, subjectivity and restlessness that recuperates the anguish of contact, marginality and resistance while at the same time celebrating the plurality of the interstitial self.


nation language; polysemy disruption; ambivalence; representational space/s


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Crossref Citations

1. The translingual subjects: Shaping identities and deconstructing rainbowism in One Foreigner’s Ordeal
Esther Mavengano, Muchativugwa L. Hove
Literator  vol: 41  issue: 1  year: 2020  
doi: 10.4102/lit.v41i1.1691