MIGRATION AND CULTURAL DISSONANCE IN SELECTED AFRICAN NOVELS
Migration has become a very hot issue all over the world today with a lot of cultural challengesinvolved. People from the former European colonies in Africa who migrated to the metropolis after independence formed a cultural society. Because of equality in the metropolis, the migrants had a problem of integrating themselves in to the society. Despite what appears to be a large population movement, Gary Younge noted some time ago that people are not able to move as freely as commodities.There are always restrictions being put on people’s movements. Damian (2013) in‘’African Culture and International Understanding’’, states that, too often a gloomy picture is painted of the future of African culture given the battering it is presently taking from the incursion of western ideas and culture.(p.15).The threat is indeed real but caution should be exercised not to inflame it to the level it may not have reached.Admittedly, in some isolated cases it is sad to behold a child or youth that can barely speak his/her language.What culture do Africans have to transfer to their offsprings? There is the integration of modernity with African realities. A dreg of migration is insecurity. Migrants are not a homogenous and static conglomeration of people(Arango 2004). The works of African writers like Richard Wright’s Black Boy, RalpEllisson’sInvisible Man, Leopold Senghor’sEthiopiques, Toni Morrisson’sThe Origin of Others,and Bell Hook’s Belonging: A Culture of Place,portray Black diaspora communities in the West as an ethnic group on their own struggling to assert themselves as different from other groups or complaining that other groups treat them as’’ other’’ The millions of people displaced today in the world by wars hunger, religious persecution, political instability, education, family re-union, just to name a few, carry along their various cultures. This culture as well as the life of the migrant both in the home and host country is either endangered or unsecured. One of the main causes of migration in contemporary Africa is therefore insecurity. The greatest challenge of our time is thus that of insecurity in all its forms. Migration is a natural phenomenon which is bilateral. The insecurity which migrants all over the world find themselves in is drawing a lot of attention. The prevailing situation in Lybia in which migrants are being sold as slaves, locked in prison and calls are made for family members to send money, calls to mind the historical slave trade in Africa which supplied workers for European and American plantations. African migrants have formed another slave trade in Lybia today. The number of migrants that even get drowned in ships in trying to reach Europe is still on the rise.Salman Rushdie, (2002) (p.425) acknowledges that ‘’the distinguishing feature of our time is mass migration, mass displacement, globalized finances and industries’’ How can this problem of physical psychological and cultural insecurity caused by migration be curbed? The main concern in Europe is therefore a survival problem. While the African migrant is struggling to survive by adopting the culture of the host country there is urgent need to preserve the African culture in him. Critical Literature has the power to mirror complex and ambiguous realities that make it a far more credible representation of human feelings and understandings than many of the branches of scientific research. Critical Literature suggests that the subject matter is about migration and the culture and tradition of the host nation. However the fact is that although the description of the migrant’s experiences, their difficulties of adaptation, and so on play a primary role in this Literature. Migration Literature is thematically much more about the world of the post-colonial, the age of wandering, of hybridity of pre-given ethnic morals/ cultural traditions and conditions of contingency and contradiction to which a minority is subjected (HomiBhabha,1994, Edward Said 2003 p.193-195)
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