From Bambara to migrant writers

Transcultural work in post-colonial African literatures

3-5 November 2005
University of Johannesburg


For the occasion, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) welcomed internationally renowned researchers, critics and writers. The colloquium on African francophone literatures benefited from an important French-English interpreting facility, a first in Southern Africa.


A Pluridisciplinary Problematic, Experts from Around the World

What impact do local, national and global socio-political and cultural dynamics have on so-called “negropolitan” literature? How can one find out more about the paths of post-colonial writings drawing from oral tradition, and even from a certain colonial ethnology (following the example of the term Bambara), from a type of national inspiration as well as from forms of writings related to globalisation?

Between the concepts of transculturality and hybridisation, identity/otherness as literary stake, participants analysed transcultural creation processes between different areas of Africa and the rest of the world. Eighty participants were thus gathered to work on the problematic of the transcultural creations of compared African literature experts, beyond the traditional Anglophone / Francophone divide. Over a two-day period, contributors from local universities (French and English Departments) mixed with experts from African, North American and European countries. Writer Véronique Tadjo and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of UJ attended the opening of the colloquium.

Wide-Ranging Plenary Sessions

Four high quality sessions benefited from the contributions of Jacques Chevrier, Emeritus Professor of the University of Paris IV, on “From Negritude to Migritude?”; Pierre Halen, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Compared Literature of the University of Metz; Romuald Fonkua, Senior Lecturer in Compared Literature at the University Marc Bloch of Strasbourg and ADPF Secretary; Janice Spleth, Senior Lecturer of African Literature at the University of West Virginia (USA); and Congolese author Kawa Siwor Kamanda. This gathering was very successful as much in its organisation as its objectives. The colloquium also made it possible to identify Johannesburg as an important relay of compared African literature in Southern Africa from the viewpoint of a regional research platform.