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Analyze a Young Leader’s Ideas About Leadership According to Ferdinand Oyono's "Houseboy"

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Houseboy, the story of an African man who from a young age served white colonizers in his native Cameroun, depicts the plight of Africans who suffered brutality and subjugation under the boot of colonial authority. It offers a glimpse into the life of an articulate African, Toundi Onduo, who was at first intoxicated by the offerings of the French, and determined to assimilate into their culture, but later realized the hypocrisy of European culture and despised its rule of his people.

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The rise of government by dictatorship throughout Africa, which characterized the 1970s, perpetuated the political, economic, and social practices of colonialism. The age of independence also witnessed the emergence of social classes and class contradictions -- a development that disappointed and shocked many African writers, who created artistic works expressing disillusionment with postcolonial African society. Achebe's A Man of the People and Armah's The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born -- the novels most representative of this period -- did not fully grasp the source of the manifest contradictions. They mistakenly argued that the cause of Africa's problems lay in the new leaders' lack of moral direction. At this time, writers therefore saw their role as that of transforming society (and its leaders) by means of moral enlightenment

The works of this period thus subscribed to a liberal humanist ideology that pleaded with the oppressed. In Oyono's Houseboy, the protagonist, Toundi, dies because of the oppressive neo-colonial system.

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In this unit, we shall examine the sociology of the African novels with regards to how the African writers have been portraying the African society in their works. Many African writers present the African society, culture and personality in such manners that reveal the totality of African values. The issues of equality, cultural values and social mores are presented in manners that show the placement of attitudes and societal requirements for greatness. The values of leadership are also examined using the African leadership parametres as yardsticks. The novel x-rays the societies in order to find out how the people dictate and pilot their affairs according to stated values

The novel is a product of society and tries to direct the society by using the aesthetic medium. We explore how all these are achieved in African novels using and authors relevant to this study.

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This essay analyzes the traumas induced by colonial violence in Ferdinand Oyono's Houseboy and Maryse Condé's Crossing the Mangrove

Despite the differences between both texts, they are joined by their engagement with colonial violence in African societies, by their discursive inscription of trauma arising from such violence, and the way their portrayal of the severity of colonial violence shows the limits of trauma theory. Moreover, both novels' portrayals of bloodshed and death make them rich for a comparative study of colonial trauma. Cathy Caruth's notion of trauma inspires the use of the term in this essay.

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Cajetan N. Iheka. Research in African Literatures Vol. 45, No. 4, On Simon Gikandi's Slavery and the Culture of Taste (Winter 2014), pp. 33-49

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