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Armah, Ayi Kwei

MICHELLE LYNN BROWN

Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


Extract

Ayi Kwei Armah, born in 1939 in Takoradi, Ghana, is a novelist, essayist, scholar, and short story writer. He is best known for his historical fiction depicting the advent of the Arabic and European slave trades in West Africa, and the deleterious effects of colonialism and neocolonialism both on the African individual and on African national economies, institutions, and cultures. The fiction and nonfiction work of Armah, a pan-Africanist, recalls the ancient connections among the communities across the continent and exposes the insidious ramifications of divisions imposed or exacerbated by slave traders, forced religious conversions, imperialism, colonialism, and postcolonial government corruption. His body of work does not romanticize a return to precolonial scenarios, but instead depicts the postcolonial social problems concomitant with retaining colonial institutions historically designed to oppress. Armah was educated in missionary schools and completed his secondary education at Achimota. He then worked as a scriptwriter, reporter, and announcer at Radio Ghana. Beginning in 1959, he spent four years in the United States at the Groton preparatory school and then at Harvard University, where he studied literature and sociology. He left Harvard before completing his undergraduate degree to join liberation struggles in southern Africa. Influenced by the work of the Martiniquan ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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