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Love and Diamonds at a Risk: Sara Lidman in Postcolonial Kenya
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2017 (English)In: Research in African Literatures, ISSN 0034-5210, E-ISSN 1527-2044, Vol. 48, no 2, 185-199 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Swedish writer Sara Lidman (1923–2004) wrote her second African novel, Med fem diamanter [With Five Diamonds], which is the topic of this article, during a prolonged sojourn in Kenya (1962–63) where she first lived in Kisumu, in the Nyanza province, near Lake Victoria, before moving to Njeri in Gikuyuland. She was accompanied by Wambui Njonjo, the country's first school inspector. The Njonjo family was close to the Kenyattas. The title of the essay, "Love and Diamonds at a Risk", alludes to the postcolonial threshold dilemma of Kenyans being both perpetrators and victims of their own fate, freed from the colonial bonds but reintroduced to economic forms of Western dependence. I examine her allegorical chronicling of Kenya (1958–63) and the symbolic killing of Thiongo, a homosexual, by his brother Wachira, the "boy" pining in the servitude of both Gĩkũyũ patriarchy and the greed of Western capitalism. I demonstrate how "stealing"—both as an act of aggression and one of liberation—is manifested in cultural and linguistic artifacts, in the textures of women's kangas, in a Luo legend, and in a Christian mission. As a postcolonial writer Lidman is unique for her time in transliterating and contextualizing (not translating) Gĩkũyũ and Kiswahili words, proverbs, and stories. Finally, I examine how "love" or the idealization of "love", heterosexual and homosexual, deteriorates under the pressure of "thieving". In Lidman's ideal world androgynity is central. Med fem diamanter is a Kenyan novel written in Swedish.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Indiana University Press, 2017. Vol. 48, no 2, 185-199 p.
Keyword [en]
postcoloniality, Kenya, translation as language, interculturalism
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-137323DOI: 10.2979/reseafrilite.48.2.13ISI: 000404162900013OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-137323DiVA: diva2:1118025
Available from: 2017-06-29 Created: 2017-06-29 Last updated: 2017-07-26Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf