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Vem är tjuven? Sara Lidman i ett postkolonialt Kenya
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2011 (Swedish)In: Tidskrift för litteraturvetenskap, ISSN 1104-0556, no 3-4, 91-104 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Sara Lidman wrote her second autobiographical African novel, Med fem diamanter  ("With Five Diamonds"), during a prolonged sojourn in Kenya (1962-1963) where she first lived in Kisumu, in the Nyanza province, near Lake Victoria, before moving to Njeri in Gikuyland. She was accompanied by Wambui Njonjo, the country's first school inspector. The Njonjo family was close to the Kenyattas. The question in the title of the essay, “Who is the Thief? Sara Lidman in Postcolonial Kenya?”, points at the post-colonial threshold dilemma of Kenyans being both perpatrators and victims of their own fate, freed from the colonial bonds but reintroduced to economic forms of western dependence. I examine two aspects of her allegorical chronicling of Kenya 1958-1963 and the symbolic killing of Thiongo, the homosexual, by his brother Wachira, the boy pining in the servitude of both Gikuyu patriarchy and the greed of western capitalism. The two aspects relate to the dynamics and ambivalence of power. In the first section I demonstrate how 'stealing' – both as an act of aggression and one of liberation – is manifested in cultural and linguistic artefacts, in the textures of women's kangas, in a Luo legend, in Christian mission. As a postcolonial writer Lidman is unique for her time in transliterating and contextualizing (not translating) Gikuyu and Kiswahili words, proverbs and stories. In the second section 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
Lund: Föreningen för utgivande av Tidskrift för litteraturvetenskap , 2011. no 3-4, 91-104 p.
Keyword [en]
Kenyan literature, political allegory, androgynity, homosexuality, transliteration, autobiography as fiction, Gikuyu patriarchy, transgression
Keyword [sv]
kenyansk litteratur, politisk allegori, androgynitet, homosexualitet, transliteration, självbiografi som fiktion, Gikuyu patriarkat, överskridande
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-50282OAI: diva2:461202
Available from: 2012-01-16 Created: 2011-12-02 Last updated: 2012-01-16Bibliographically approved

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Granqvist, Raoul J.
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