October 31, 2012
Literary Analysis Essay
Dismemberment of Africa
In Ngugi Wa Thiong'o's, Something Torn and New, Thiong'o seeks to explain how Africa was dis-membered and its identity was destroyed and European memory deeply embedded in its place. The colonization of Africa robbed Africa of not only the physical resources as considered by many, but the identity and memory as well, thus creating dismemberment.
Thiong'o first describes dis-membering practices as both literal and metaphorical. For he gives the examples of King Hinsta of the Xhosas in South Africa, who was beheaded by the Europeans and his head sent to a museum, an act of domination meant to show that Africans were now subservient to European interests since they had and controlled the head which is responsible for all thought processes and decisions. The metaphoric part of dis-membering took the form of separating the man from his continent through slavery.
By cutting of the man from his roots, his people and his language, his memory would be lost and replaced by the one from the new land he would be living in.
Language is the key element to the process of dis-membering and planting of European memory in Africa. He introduces two words, linguicide- defined as the total elimination of a language by whatever means necessary, willingly or violently. The other word linguifam is defined as deliberate starving of one's language. Linguicide was used on slaves and is undoubtedly still being used in countries where you cannot speak your own language but have to adapt or speak a universal language as a means of communication. Linguifam was used and is still being used in Africa where foreign languages are now considered official and above native languages and how people must use these in communicating.
In contrast to dis-membering,