Kongi’s Harvest

Topics: Colonialism, Plays Pages: 7 (2344 words) Published: September 23, 2013
Kongi’s Harvest
President Kongi, the dictator of an African developing nation, is trying to modernize his nation after deposing King Oba Danlola, who is being held in detention. Kongi demands that Danlola present him with a ceremonial yam at a state dinner to indicate his abdication. Daodu is Danlola's nephew and heir, and he grows prized yams on his farm. Daodu's lover Segi owns a bar where Daodu spends most of his time. Segi is revealed to be Kongi's former lover. The different tribes are resisting unification, so Kongi tries to reach his goal by any means necessary, including forcing government officials to wear traditional African outfits and even seeking advice from the man he deposed. In a climactic scene at the state dinner, Segi presents Kongi with the disembodied head of her father. Post-Colonial review

Colonization and Post colonization are twin evils in the so called civilized times. During colonization criticizing the Empire was not possible. But in the postcolonial era the colonized is not spared. Personal freedom demands that a human being has the right to follow any religion and faith. According to social rights he has the right to social security, protection and participation in the cultural life of the community. But these fundamental rights were denied to the colonized and the post colonized. The writers in the post-colonial period expose the cruelty and dehumanization ruthlessly practiced on the colonized. The very means and ways by which the native was discredited become effective weapons to hit back at the colonizer. The native was demeaned as a ‘savage’, his land called ‘a dark continent’, his heart ‘heart of darkness’, his religion ‘barbarous’ and himself ‘a cannibal’. The post-colonial writers use their cultural myths to prove the ignorance of the colonizer and his racial prejudice. They prove through their myths the greatness of their religion, the cosmic vision engendered by it, the possibility of rejuvenation inherent in it and the lesson of universal brotherhood advocated by it. The writers aim at exploiting various techniques as myths, carnival, intertextuality, palimpsest, contrapuntal reading, symbol etc. to help the reader see things from a new angle so as to question the official version of history, the so-called authenticity of the canon and the authority of intellectual hegemony exercised. The difference between the post-modern writer and the post colonial writer is that the former does it to promote nihilistic playfulness, whereas the post colonial writer is always conscious of the suffering undergone by the individuals; starting from concrete experience of pain he expresses his characters’ utter disorientation at the psychic level. The post colonial writing aims at rejuvenation of the wronged colonized and restoration of their prestige and identity.

Myths engender ageless wisdom. When a writer uses it creatively and dynamically, he invests them with fresh layers of meaning and interpretation which highlight the contemporary reality. Malinowski’s observation affirms this; “Myth contains germs of the future epic, romance and tragedy” and continues that it “finds itself in certain of its forms of subsequent literary elaboration” Myth and ritual in a primitive society are the sustaining forces both in normal times and crises. No wonder all the African writers seek recourse to myths for restoring the fragmented personality of their fellowmen and reclaiming the distorted faith in their cultural tradition. Soyinka as a great traditionalist uses myths as the core of all his writings whether they are poems, fiction or drama. Kongi's Harvest, Wole Soyinka's latest play, has predictably created a sensation at Dakar, where it was presented at the Negro Arts Festival. For Soyinka has chosen a topical subject, African nationalism, and whether he tikes it nor not, his hysterical Kongi has probably been judged as much in terms of Nkrumah's ejection, for example, as by artistic merit. This reviewer...
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