The Afro-Caribbean Link: the Urgency of History and Collective Memory in Maryse Condé's Ségou
AbstractThe French Caribbean society is an amalgam and a mosaic of racial groups and peoples that originated from Europe, Asia, Africa and, of course, from some other parts of the world. It is, therefore, normal that such racial groups find it extremely difficult to integrate and act as one people who have the same destiny. This is made worse by the fact that even the blacks, who constitute the most deprived set of people in the Caribbean Islands, can hardly come together to fight a common cause simply because they lack a collective memory about their past. Many intellectuals, writers, philosophers, poets such as Aimé, Césaire, Edouard Glissant, Léonard Sainville, Patrick Chamoiseau, Raphaël Confiant, Maryse Condé from these Islands have been trying, in their various ways, to reconstruct the African past of their people as a means of making them chart a new course in their effort to develop their islands economically, socially, politically and culturally. Maryse Condé is one writer who feels that this can be made possible by making the people know about Africa. Through such knowledge, they would be able to develop a collective memory and, thus, be better placed to solve problems of anguish and alienation that confront them in their society. This paper tries to capture this state of affairs in Maryse Condé's numerous works. But to be more precise it restricts itself to Ségou, her historical novel par excellence.
Key Words: Caribbean society, amalgam, racial groups, history, collective memory.
Global Jnl of Humanities Vol.2(1&2) 2003: 45-50