The Dialectics of Indigenous Culture and Change in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart

  • Willie Hobbs III


The nature and role of colonialism in the transformation, nay destruction of the African past, and the nature of that past itself, is a matter that is far from settled. While pioneer African writers like Chinua Achebe (in Things Fall Apart) see the destruction of traditional culture in the coming of the whites, Western critics like James Clifford question Achebe's assumption about the African (Igbo) world and western interference. For the latter, the African (Igbo) world was a society in a state of cultural hybridization, harbouring, as it were, the `germ' of its own change. This paper establishes a dialectical and collaborative interpretation of such readings of the African past by both Achebe and Clifford. It illustrates that such readings, rather than being opposed to each other, exist in a context of mutual reinforcement of each other's strengths thereby providing fresh insights into the understanding of cultural change in Africa.

(The Journal of Cultural Studies: 2001 3(2): 453-461)

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eISSN: 1595-0956