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AFRREV LALIGENS: An International Journal of Language, Literature and Gender Studies

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The Image of Expatriates in Modern African Drama: A Study of Selected Plays by African Playwrights

E Ifejirika

Abstract


In the unholy romance between Africans and Expatriates from Europe, Asia and America, which culminated into colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism, African playwrights, observed and portrayed Expatriates in their actions, and interaction with Africans. These Expatriates, claimed to have come as agents of civilization, beacons of light, civil administrators, missionaries, merchants and law enforcement agents. In spite of these claims, literary artists, especially playwrights, presented on stage their perception of the personalities of Expatriates, roles and actual influences in Africa. In the three plays selected for this study: The Trial of Dedan Kimathi, I Will Mary When I Want and Sizwe Bansi Is Dead, African playwrights perceived and depicted Expatriates, especially in East and South Africa as Exploiters, high-handed administrators, false religious leaders, exploitative and collaborative missionaries, apartheid initiators and sustainers, imperialists, colonialists and agents of impoverishment. From the inception to the end of the plays, no single work of mercy, or developmental attributes was credited to the Expatriates. The study cumulatively reveals that Expatriates in East and South Africa came to Africa on selfish grounds because the playwrights revealed that they (Expatriates) came to Africa with the Holy Bible in their left hands and Guns in their right hands. Significantly, the two objects served as instruments of colonization, oppression and deprivation.



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