Primacy, polemic, and paradox in Ken Bugul’s The abandoned baobab
Arguably considered the prototype of African postcolonial feminist writing by reason of its poignant depiction of taboo subjects such as lesbianism, prostitution, drugs, and suicide, Ken Bugul’s The abandoned baobab has elicited sustained interest from the academy. This paper seeks to contribute to the debate by examining the strands of counter-discourse and postcolonial complicity within the context of the primacy ascribed to myths, the baobab, and the mother. It is driven by nativism and postcolonial theory. Far from constituting impregnable defense systems against hegemony, these primal forces prove to be limited in their protection of the protagonist. The paper concludes that even if the narrative foregrounds the mirage of hermetic identities and norms, it also defends Afrocentric development in the postcolony.
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