‘Re-storying’ Africa: The harvest festival in Chadian writer, J.B. Seid
AbstractThis article reads the harvest festival in the preface to Joseph Brahim Seid’s 1962 Au Tchad sous les étoiles (Told by starlight in Chad) as ‘re-storying’ Africa. The coming together at harvest-time as well as the exchange of produce, evidence of social cohesion is read as reflective of the communal nature of African societies. The exuberant energy, which characterizes the evening ritual, suggestive of the ‘life surge’ or vitality associated with African people, is read as reflective of African ways of being. Sound metaphor conveys an African drum aesthetic that is read as reflective of African sensibilities. Vivid imagery and heightened poetical prose suggest ‘possession’ or transcendence and is read as reflective of the sacred or spiritual function of dance in the context of ritual. Ogunba’s (1978) discussion of the festival, Kubayanda’s (1990) scholarship on ‘Africanness’ and Senghor’s (1993) ideas on the cultural values of Africa, provide the theoretical underpinnings that inform this article.