living in a time, individuals and generations do not exactly know what they are contributing in their history. Writers might have an idea that their work will be cited and used in the time to come, yet they do not have an exact idea about how their work will be used in the future and what position will it hold. The African writers have been writing about their culture like authors around the world. These writings are a source of information for us today to find what the culture of Africa is. The paper studies how the African authors have defended their culture and the journey of culture through time.

What is the contribution of African writers in defense of their culture?

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African Authors

The African writers have taken special interest in writing about the general harmony as well as the common contrasts. Popular African authors like Chinua Achebe, Alan Paton, and Abraham Verghese etc. have written extensively about the colonial domination. The colonial era of the Africa brought suppression that also affected the culture of the land. In that time, people managed to live by their own culture. While many African countries today follow the European culture, there are many still following their tribal culture. The conquered people had a great impact on the language, dressing and lifestyles of the people yet the cultural destruction affected the national reality. The writers have written about how the natives were banned from their customs.

The African culture was once accustomed to the fences and signposts. The national culture of the Africa lies between the inherited traits from forefathers and the customs of the colonizers (Speech by Frantz Fanon at the Congress of Black African Writers, 1959). Africa’s national culture, as affected by colonial control is questioned that was systematically influenced. The African authors have written extensively about the language, lifestyle, status of women and handicraft in their culture.


The African language and culture is a mixture of Modernism, Christianity and Islam. The rural and urban people speak different African languages in which English and Arabic are the dominant languages. All the African languages are full of stories while the storytellers translated the foreign works into African languages. The African people were more used to collection of oral traditions but they learnt to translate the work into local languages after their interaction with other nations. The language of Africa has a huge influence of Arabic and European invaders. Today Arabic is the national language of many African countries. In the 20th century, there was a shift from oral traditions to the rise of literary traditions. The famous names in oral tradition include Amos Tutuola, Yoruba, Mghayi, and Mario. Initially the African authors were not able to produce very influential literature but their work simply served as a bridge between oral and written forms of literature. One of the initial African writers that could successfully use modes of literature was Guybon Sinxo. He wrote famous novels of Xhosa. That is how the Africans literature started its journey. The Alhamric literature in Ethiopia is also very famous and its actual growth was experienced after the World War II (The influence of oral traditions on modern writers, 2013).


Africa, during one time in history remained insolent from the outer world. Yet its authors mention how it was a living place of people from diverse background. The Africans have always been fond of entertainment, colors and lifelines (Speech by Frantz Fanon at the Congress of Black African Writers, (1959). The Christian influence of the Africa promoted the Sunday afternoon cocktail parties whereby families would meet and have a good time. The restaurants have been a part of their culture and authors suggest that even during colonization, the Africans were never lifeless enough to forget about having a time out for entertainment. Food and bonfires have been discussed in African literature extensively.


Family was considered very important in the African culture and people considered women as a delicate member of not only society but also the family. Chinua Achebe states that the Africans never thought low of a family system. Munthali (2013) writes that the family in African culture was considered a resort where man comes for seeking peace after completing the duties of the world. Chinua is well appreciated as an icon of African literature and he says that Africans believe in Umunthu. They believe that a man can never live in isolation. Thus, home is a place where he belongs. He negated that things did not fall apart under British influence in Africa rather the people continue to observe their culture and continued to have their own ways of life even in suppression. The Africans have never been individualistic, as quoted by African authors, they were rather family men and even they are today (Munthali, 2013).


Both the Islamic and Christian influence on the African culture remains to date and was not erased by the colonizers. The dolls, pottery, beadwork and metal ware of Africa has reached all the corners of the world. Even before the world could actually see these, the African writers have created a market for them by discussing their handicraft. The African handicrafts like wood work have been the high demand item given their historic affiliation. Africans writers have written about how their craftsmen use to carve figures and faces that are full of life. The African artists would paint a Negro in a way that he would look more appealing than a European.

Defending Culture

The African authors have done a great job in defending as well as promoting their culture. The world recognizes African culture today as the one that is historically practiced by the people of Africa. The authors have preserved this history and told the world how the women have continued to wear the same jewelry since the time pyramids were build. The African authors have not only encouraged people during the tough historic times to follow their culture but also they have preserved the culture in their writings. Besides telling that it was achievement of Africans and not the colonizers that African culture flourished, the authors also promoted the culture by painting it in their writings and associating it with their pride. The African art is a classic display of African bravery and struggle for survival. From the story of goddesses to the wisdom behind African clothing, they preserved and promoted everything to keep it from being influenced by the foreign culture. The Africans take pride in and are thankful to Chinua Achebe who negated that African culture fell apart during invasions. He suggested that the people of the land have benefitted from foreign cultures in terms of learning and yet they never gave away their own culture. For the purpose of growth, he says that Africa people never ignored the value of their families that was considered heart of their lives. The narration of religious matters of the Africans in their literature helped them accept their traditions in the present times. Abraham Verghese was an Indian born in Ethiopia who has written a lot about African culture and its richness. He has lived in Africa both during the time of peace and war and he closely observed the culture. Many other African authors have also written about the folk stories and how it shaped the lives of people. The African authors have given stories of brave heroes to their people to remind them of heroic icons they have and also to tell the world that the Africa is a land full of their legends. The African legends, like many others, believed in courage and dignity. While many consider that African heroes used to be savage, the African authors defend how the heroes of Africa had great and soft hearts and respect for families despite some enmity among nations. It is the African authors that told the world that slavery of Africans never told about their cowardliness but that how the people managed to survive even after ages of slavery. Hard work and toil did not kill the Africans but helped them continue to survive and fight against the slavery to a day when they .


History is made by people and saved by the authors of a land. It is the people with pen that tell the coming generations how their forefathers lived. Likewise, the African authors have written about their culture and defended it. These African authors told the world and coming generations that the land is home to people that love their families and respect women to an extent that they give them the status of goddesses. The African people kept their culture alive even after centuries of oppression by invaders. The artifacts and handicraft of Africa still offers a picture of how the people lived in past and that what are the values of Africans. Hard work and toil is African icon on one hand and bravery and courage on the other.


Speech by Frantz Fanon at the Congress of Black African Writers, (1959), Retrieved from:

Munthali, G.C., (2013), “Belated Eulogy for Chinua Achebe: He defended the African Culture,

Our Culture has .” Retrieved from:

The influence of oral traditions on modern writers, (2013), retrieved from: