A vision of self-redemption: A thematic study of resistance to slavery in the works of two contemporary Ghanaian writers

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University of Cape Coast
vii, 200p. : ill
This study revisits the Trans-Atlantic slavery and analyses themes in slave resistance on the African continent, as fictionalized in Ghanaian literature. The topic, ‘A Vision of Self-Redemption: A Thematic Study of Resistance to Slavery in the Works of Two Contemporary Ghanaian Writers’, is chosen because resistance is one aspect of slavery which is downplayed in the literature. Whereas the records are eloquent on the atrocities and immorality of that evil institution, those on slave resistance on the African continent pale into insignificance. Again, too much attention is paid to colonialism in Africa whereas too little is said about slavery and slave resistance on the continent. Ayi Kwei Armah and Ama Ata Aidoo are the two main writers selected for the study. The choice of the two is informed by the fact that they are arguably the best-established contemporary Ghanaian writers, and that the theme of slave resistance runs through almost all their earlier works. In all, five themes of resistance are analyzed. The analysis foregrounds human suffering under the yoke of slavery, slaves’ unflinching desire for freedom, and the heroism of our ancestors. Others are the theme of African culpability, and the theme of hope among slaves. Among the findings of the analysis is the fact that slave resistance is precipitated by the intense suffering slaves go through; slavery is painful, and should not be allowed to happen again. Another finding is that slaves find freedom priceless and do everything possible to regain their liberty. It also comes out that slaves demonstrate they are not a mass of submissive objects that accept slavery with passive obedience. Two other findings are that slave resistance is directed against both white slavers and their African collaborators, and that there is hope for victory over slavery, some day. Also emphasized is the point that the Atlantic slave trade remains a big stain on the conscience of humanity; there is therefore the need to guard against and abort any form of exploitation of man by man at its embryonic stage before it blossoms into full-scale slavery. This is the greatest lesson the study seeks to draw attention to, so that such a catastrophe does not befall mankind again.
Trans-Atlantic slavery, Resistance to Slavery, Colonialism in Africa, Contemporary writers