This article explores how African creative artists have participated – and continue to participate – in creating African identities that promote the idea of a cultural movement of African literary Renaissance. The article divides the phases of the African literary Renaissance into four cultural movements that emerged from the struggle against colonial oppression. The cultural nationalist artistic movement of the 1950s is discussed first, followed by an analysis of the fiction produced during the armed struggles in Africa in the 1950s and 1960s. The third section focuses on the literature of hope and despair over the betrayal of the goals of liberation struggles in Africa, produced in the 1970s. The final section explores the literature published after the 1980s – a period of renewed resistance against internal and external forces that prevent the full realisation of freedom for Africans. Each of these phases in the African literary Renaissance is a separate yet connected cultural movement of African literary Renaissance rebirth that attacks oppression. The fiction is self-reflexive and questions the ideological terms by which previous creative works of fiction constructed and depicted images of Africans in the discourses of the African Renaissance. The article argues that the main contribution of African fiction is that it refuses to depict the African Renaissance as a static ideology informed by monolithic values. Instead, the range of images in the fiction written by African creative writers emphasises unity among Africans, but also shows that diverse goals and motivations, different values and alternative visions of what Africa can be, inform African literary Renaissance.
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