Icon of Enchanting Realism In African Literature

-By Chidi Maduka

It is sad to hear that Elechi Amadi has joined our ancestors, leaving us with the echoes of his prodigious achievements as a  memorable lyrical prose writer vibrating in his novels, plays and essays.  His diction resonates with poise, clarity and simplicity.

Of significance is his felicitous domestication of the 19th-caentury  European quasi-scientific, crisp mode of the rendition of the novel, known as Realism. He innovatively africanised the genre by given  it an enchanting touch that is characteristic of the mythic undercurrent of the interrelated art forms of drama, poetry, narrative, dance, music and planning embedded in African oral literary performance. The real plays are predicted on the surreal through  the narrator’s dispassionate manipulation of the tone, thereby making the text to produce the effect of enchanting realism on the reader.

His proud mastery of the Ikwerre minstrelsy enabled him to develop his cherished creative strategy (rooted in African sensibility) for combating European linguistic imperialism and defending the integrity of the contemporary African cultural experimentation that that reminds us of such writers as Soyinka (Yoruba), Achebe   (Igbo),  Okara    (Ijaw), Awoonor   (Gikuyu), Peter Abrahams (Zulu), John Pepper Clark  (Ijaw/Urhobo)  and TanureOjaide  (Urhobo).


 ElechiAmadi’s enduring legacy in  African Literature lies in his rugged  cultural nationalism which made him to drop the name Emmanuel and often pushed him to reprimand African/Nigerian critics for not rooting their practical theories in theories deriving their force from the authentic African Literary experience.


Writers and critics will ever remember the lasting significance of his presence in African  Literature. Elechi Amadi’s demise  is a great loss to humanity. 

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