Departing from the debate between Senghor and Soyinka, my presentation discusses two historical formations. Firstly, Négritude in Francophone Africa, which reverberated in Lusophone Africa, particularly in the ways in which Amílcar Cabral posits the question of the “return to the source”. Secondly, the inexistence of a similar movement in Anglophone Africa. To make sense of such a divergence, I discuss colonial typologies, in relation to the kinds of societies they brought about. Delving into the relationship between precursor nationalist movements, such as Négritude, and postcolonialism, I briefly discuss the context of Édouard Glissant, in Martinique, where a nationalist movement has not produced independence from the former colonial power, France.
Édouard Glissant, Um Mundo em Relação (2010, EUA, 51’)
Director: Manthia Diawara; Production: Lydie Diakhaté, K’a Yéléma Productions; Editing: Laurence Attali; Cinematography: Karim Akadiri Soumaila; Sound: Didier Brudell, Karim A. Soumaila; With: Édouard Glissant; Portuguese subtitles
In 2009 Manthia Diawara, with his camera, followed Édouard Glissant on the Queen Mary II in a cross-Atlantic journey from Southampton (UK) to Brooklyn (New York), a route that so many slaves took. This poetic meditation continued in Martinique, the native home of Édouard Glissant. The extraordinary voyages resulted in the production of an intellectual biography in which Glissant elaborates on his theory of Relation and the concept of “Tout-monde.” The poet, philosopher, and novelist Édouard Glissant (1928-2011), is one of the leading contemporary thinkers in the universe of creolization, of diversity and of cultural identity.
Wole Soyinka e Léopold Senghor – Um Diálogo sobre a Negritude (2015, EUA/França/Alemanha/Portugal, 59’)
Director: Manthia Diawara; Production: Lydie Diakhaté, Jürgen Bock; Editing: Adam Khalil, France Langlois; Cinematography: Edgardo Parada, Serge Blerald; Sound: Awam Amkpa, Serge Blerald; With: Wole Soyinka; Portuguese subtitles
Based on archive material, Manthia Diawara organizes an imagined dialogue between Léopold Senghor, one of the founders of the concept of Negritude, and Wole Soyinka, a Nigerian writer awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. According to Manthia Diawara, “the film probes the current relevance of the concept of Negritude, against the views of its many critics, not only to the decolonization and independence movements of the 1950s and 1960s, but also to an understanding of the contemporary artistic and political scenes of nationalism, religious intolerance, multiculturalism, the exodus of Africans and other populations from the South, and xenophobic migration policies in the West.”