FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, October 10, 2021
balooy2k@gmail.com
Arizona, USA
2021 NOBEL LAUREATE IN LITERATURE:
ABDULRAZAK GURNAH AND THE DEMERITS AND EVILS OF COLONIALISM IN AFRICA

2021 Nobel Laureate in Literature: Abdulrazak Gurnah

"Neo-colonialism is more evil than colonialism. Neo-colonialism has eaten deeper into the mental palace and consciousness of Africans." - Yahaya Balogun

"Writing is like a joyful journey into another blissful world. The more you travel with imagination, the more you see some of the world's hidden treasures, beauties, and sights." - Yahaya Balogun

he Tanzanian writer Abdulrasak Gurnah has joined the league of African writers and Novelists to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Professor Wole Soyinka was the first Black African winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986. Abdulrasak Gurnah was the first winner after my quintessential black AmericanToni Morrison won it in 1993. Abdulrazak Gurnah clinched the award in more than a decade after six Africans won it: Wole Soyinka of Nigeria won the prestigious award in 1986, Naguib Mahfouz of Egypt, who won in 1988; and the South African winners Nadine Gordimer in 1991 and John Maxwell Coetzee in 2003. The British-Zimbabwean novelist Doris Lessing won in 2007.

Abdulrasaq Gurnah was prestigiously honored for "his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee in the gulf between cultures and continents," Gurnah has registered in the conscience and consciousness of everyone the positivity humanity should espouse at all times. Therefore, reading the thoughts of the impeccable and literary man-Abdulrasak Gurnah, you will not only get subsumed in the past and present but your mind will also be unconsciously corded with the future of humankindness.

Meanwhile, writing transcends any mundane and existentialism of life. Writing is an indescribable passion that lures writers into an imaginative venture and uncharted territory. The minds of writers travel more than a thousand times in a day. Writing is like a joyful journey into another blissful world. The more you travel with imagination, the more you see some of the world's hidden treasures, beauties, and sights. Every sentence or page in Abdulrasak's works of art is precisely luring and reflective and leisurely additive. Every reader is always tempted to go back to open his book of combined simplicity, treasure, and humanity.

Abdulrasak Gurnah is a consistent writer who has pounded the conscience and consciousness of the world. So it's not surprising that the simple and humble man won the prestigious prize in Literature. Abdulrasak Gurnah started writing at the age of 21, and 51years later, at 72 years of age, he won the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. Abdulrasak Gurnah is now recognized by the highest body of the Nobel Prize for his sterling consistency, and impeccable contributions to Literature and humanity. But, unfortunately, Abdulrasak Gurnah was relatively obscure and unknown to some of us in the ordinary streets of social life. Still, his contributions to the unification of human beings through Literature and his various writings are ingeniously unbelievable and enviable.

Fatefully, Abdurasak grew up in Zanzibar, an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania. Abdulrazak Gurnah did not dream or consider the possibility that he would be a recognized writer in the future. "It never occurred to me," he said in an interview. "It wasn't something you could say as you were growing up, 'I want to be a writer.'" He assumed he would become "something useful, like an engineer."

As fate would have it, in 1964, a violent uprising forced Gurnah to flee to England when he was 18. An unfortunate, miserable, poor, homesick boy began to write scraps about home in his diary, then longer entries, then stories about other people. "Those scattered reflections, the habit of writing to understand and document his own dislocation, eventually gave rise to his first novel, then nine moreŚworks that explore the lingering trauma of colonialism, war, and displacement." "The thing that motivated the whole experience of writing for me was this idea of losing your place in the world," he said. So apt! We are the author of our own life. No one will write your own story with the correct phrasing and recollections it deserves.

Colonialism was an avoidable menace to Africa. The aftermath of the evils of colonialism has had monumental effects on African mental nomenclature. The indeliberate ignorance of our forefathers gave the colonial masters and their neocolonialists the future leverage. They colonized and recolonized Africa's mental wellness. Abdulrasak's books and Literature are not only rivetingly unputdownable, but they have also consistently prodded the minds of the troubled world.

Abdulrazak Gurnah has written ten novels. He has often explored the themes of exile, cultural identity, and belonging. His works include "Memory of Departure," "Pilgrims Way," and "Dottie," all deal with the immigrant experience in Britain; "Paradise" was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1994. The story was about a boy in an East African country scarred by colonialism, and "Admiring Silence" is about a young man who leaves Zanzibar for England, where he marries and becomes a teacher. His most recent work, "Afterlives," explores the generational effects of German colonialism in Tanzania and how it divided every community in Tanzania.

According to Anders Olsson, the committee chair that awards the prize, he said at the news conference after the award that Gurnah "is widely recognized as one of the world's more pre-eminent post-colonial writers." Gurnah "has consistently and with great compassion, penetrated the effects of colonialism in East Africa and its effects on the lives of uprooted and migrating individuals," he added.

Interestingly, it's welcoming to see how the great-grandchildren of African Colonial Masters recognize the evils and effects of colonialism and how the great-grandchildren of the victims of colonialism are being reimbursed through their mental ingenuity. Abdulrasak's prestigious award and recognition is an eye-opener for African leaders in various spheres of human endeavors. The universal recognition of Abdurasak Gurnah must wake up Africans to take back the remnants of the wreckage of our collective cognition. We must use this unique moment to reorder our lost values and cultural heritage in Africa. We must severance our cords from mental slavery and liberate the continent of Africa from socio-economic, political, and religious nuances.

Congratulations to Abdulrasak Gurnah. Congratulations to Africa and the great people of Tanzania as their immigrant son registered their country's name in the book of the giants of World Literature and Nobel Prize.

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