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African Intellectual And Literary Responses To Colonial Modernity In South Africa

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Chapter Summary

South Africa, like any other African country, responded to European colonialism in a unique and distinct manner necessitated by the imperatives of its own particular history. By providing Africans with the English language, modern education and Christianity, the European missionaries created and established the cultural and political catalysts that enabled Africans not only to overturn their oppression and domination, but also to transform themselves into modern agents through political praxis. The tradition of intellectual resistance to colonialism began in the mid nineteenth century with Tiyo Soga, the first African to obtain his education in Europe. By the middle of the 1890s, practically all the Xhosa Intellectuals of the 1880s had distanced themselves from Imvo Zabantsundu in opposition to Jabavu's politics. Without self-criticism and auto-reflexivity, the transformation of European modernity into New African modernity by the New African Movement would have been impossible.

Keywords: Christianity; colonial modernity; European colonialism; Imvo Zabantsundu; John Tengo Jabavu; South Africa; Tiyo Soga; Xhosa Intellectuals



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