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Between Magic and Logic: Globalization and the Challenge of Medical Collaboration in Ngugi's Wizard Of The Crow

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Perhaps one of the ways by which the Third World, especially Africa, may negotiate its position in the unfolding global politics is through what has been described as the necessary "fusion of ideas and cultures" (Anyidoho 2006:158), along an intellectual axis for Africa's developmental goals. Therefore, this paper seeks to explore one of the areas of such intellectual contributions through a reading and analysis of the developmental angle of Ngugi wa Thiong'o's latest novel Wizard of the Crow (2006). Although the novel has been aptly described as a novel that reflects "on Africa's dysfunctions… and possibilities" (Reed Business Information 2006) in the age of globalization, this paper seeks to transcend the overwhelming concern about unbridled African despotism caught in the mesh of global politics, which the author critiques in the novel and which many a reviewer has commented upon in order to consider the developmental rays of hope that fire through the narrative simultaneously. By so doing, the paper is concerned with one of the "possibilities" in the positive sense of the word along the line of the reinvention of autochthonous African medical practice, otherwise derogatorily designated as magic and sorcery. The reason is that it is obvious in the novel that there is a possibility of investing the indigenous medical practice with a logical modern appeal to the extent of finding collaboration with Western medical practice in order to earn better reception across global spatial boundaries. In the process of this exploration, I also engage the notion of modernity.

Affiliations: 1: African Literature, School of Literature and Language Studies, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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