The Representation of the Negritude Movement in Wole Soyinka’s A Dance of the Forests



The Negritude movement reached the crux of its popularity in 1960s. Thinkers of this movement to defy the constant development of imperial cultural domination employed the discourse of the colonizer. For instance, they appropriated the binary oppositions which were initially propagated by colonialism but disarranged the hierarchies of importance, beauty and po wer in them. A Dance of the For ests, written in 1960, at one level is a critique of the Negritude movement. According to what has been represented in the play, Soyinka admonishes most of the theoretical principles of Negritudinism yet, at the same time, he believes in the strategic political potentialities of the movement. Claiming that cultures in Africa, as elsewhere, have never been self-directed, Soyinka questions the essentialist outlook on hist ory and race held by the Negrit udinists. In brief, he presumably does not advocate Negritudinist ideologies unless they are employed transitorily to resist imperialism.