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description Journal article public Journal of Critical Studies in Language and Literature

Migration and Its Discontents: a Postcolonial Rendering of NoViolet Bulawayo's We Need New Names

Mamadou Abdou Babou Ngom
Published 2020

Abstract

This research paper is my attempt, through a blow-by-blow analysis of a fictional work of a rising star in postcolonial writing, to grapple with the manifold discontents that attend the event of migration. Migration is an astoundingly painful experience to go through, whose multifaceted toll on the subject may be beyond repair. Using NoViolet Bulawayo's We Need New names as a stepping-stone, I argue that migration, albeit a time-honoured phenomenon has picked up speed in the twentieth-century and continued into the twenty-first century with a most heavy human toll. The paper emphasizes that even though the act of migration is underpinned by a hope for betterment, it may turn out to be a damp squid. No end of landmines and hiccups dot the migratory journey. The long-suffering postcolonial subject, hallmarked by the stifling strictures of marginality owing to a long history of race-based oppression that stretches back to the gruesome eras of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and colonization, is on the receiving end of the horrors of migration. I tap into key terms in postcolonial theory cum sociology-informed perspectives to make a valid point about the dehumanizing fallout from the migratory experience.

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