Friday , April 23 2021

The apology of the Senegalese novel Aminata Sow Fall

Alain Mabanckou considered her "the greatest African novelist". This public love declaration, that you & # 39; t provide in & # 39; A Congo writer in March 2016 in the Collège de France will remain with Aminata Sow Fall. At 77, she probably does not have the footage that she has left in generations of African writers. "He says that because he loves me," she smiled as a little girl intimidated. His latest book, The Empire of Lies, published in 2018, tells the story of three families from a worker of unemployment, where & # 39; it was actually defeated by floods.

"Poverty is not a crime"

Aminata Sow Fall is a pioneer. An "indispensable" author, according to Mame-Fatou Niang, professor of French and French literature at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA. "She is one of a few African female writers who have been classified in French literature and not French in many American universities," she says.

In her 45-year career, this Senegalese, who's called in an old family of Saint-Louis, has published dual novels and collections that have become classic words in Afro schools and beyond. His compromising writing shakes the dissolution of the Senegalese post-independent society. Under his sharp pain, the Aminata Sow Fall sends out the powerful, "politically-financial bourgeoisie" for power and social climbs, guilty of & # 39; decolonization. And, in the same spirit, she offers her voice to those who remain out of development. "Memory is not a crime", she tells us again, sitting in her plush living room of her villa.

The former professor of letters black she has no dream of a literary career. The writing was born of a need, at the age of 32. In 1973, after seven years of study in La Sorbonne, she returned to Senegal. But the joy of a return journey soon gave an abuse. "The bourgeoisie that had established itself indepen- dently had removed our values. The wealthy exhibit their money and despised those who did not have it. Good, you are nothing," he looked back.

There follows an existential question that tempts them, in their matrimonial loss, life to the story of Bakar, honest, but victim. Moral values ​​cannot be eaten, Bakar sinks into decadence to survive. He will even say that he is dead to recover money from his own funerals who have collected his family, who had left him for his poverty.

A successful satire

The Revenant, a successful first attempt, has never published. The Senegalese publisher considered it "local" for the international brand, in particular the royal road for French-speaking African authors. An immense argument for Aminata Sow Fall, that & # 39; thinks literature is above all universal. "All peoples ask themselves the same outstanding questions. How to live? How to survive? The literature answers. They can't be local!", They say today, to find a flight of their big orange building.

The book was published three years later. One day she heard on radio Emmanuel Roblès, a member of Goncourt's jury, told her in a chronicle: "This young lady, it is necessary to follow it. The provision will speak well. The Strike of Battu's second novel, 1979, opens the doors of literary salons, this successful satire has a rebellion of beggars in Dakar, Aminata Sowfal understands, the time of the premises, the power population between the rich and the poor. writing an internal uprising and asking for the human condition.

"One day, a politician started off when" human waste "that Dakar carried to attract tourists. Nevertheless, the rich need these bidders, but they deserve it, they have fun [obligation sociale et religieuse au Sénégal]. They do not give out of any generosity, but to hold a prescription of their marabout. They provide algae for a task, for example. So I asked myself: What, if all the bidders, against despising the empire, deserve to accept their offerings? "

The ironic novel, which tells the psychological link, caused by this unexpected revolt, is being criticized. Shortlisted for Goncourt in 1979, this second work won the prestigious Black Africa Grand Prix in 1980. Translated into several languages, including Mandarin, was screened in 2000 by Malian filmmaker Cheick Oumar Sissoko.

Refunds to define herself as a feminist

These new kingdoms move their beautiful characters, Aminata Sow Fall. They benefit from the civic modesty they've raised. His father was mayor general of the Banque de France in colonial Senegal. Married to three women, he has put his large family in a cozy house in Saint Louis. He dies then & # 39; t Aminata is 8 years old. His mother, first wife, will become the head of his family. "I grew up in a happy and affectionate family. My mother makes us good, without harm to us. His moral values ​​had enough to direct us."

The matriarch, returning figure in the work of Aminata Sow Fall, collects around her, in the Sunday meal, the future elite of the country. It is the companions of his children, students of the prestigious Lycée Faidherbe de Saint-Louis, who then train the directors of French-speaking Africa. A "cocoon" there is Aminata Sew Fall blooming. In Senegal is still under colonial and conservative administration, it breaks great food. Her parents do not ignore their domestic activities, the burden of the girls of their age. This freedom gives him precious time to nip the works of a family library.

"No one believed it was great for me to read that," she says. In the midst of books of all kinds, she fascinates a French work, Tristan and Yseult, read "about fifty times" and where & # 39; they can continue through their hearts. "I was struck by the irrational power of this story. The filter of love went against what I thought of the west. For me, Westerns lived in a Cartesian and logical world. So I had some common with this world."

The success of a writer diminished with the emergence of other African writers on the French-literary mark, such as Mariama Bâ, author of Une's longtime writing, which disappeared in 1981. However, Aminata Sow Fall placed her focus on other theme & # 39; s then talk or polygamy, topics expected by the critics. Although her works speak of & # 39; strong women & # 39;, she herself refused to define herself as feminist. "Instead of asking women," I am the same as "a man", we must first learn to organize their lives, to look after their children, to get to know them. to defend, "she says.

"Population type"

But then, how do you defend yourself as a woman in a patriarchal community? "You have to train boys and act in the confidence of little girls," she says. "I never asked if I could do anything a man does, but in my family boys and boys were treated. I did not suffer from this complex," hammered them, many armours.

Travelers considered that it is not disconnected from the & # 39; reality; the Senegalese women. Feminists wish him. Like this American professor of Yale University, she denied that one of her students does a dissertation at Senegales, for the reason that she does not defend women in her writing. The story of a misunderstanding, according to academic Mame-Fatou Niang, novelist author of the novelist: "We would like to keep a feminist label, because it's a writer. However, in her works, Aminata has Sow Fall in handing over, she is not in the judgment. "

Even community of denial. In Léopold Sédar Senghor's country, her attitude is surprising and amusing. "By Sine Saloum [région d’origine de Senghor]People should not accuse them negatively of wearing them. Senghor previously advised racist philosophers for whom Africa has no civilization, "she pointed out. In a novel The Ex-Father of the Nation (1987), some critics believe in" the main character – a discounted dictator – The character of Senghor: What the novelist always provided, she returns it to & # 39; the disadvantage "does not do politics".

Treat national languages

With the first Senegalese president, Aminata Sow Fall shares a taste for literature and culture. Like him, she has national languages. She speaks her novels with words in Wolof, as in La Grève des Batttu, the last word that means the bullet offers to passers-by. These roots gave her to publish and live their books in Senegal in the land of their seven children. One of them, the famous rapper Abass Abass, had become his passion. "He says my moral education rejects its texts, it has a lot of influence on me," says this great musician, inclusive.

The features of the lettres sénégalaises lead to a discrete life in the capital. She doesn't go out much, as if she were protecting her from social violence. In his eyes, the economic development for all promise by successive leaders has not broken the bridge between poor and rich. In & # 39; it's before it's enlarged. One night, at the theater, she is shocked by the spectacle offered by a part of the audience. Men and women showcases on grits on stage. Honest way to see her fortune. That night woke her up in her. "What comforts! These sums can have helped a lot of bad help," she says, becoming more famous at 77 years.

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