Struggle to Liberate a Nascent Nation from the Corrupt Native Ruling Class and Create a Distinctive Postcolonial Identity: A Case Study of Chinua Achebe’s A Man of the People

Momtajul Islam


This paper investigates Achebe’s portrayal of postcolonial African society in his postcolonial novel A Man of the People with its societal struggles. A newly emerged native middle class played a somehow contradictory role as a social element in two different phases of colonialism, that is, colonial and postcolonial Africa. Initially, their discontent with the governance of colonial powers was principally voiced by this native class. However, the same social class reigned over these nascent African countries after independence. This privileged section of postcolonial native society replaced the ‘European’ masters in the native political power equation and kept intact the traumatic master-slave narrative of the colonial period. This research addresses the question of how Achebe is astounded by the degree of corruption, treachery and pretence of native politicians who governed the postcolonial African nations. It further expands on how Achebe, in this novel, puts in a conscious effort to create a distinctive African identity by eradicating these socio-political ills that were prevalent in postcolonial native society. A Man of the People depicts the disturbing influence of colonial experience on native people in postcolonial period and this paper aims to show how Achebe skilfully puts forward his belief in the role of national intelligentsia in the development of a new nation, as he thinks that it can significantly help in putting an end to this suppression of common men by creating a unique African identity across the world. Achebe’s belief that mass uprisings by native intellectuals could be the best way to free native countries of the postcolonial era from dishonest native politicians has been a major finding in this research paper, as this novel transpires.


Unique African Identity, African Politicians, National Intelligentsia

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