Quote of the week and the African artist’s responsibility


"For us Africans, literature must serve a purpose: to expose, embarrass, and fight corruption and authoritarianism. It is understandable why the African artist is utilitarian."

— author and playwright, Ama Ata Aidoo

I've heard African creatives (whether writers, fine artists etc.) protest that they feel they are expected to be political or to somehow have their work address the cause of bettering our continent. That they can't just produce art for art's sake. A lot of ingenious creatives do manage to serve this serious purpose through works that are also very witty, clever and generally entertaining. Ama Ata Aidoo is a great example with stories such as Our Sister Killjoy and The Dilemma of a Ghost.

What are your thoughts on the expectation that African arts should serve a utilitarian purpose? Limiting or essential?


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