Literature and Leadership Crises in Africa: Current Realities and Future Prospects

Olalekan O Oladipupo


The paper critically examines diachronically, the phenomenal mediating role of literature in challenging character deficit exhibited by political leaders across Africa since the dawn of the wave of independence of many African states. Writers employ different genres to portray crisis of leadership that manifests through draconian problems like poverty, endemic diseases, civil wars, and abuse of political power, corruption, weak institutions, dilapidating social infrastructure and deplorable education system among others which are the basis of stunted development across the continent. The utilitarian attribute of literature imbues it with the implicit insight to explaining aspirations and pains of the people thus bringing to the fore the failure of leadership in strategic areas. The study, which is executed through random selection of related texts across all the genres of literature, explores the works of writers from different African regions and how they exploit the idiom of that society to interrogate problems peculiar to the environment. In relating their stories, different narrative strategies adopted are interrogated as they reflect the gravity and enormity of these problems, and also to interpret their perspectives or the solutions they proffer. It is evident in this study that literature as the closest imitation of human society does not only serve as the arbiter of values and social responsibility, its protean nature reflects the incisive critique of the nature and conditions of the human society, and the opportunity to redress all abuse and promote a better society.


Africa, literature, leadership, politics, society, literary criticism

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