International Journal of
English and Literature

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. English Lit.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2626
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJEL
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 261


Epistemological and moral implications of characterization in African literature: A critique of Patrick Chakaipa’s ‘Rudo Ibofu’ (love is blind)

Munyaradzi Mawere
Department of Humanities, Universidade Pedagogica, Mozambique
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 26 November 2010
  •  Published: 31 January 2011



This paper examines African epistemology and axiology as expressed in African literature through characterization, and it adopts the Zimbabwean Patrick Chakaipa’s novel, Rudo Ibofu as a case study. It provides a preliminary significance of characterization in Zimbabwean literature and by extension African literature before demonstrating how characterization has been ‘abused’ by some African writers since colonialism in Africa. The consequences are that a subtle misconstrued image of Africa can indirectly or directly be perpetuated within the academic settings. The Zimbabwean novel as one example of African literature that extensively employs characterization, it represents Africa. The mode of this work is reactionary in the sense that it is responding directly to trends identifiable in African literature spheres. The paper therefore is a contribution towards cultural revival and critical thinking in Africa where the wind of colonialism in the recent past has significantly affected the natives’ consciousness. In the light of the latter point, the paper provides a corrective to the western gaze that demonized Africa by advancing the view that Africans were without a history, worse still epistemological and moral systems. The paper thus criticizes, dismantles and challenges the inherited colonial legacies which have injured many African scientists and researchers’ consciousness; it is not only against the vestiges of colonialism, but of neo-colonialism and western cultural arrogance that have been perpetuated by some African writers through characterization.


Key words: Characterization, Africa, Zimbabwe, literature, epistemology, morality, Chakaipa, ‘Rudo Ibofu’