By Bate Besong, Ph.D
Forthcoming: Inter’Actuel, 2006 (ed) Professor Robert Fotsing Mangoua, Universite de Dschang, Cameroon.
Anglophone Cameroon poetry, just as its dramaturgy and prose fiction counterparts, is a product of two distinct soci-aesthetic forces: the received traditionalist aesthetic practices and the aesthetics overdetermined by the nuances of Re-unification. The research seeks to correctly apprehend the artistic focus and ideological primogeniture of Anglophone exile poetry from an ideo-aesthetic perspective since, in the main, a study of Simon Mol (2002, 2004) and Kangsen Feka Wakai (2006)cannot be separated from the socio-historical,socio-political and socio-cultural contexts of “horizontal colonialism” [Doh 1993:]
Poetry then is the way in which the mythmaker relates to the political and economic conditions of his society as a means of communicating shared experiences. Modern African Literature is responsive to the laws of dialectics and is , in the long run, dependent on the very social formation of socio-economic system that engenders it.(Amuta,1988). Although Mol and Wakai’s individual contribution confirm the assertion that new historical phases and epochs generate impetus from where “revolutionary poetry finds substantial ideo-aesthetics basis of expression” [Udenta, 2001], their poetry however, is not without pitfalls.
Feka Wakai’s effusive sentimentality and excessive bohemianism could, on a careful reading, be explained away as the result of his relative youth, he can however not escape censure for his modernist abstractions, and fragmentation; his angst-filled, petty-elitist Texan-induced ideological worldview. Mol’s quasi-mystical exploration of Bakweri Ifasa Moto ontology and cosmological system, his bogus romanticism of Polish colouration, which has sometimes led to his ahistorical apprehension of the post-Re-unification social dynamics and process of revolutionary transformation, often attenuates his image imperatives and sources of signification, thereby depriving his pantheon of aesthetic edification and intensity.
On the whole, a comparative study of Mol and Wakai’s exile verse reveals a homology of vision, similar political sentiments, tinged, with the indomitable resilience of the poet driven from a contested homeland into exile. The ability to harness the problematic dialectic is what gives post-Re-unification anglophone Cameroon exile poetry its vitality, its illuminating cogency, and social relevance.(See Fandio on Besong, 2004).