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Contesting the Religious Civilizing Mission of Empire in Hispanophone African Literature

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Hispanophone literature of Equatorial Guinea is characterized by a systematic engagement with its present and past history. In the light of this, the legacy of Spanish colonization in that country and its repercussions are issues that its writers grapple with in their work. Las tinieblas de tu memoria negra (1987), considered one of the foundational fictions of this literature, dedicates itself to laying bare the machinations of Catholicism, a crucial element of Spanish colonization. Our study of Donato Ndongo's novel reveals the complex processes involved in the Europeans' push to establish religious hegemony and the natives' response to this. We argue that the novel dwells on the very contradictions such an intricate interrelationship brings about, but, ultimately, demonstrates the subtle yet powerful ways in which the hegemonic impetus of Catholicism is countered.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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