The Position of The Post Colonial African
This is the new scramble for Africa. The scramble for space. A hundred years ago it was us they were fighting over. Our land, our wealth, our soul (149).
In Aminatta Forna’s novel The Memory of Love, the position of the post colonial African is exemplified through subtle and overt representations. One subtle representation occurs when Elias Cole is recalling the night in which the first man set foot on the moon. This historic event is viewed by many as something to celebrate, while Elias and his colleagues analyze the implicit meaning of the act of the space race. Julius’ friend Kekura identifies that this achievement for the western world is another example of the power colonizers seeks. He compares the colonization of African countries to the race to achieve power based upon actions involving space. This comparison emphasizes the way in which western countries become obsessed with power but are quick to move to another source of achievement. His fellow counterparts validate with his observation by agreeing with his statement. Forna utilizes this moment to express and overlying theme throughout the novel. The novel depicts three different men in Sierra Leone in two different time periods. Regardless of their individual durations of time, each of the men represents a different version of the aftermath of decolonization. Elias Cole’s story takes place directly after the decolonization of the country as political tensions and civil unrest is beginning to emerge. His narrative reflects the initial burden that the country is left with following the United Kingdom’s decision to seek power elsewhere. Both Adrian and Kai are doctors in the country a few years after the end of the Civil War. In contrast to Elias’ position, the country is not struggling to thrive without it’s successor, but attempting to recover after the aftermath of abandonment without resources to thrive. Kekura’s observation acts as a thematic plot device that highlights the overarching theme throughout the novel of living in the aftermath of conflict.