Cultural synthesism as multiculturalism in Taban Lo Liyong's the colour of hope
Lumasia, Patrick C
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This study sets out to analyze cultural synthesism as multiculturalism in Taban 10 Liyong's play The Colour of Hope. This is because of Taban's artistic attempt to raise his cultural synthesism of the 60s and 70s to multiculturalism with regard to the events that followed the disputed presidential results of the Kenyan general election of 2007. It begins by looking at characters as agents of cultural synthesism so as to interrogate human interactions as sites for the revelation of attitudes, prejudices, and values. It explores characters of 'colonists' and the 'natives' as a strategy of cultural synthesism. Moreover, it moves to show that cultural synthesism is a cause of alienation, multiculturalism a way out of alienation. It then analyzes character differences in cultural perceptions with the aim of showing that these differences in perception of values and attitudes, beliefs and rituals are not only causes of disharmony in society, but are sites of cultural synthesism. Finally, it concentrates on cultural synthesism as multiculturalism which seems the only hope out of exclusionism and marginalization for the society of The Colour of Hope. Although the study does not foreground the said crisis, it is relevant to the Kenyan situation because ever since the post-election violence was brought to an end at the end of February 2008, efforts have been on-going not only to heal the nation, but to ensure that the causes of the violence are addressed so that Kenya never bums again. The study employs postcolonial theories, specifically the strands of Anglophone social and functional theory and postcolonial feminism. It also makes use of new historicism/cultural materialism. Besides, it uses semiotics and performance theory. The postcolonial theories are relevant for their concern with colonial legacies; new historicism/cultural materialism for its placement of literary texts in their historical contexts so that literature is seen to effect and affect social forces. Semiotics is key for its concern with cultural signification in literary texts. These significations are almost always allegorical and abstract, and so have to be contextualized before any meaningful interpretation is arrived at. Performance theory is handy for its specific concern for the genre of drama as an enactment of life. Regarding methodology, the study does a close reading of the text and textual criticism to unravel nuances of meaning and to read through the silences inherent in the text. It also employs library research in which it consults secondary print and electronic material so as to buttress its concerns in literary scholarship. Supervisors' advice is also sought to advise on the demands and requirements of dissertation writing. The study finds that Taban 10 Liyong in characteristic cultural materialism mode, has explored the causes of disharmony in The Colour of Hope. It discovered that cultural synthesism must be lived as multiculturalism to save society from alienation. Humanity would flourish in diversity. The study recommends that Taban's foreword be investigated further in so far as it ties to the text. Further, the re-creation of the colonial system in the 215t century provides for fertile study. Still, the text is attractive to a Marxist and feminist interrogation.