International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Osundare’s Proverbial Illocution of Stolen African Artifacts: The Shame of Europe and the Agony of Africa
Yomi Okunowo

A telling European vandalism wreaked on African continent is the looting of Africa’s visual artifacts and the desecration of African royal palaces and places of worship. This paper analyzes how Osundare, using African proverbs, makes meaning, projecting the shame of Europe, the agony of Africa and the demand for universal justice in one of his poems in which African artifacts are the subject of imagination. The historicity of stolen African artifacts is well documented and known. This is in spite of the European art historians and dealers’ shameless polemic of ownership in an attempt to erase or rewrite the history. What continues to generate controversy, because it centrally borders on the right of the victim to seek reparation on and repatriation of these Africa’s treasures, is the refusal of those who perpetrated the rubbery to return thousands of these looted visual artifacts. The economic and psychological implications for Africa are unquantifiable. While Europeans and their American collaborators are reaping from where they did not sow, exhibiting and auctioning these timeless ancient African treasures, satisfying their orgy of perverse art pleasure, the original creators and owners are made to continue to fight to retrieve what rightly belong to them and what should have been honorably returned by those who violently carted them away. The loss of these treasures regularly occupies the creative imagination and muse of African writers in manner that brings back tragic memories and the need to seek redress of these centuries of injustice in the global arena of human right court. Such is the poetic rhetoric of Osundare. Osundare proverbially illustrates the essence of these cultural icons, musing the shamelessness of the perpetrators and the agony of the victim, using African proverbial text as a trope of meaning. Bursar

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