Encyclopedia of African Literature

By Simon Gikandi | Go to book overview
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Zamenga, Batukezanga

b. 1933, Kolo-Luozi, Congo-Zaire; d. 2000, Congo-Zaire

novelist and essayist

During his lifetime, Zamenga was the most widely read writer in Congo-Zaire. His simply constructed, often melodramatic tales taken chiefly from real-life situations appealed to an audience of readers who could relate to them and who found inspiration in the author's moral perspective. Publishing exclusively in local presses, such as Éditions Saint-Paul-Afrique, Éditions Basenzi, and Éditions Zabat, he produced around two dozen titles, many of which have become classics of a sort in the nation's literary canon. In Carte postale (Postcard), which has sold over 55,000 copies since its publication in 1974, Zamenga uses the experiences of an African student who goes to Europe to attend university to satirize both the colonizer's claims of cultural superiority and the alienation of the been-to from his society. Zamenga was educated in Belgium, where he studied applied social sciences. He was a contributor to the review L'Étoile du Congo on sociological subjects and served as director of SONECA, the national society of editors, composers, and authors.

Further reading
MacGaffey, Wyatt (1982) "Zamenga of Zaire: Novelist, Historian, Sociologist, Philosopher and Moralist," Research in African Literatures 13, 2: 208-15.


Zanga Tsogo, Delphine

b. 1935, Cameroon

feminist and writer

The Cameroon writer Delphine Zanga Tsogo was trained as a nurse in France and came to literature late in life with the publication of Vie de femmes (Life of Women) in 1983. She creates in this work, which has a very autobiographical flavor (see autobiography), a society where a woman, whatever her status, is reduced to marginalization, caught in a trap of numerous contradictions owing to the encounter of an omnipresent tradition and a poorly domesticated modernity (see modernity and modernism). The feeling of an existence led under the high surveillance of patriarchal society is what inspired L'Oiseau en cage (Caged Bird) (1984). If Zanga Tsogo shows her commitment to questions of gender (see gender and sexuality), she nevertheless retains a moderate tone in her works. Beyond literature, Zanga Tsogo has been an active participant in the struggle for women both in Cameroon and in the rest of African, serving in leading organizations committed to gender equality. She has served in the leadership of, among others, the Conseil Nationale des Femmes Camerounaises (National Council of Cameroonian


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