Symphony of the Oppressed: Intertextuality and Social Realism in Osundare and Sow Fall’s Aesthetics


Author: Jamiu Adekunle Olowonmi, Emmanuel Alayande College of Education Oyo, Oyo state, Nigeria
Email: [email protected]
Published: December 24, 2019

Citation: Olowonmi, J. A. (2019). Symphony of the Oppressed: Intertextuality and Social Realism in Osundare and Sow Fall’s Aesthetics. IAFOR Journal of Literature & Librarianship, 8(1).


Among many social theorists and development strategists in Africa, issues of good governance along with a desire for a responsible and accountable leadership class, have been the subject of vigorous debate on several platforms. Literary artists, as a coterie of intelligentsia, are not unaware of their own social importance in this debate. Steeped in the universe of social differentiation, this article draws on comparative studies as a critical tool to discuss and bring into the open ideas of how writers, who do not share the same genre form, use the combined dialectical skills of satire and protest. These skills are utilized to create awareness around the postcolonial conditioning of bad governance, immoral politics and socio-economic inequalities that violate human dignity and threaten people’s economic rights. Within the context of social realism, some African writers are portraying greed and tomfoolery of the elites as generating significant collateral damage, resulting into the unbridled propagation of poverty, disease and human suffocation; denying the masses productive lives. Looking specifically at Niyi Osundare and Aminatta Sow Fall, this work goes across genres and intersects national borders, privileging intertextual solidarity of texts to argue that the elitists’ culture of impunity and reduction of humanity into ghoulish suffocation through bad leadership and inhuman economic policies favors the rich and the powerful at the expense of the poor and the minorities. This paper takes intertextuality and social realism as conceptual blocks to explore how the texts of Osundare and Fall echo each other. Of particular interest here is how these texts intersect, forming patterns of motifs that rebut the efforts to oppress those not within the ruling class. The purpose of this work is to reveal how writers, using literary knowledge and imaginative scholarship, can be advocates for the humanization of their society and the strengthening of good governance.


good governance, intertextuality, social realism, social differentiation, symphony of the oppressed, accountable leadership, immoral politics, propagation of poverty