African Dawn

Keïta Fodéba and the Imagining of National Culture in Guinea

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Andrew W. M. Smith University of Chichester

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This article addresses the cultural activity of Keïta Fodéba, a popular musician, poet, dramatist, and ultimately prominent member of the independent Guinean government. His experiences during the 1950s reflect emergent trends during this period of profound negotiation, in which the terms of the “postcolonial” world were established. Fodéba was a formative figure in the emergence of Guinean national culture but also played an important role in providing Guinea’s independence movement with a renewed impetus beyond Marxist ideology and demands for political equality. Using archival material that reveals French metropolitan fears about his activities, one gains insight into the networks of anticolonial activism with which he engaged. Following Fodéba, from his triumph on Broadway to his death at Camp Boiro, gives new perspectives on his challenging work and offers greater insight into the transfers and negotiations between metropole, colony, and beyond that characterized the decolonization process.

Contributor Notes

Andrew W. M. Smith is Senior Lecturer in contemporary history and politics at the University of Chichester, and Secretary of the Society for the Study of French History.century European history with an emphasis on France, his research has focused primarily on the life and career of Gustave Hervé.

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