Dr Amatoritsero Ede: New Horizons in International Black Literature and Culture

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Dr Amatoritsero Ede celebrated his 60th birthday on April 29, 2023. Renowned Nigerian-Canadian poet, researcher, and curator Professor Amatoritsero Ede has gained widespread recognition for his innovative approach to poetry and his work as a cultural historian. He is famous for founding and curating the Maple Tree Literary Supplement (MTLS), which features arts and culture from continental Africa and the African diaspora.

In recent years, he has focused on the concept of Afropolitanism, a cultural and intellectual movement that combines African and cosmopolitan identities.

Afropolitanism as a Cultural Movement

According to Professor Ede, Afropolitanism represents the combination of African and cosmopolitan identities, which implies transculturation, borderlessness, bi-or multi-ethnicity, bilingualism, urbanity, and worldliness. He says that it is not a new phenomenon: Africans have been circulating in transnational spaces for centuries. Afropolitanism is a powerful and successful movement that recognizes the contributions of diverse cultures and identities.

Afropolitan Literature in the Context of World Literature

Professor Ede locates Afropolitan literature within the context of world literature and recognizes its potential in fostering Pan-Africanist poetics and politics. He acknowledges the Eurocentric history of the term and calls for a broader, more inclusive definition that recognizes the contributions of diverse cultures and identities. Professor Ede warns against an isolationist approach that disconnects from the realities of Black people, both in Africa and in the diaspora, and prioritizes individual success.

Professor Ede’s Contributions to African Literature

Professor Ede’s scholarship focuses on the politico-aesthetic dimensions of Afropolitanism as a cultural and philosophical movement. His poetic work demonstrates a balance between artistic form and political engagement. His efforts helped to bypass postcolonial policing of African literature, asserting Africa’s cultural independence and imaginative integrity.

Overcoming the Challenges of African Literature

Professor Amatoritsero Ede’s contributions to African literature have helped to advance the understanding of Afropolitanism as a cultural and intellectual movement. His work emphasizes the importance of recognizing the historical effects of colonialism and ongoing struggles of Black people in Africa and the diaspora.

“For those of us that are very close to Dr Ede, we know that his life story has been an incredible journey, almost a saga, beginning with extreme and insufferable adversity to implausible global success!” – said Dr Paul Ugor, Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.