The Africanized Queen: Metonymic Site Of Transformation


  • Nkiru Nzegwu


Race as a category of classification has an infamous history of injustice and domination. In late nineteenth century Africa, it was deployed in a violent agenda of empire-building, in which European superiority became the organizing principle of the new political order. Following colonization, European cultural values, social norms, and conception of reality provided the privileged frame of representation, and the standpoint for understanding Africans whom Europeans considered to be subhuman. In the views of then Governor of Lagos, Sir Hugh Clifford, Africans lacked the organizing and creative abilities that were “the particular trait and characteristic of the white man”. Vestiges of this racist legacy persist today in the West in the critical reception of the works of African artists. It underwrites the reluctance to accord intellectual sophistication to African artists, and the hesitance to grant the legitimacy of Africa’ s cultural paradigms in shaping the evaluative lens by which the creative expressions of Africans are framed. Nowhere is this ideological posture most evident as in the evaluation of the works of Nigerian’s preeminent artist, Benedict Chukwukadiba Enwonwu.