Tradition and Social Commentary in Kalu Uka’s Ikhamma and A Harvest for Ants

Ameh Dennis Akoh, Oja P. Egwemi


Kalu Uka arguably falls in the first generation of Nigerian playwrights even though his creative works have not enjoyed the much critical attention that those of his creative peers have. This neglect, nonetheless, does not diminish the quality or value of his works. The paper focuses on two of his plays (Ikhamma and A Harvest for Ants) as evidence of not only a continuing tradition of relevant commentary on the state of the nation but also as reflection of the paradox of our existence as a people; indeed it defines also the unending search for the meaning of existence that each of us is daily engaged in. The (playwright) espouses that the African man, consciously or unconsciously, engages in this search on a daily basis as he finds himself trapped between a culture where he is a custodian and another where is he seeks a friendship that ultimately drowns him. This, the plays, and indeed, the paper argue(s) makes him a perpetual slave to two cultures: one intervening and the other made subservient by either neglect or total abandonment.Keywords:  drama; tradition; criticism; Kalu Uka; history

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