National Character and the Narrative of Self-Image in Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom and Obasanjo’s My Watch
Adedoyin Aguoru, Ibrahim Odugbemi
Building on the view of biographical writing as a cultural practice and expression, this article adopts identity and narrative theories to discuss the interconnection between national character and identity construction in political autobiographies. It used Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom [LWF] (1994) and Obasanjo’s My Watch [MW] (2014) as primary texts. It identifies prejudice against black South Africans as the national character in LWF and postcolonial political disillusionment in Nigeria as that of MW. It further demonstrates how the personalities of Mandela and Obasanjo are rooted in role-based identity and the respective saliences that activate this identity type. Additionally, it discusses the modes of narration in the two texts. The article concludes that national character is a socio-cultural and psychological indicator that influences identity construction in political autobiographies.
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