Werewere Linking’s Ella sera de jaspe et de corail

The Cameroonian Werewere Linking’s novel Elle sera de jasper et de corail uses stylistic innovation, thus playing with through literary genres semantics, morphology to propose a recovery of women’s voices through poetics, aesthetics, and imagination. The text aligns with a broader movement for women empowerment very present in the post-independence discourses across the African countries. As some African women writers, scholars and activists adopted the term African womanism or African feminism to conceptualize a theoretical framework that considered the particularities of women’s condition in African societies, the Cameroonian writer Werewere Liking, through her multiple narrators, discuss women’s situation in Africa and demands women’s empowerment, however the writer refuses to utilize any concept which has connection to Western epistemology. She creates the neologism misovire, which literally means male hater to her main the narrator.

Liking’s misovire uses the power of imagination to create, through the literary, a place which subverts the dichotomies by challenging paradigms which have determined our ways of thinking and conceptualizing. Though her message, the misovire demands gender equity, it is through her textual liberation and experimentation that the author imagines this world which dilutes gender, racial, social, religious and national barriers. By placing at the center of her writing, the literary text itself, the writer, through her mixing of poetry, manifesto, novel and theatre, envisages a space which permits freedom from patriarchal norms and colonial language.

Werewere Liking defines her work as a chant- roman or a journal that contains nine sections or chapters. Each section deals with a different aspect of her project that envisages a new race or a new human being. The creation of a new humanity that shall be colorful, made of jasper and coral which overcomes the dichotomies created during the colonial period, either black/ white, or colonized/colonizer should be diluted, thus proposing other ways of thinking For the misovire, our episteme has been tainted and our way of conceptualizing has been determined by a historical past. She deconstructs paradigms through her poetics, thus giving place to colors which are blended with the senses, almost in a synesthetic way. By transforming black and white in her bright light colors of jaspe and coral, the writer gradually gives place to a new human being who inhabits her created space which she calls Lunai.

While creating the new human being, she experiments a textual liberation that disconnects her creative writing from western impositions. Breaking up with genre conventions in this work means not only a form to express the inability of approaching Africa through Western literary conventions, but also a strategy to create new discourses towards the continent. Within a tension which reflects the process of creation, through metalinguistics, Elle Sera de Jasper et de Coral attempts to explain itself, avoiding misinterpretations. By saying that her work is not autobiographical, she tries to avoid a western voyeuristic gaze. For the narrator, voyeurs need to gaze the private life of Lunai people but she refuses to satisfy the outsider’s gaze through her art. As she says:

Vous placerez tout ce que vous voudrez et vous pourrez même vous placer si ce n’était encore fait. N’ayez pas peur de parler de votre vie privée c’est souhaité: on est vouyer et l’on que l’art autobiographique à Lunai…( Liking 112)

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