Department of Spanish and Portuguese

College of Letters & Science

Lecture by: Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo

Event Subtitle: 
Literature y Opresión: cultura y resistencia in Guinea Ecuatorial
Location: 
206 Ingraham Hall
Date: 
Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo was born in Niefang, continental Equatorial Guinea, in 1950. After having been educated by Catholic missionaries, he left his country for the first time in 1965, when he was only 14 years old, to pursue his studies on mainland Spain. From then on, he became a globetrotter. Today he is regarded as the leading contemporary writer of Equatorial Guinea, and a multifaceted artist: journalist, novelist, literary critic, essayist, researcher, anthologist, publisher, etc. His artistic development, like that of his contemporary Guinean writers, took a turn for the worse during the long years of Francisco Macías Nguema’s dictatorship (1968-1979), when all formal education and literary production was suppressed. The few writers who managed to work wrote from their countries of exile: their writing focused on exile, problems of existentialism and loss of identity, nostalgia for the homeland, dictatorship, and national unity. This group of writers became known as “la generación perdida,” the lost generation of Equatorial Guinean writers. Ndongo led this group and the era. Ndongo edited and compiled the Antología de la literatura guineana, published in 1984 in Madrid. This pioneering collection of texts included 17 poets and 12 narrators, totaling 23 different names. It was a landmark that demonstrated not only to the general public, but also to Guineans, that they had a literature of their own, and this awareness stimulated more production. In 1987, Ndongo published his first major novel, Las tinieblas de tu memoria negra. The novel’s protagonist is a nameless African child who is torn between the Catholic and African world views. The plot is largely inspired by Ndongo’s own infancy and adolescence. The 1990s in Equatorial Guinea have been called the “years of hope.” There was a surge in publications promoted by the Malabo CCH-G and Spanish publishers such as Casa de África. Ndongo contributed to this surge with a second novel, Los poderes de la tempestad (1997), a continuation of the first novel, and the second part of a planned trilogy. The child is now a lawyer who returns to his country to help with national construction with his white wife. But his idealistic optimism fades quickly. He encounters a nightmare, a country dominated by one man and his fanatical ideology. His third novel is El metro (2007), which narrates the story of an African youth, and his illegal emigration route from his local village to Yaoundé, Douala, Dakar, Morocco, Western Sahara and Spain. Ndongo is also a prolific researcher and a committed essayist with leading book titles such as: Historia y tragedia de Guinea Ecuatorial, 1977; El comercio español con África, 1980; and España en Guinea Ecuatorial. Construcción del desencuentro: 1778-1968, 1998, with Mariano de Castro, and has authored numerous articles on Guinean and African topics.