Depiction of cross-cultural conflicts in selected Ugandan novels
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This study analyzed the depiction of cross-cultural conflicts arising from Western influence on African educational, religious and socio-cultural values in eight selected Ugandan authors, namely: Wangusa, Ocwinyo, Aloka, Nyabongo, Okurut, Kyomuhendo, Bakaluba and Kaberuka, whose literary works have not received the attention they deserve. The study was guided by three objectives in particular. First, to analyze selected authors’ depiction of cross-cultural conflicts between Western and African educational values in Ugandan novels. Second, to assess these selected writers’ portrayal of cross-cultural conflicts between Western and African religious values in Ugandan novels. Third, to examine the selected authors’ representation of cross-cultural conflicts between Western and African socio-cultural values in Ugandan novels. The study adopts a qualitative study design to analyse the selected Ugandan novels. This study has used a qualitative content analysis for identification of the presence of certain concepts, words, phrases, themes, characters, or sentences within texts to unfold subjective interpretation of the novels. Secondary sources supplemented the primary sources. The study was undertaken in the framework of postcolonial theory. The study found that, in the education arena, the writers depict the educational systems in the novels as full of conflicts in comparison to the traditional African education. The education system is found to be characterized by irrelevancy and exemplified by cram work/rote learning, use of a foreign language, authoritarianism and corporal punishment. Besides, the system is portrayed as full of immorality, corruption, bullying and gender based biases. In the area of religion, the Ugandan novelists are found to portray cross-cultural conflicts arising from sexual immorality, religious clashes, hypocrisy, syncretism, baptismal rites, polygamy, and interpretation dilemmas. On the socio-cultural aspect; rape, virginity, arranged marriage, bridal wealth, polygamy, circumcision and community orientation are found to be the major areas of cross-cultural conflicts. We conclude that the society created by the Ugandan novelists is full of cross-cultural conflicts in the educational, religious and sociocultural arenas. These may be fictitious but they represent one historical reality. Several recommendations are made. Further literary scholarship should focus on inter-ethnic cultural conflicts within Africa, or within Ugandan space, which this study has assumed constant. Further studies could also analyse conflicts within the characters in Ugandan novels. Since Ugandan novels are very rich in orality and use of local languages and names, further studies could be undertaken to expand on this phenomena. Further studies may also dwell on the current cultural dynamics in Africa without recourse to the past.