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Une si Longue lettre

by Mariama Ba

I’ve travelled all the way west to Senegal for Mariama Bâ “ une si longue lettre” which translates to “So long a letter”. I’m really enjoying it so far, both the style and form. It’s an epistolary novel, and recounts the main character Ramatoulaye’s life experiences. It’s a novel that covers many important themes related to Senegalese culture and the life of women in the 1970s and 1980s. Senegal was a colony of France till 1960 when it gained its independence under the leadership of Léopold Senghor. Senghor is well known for the promotion of Negritude, a literary movement emphasising African values. Senegalese culture is fascinating, especially griots who are a hereditary class of musicians and storytellers who have passed down historical narratives and kept traditions alive for generations.