Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French Studies

Document Type



This dissertation is focused on the contribution of literature in the establishment of democracy in four French-speaking countries of the Golf of Guinea between 1988 and 1998. They are Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea and Togo. In 1991, a democratization movement that started in Benin occurred in many West African countries. It was propelled by an invented idea of National Conferences that were gathered by the countries elites either with the support or against the will of the ruling government. Thus, it was possible to organize a successful National Conference in some of those countries like Benin, Mali and Niger. But it was a fiasco in others like Togo. Others like Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea opposed that spirit of national consensus and held National Forums. The causes of the movements were sociopolitical and economic. In fact, since the acquisition of their independences in the 60s most French speaking countries of the Golf of Guinea, experienced diverse economical plans for development. Varied political systems were also implemented in order to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, the populations never had the chance to live a better life. They went poorer and poorer. The economic dire has been worsened by the oppressions perpetrated by the tyrant leaders who chose to hang on power. Some writers with their endeavor to peace and justice, decided to fight against those powers of tyranny and oppression. La naissance d’Abikou written by Olympe Bhêly-Quenum, En attendant le vote des bêtes sauvages by Ahmadou Kourouma, Un rêve utile of Tierno Monénembo and La Polka of Kossi Efoui were published on that purpose. They focused on the citizens’ sociopolitical and economic daily misfortunes to convey their literary messages. They enlightened people’s mind about arbitrary rules and encouraged them to pass over to action in order to overthrow dictatorship and establish democracy. The comments and reports made on the different novels prove that they positively influenced the success of the democratic movements in the Golf of Guinea between 1988 and 1998. Once again, literature has mingled its roots with social realities to prove that African history cannot be conceived today excluding literary texts.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

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Committee Chair

Pius Ngandu Nkashama