ABSTRACT: This research work is on The Theme of Oppression in Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy and Tell Freedom. The work examines the theme of oppression and their effect in our society and even in Nigeria as portrayed in Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy and Tell Freedom which the texts shows that oppression is considered as the hindrance(s) to development(s). It also examines in details, the solid economic, political and social problems of the masses, the less privilege, the blacks, the poor and the proletariat are facing which their fellow human beings like the rich, white colonial masters are not giving them (privilege) their fundamental human right in the nation or the society they live or see themselves. It also show-cases the factors that encourages these social menace.
Again, this research work also noted that, not only the government and high-place leaders oppresses the masses but also our fellow blacks also oppresses their fellow blacks because of the what they called “survival of the fittest”. This research was carried out using the primary source, that is Tell Freedom and Mine Boy written by Peter Abraham and the secondary sources used are: the use of internet, literary or literature textbooks, dictionaries. It was library based research work. To crown it all, the research was concluded with some recommendations so that the disadvantages will not be more than the advantages.
The Theme of Oppression in Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy and Tell Freedom
1.1 Background of the Study
Oppression comes from the word oppress which means to treat somebody in a cruel and unfair way, especially but not giving them same freedom, right as other people, according to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 6th Edition.
According to Merriam Webster Dictionary 2015, Oppression is defined as an unjust or cruel exercise of authority or power. A fair knowledge of history at South Africa is essential to understanding of Mine Boy and Tell Freedom by Peter Abraham.
South Africa has a climate similar to that of Europe and this fact attracted seventy European. Dutch settlers in the Cape as early as 1652. With the passage of time the number of settler’s increased. Their settlement in the Cape brought them into direct contact with the Hottentots – a black race. Miscegenation followed between the Hottentots women and the European settlers leading to the birth of coloured community. South Africa has three racial groups: The black, the coloured and the whites.
The European settlers with their long stay evolved a culture of their own and their language too. They came to be called the Boers or the Afrikaners. As their population increased, and so their farmers explored new frontiers in search of fertile land for their cattle, they came into clash with the Bantu race which was expanding South wards.
Hence, the origin of the bitterness between the blacks and the whites by 1820 administration of South Africa passed from the Dutch to the English people, and the abolition of slave trade in 1807 place the whites and the black on equal footing a situation which the whites resented. In the light of this situation “black circuit” was establish in 1828 through an ordinance. By this ordinance a white could be tried for the charges brought forward by his Hottentots servant.
Many white regarded this as abomination, being as they believed, contrary to the law of God which stipulated that the Africans should serve the whites. This led to a migration called the great trek – a long march in search of new and fertile land where they would be free from the British administration.
Their migration was northwards and in different directions and finally gave the geographical shape of South Africa. They suffered untold hardship and often the barbarity of the natives, who attacked and killed some of them. This great suffering was turned into a lore and passed from generation to generation, which adds to the enemity between the blacks and the whites.
Four states emerged as a total outcome of this great movement: the Cape Province Natal (dominantly populated) by the Indians who were imported into the area. Orange Free State and Transvaal. These were unified and brought under the British flag after the Boe wars (1880-81, 1899-1902).
The union of South Africa was later granted self-government by the British government and the government passed into the hands of the white minority with the government in their hands and with the sad memories of the past at the black of their minds the whites forged a head to perpetuate social segregation and they have everything in their favour. The discovery of diamond increased their number and gave them economic dominance. In their migration to be free the blacks still ended up as slaves because of their now qualification so they involve in all sorts of crime in order to survive.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, it has been observed that oppression and their social vices like, segregation, inhumanity, racial discrimination, racial prejudice, apartheid policy, depression, prostitution, corruption and even stealing are rampant in South African Political Novels.
The Novel, Mine Boy by Peter Abraham is a text that portrays the oppression given to the Blacks by the Whites. Xuma the hero is used as a symbol of oppression in the Novel. The white made several laws which reduced the human dignity of the blacks. They were not allowed to farm in large European areas, they could not move about freely without being checked for pass books. They could not be treated if they were sick and these measures led to overcrowding of the blacks in the reserved areas. In the world of today, racial discrimination, racism and oppression is still in practice in South Africa.
The Theme of Oppression in Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy and Tell Freedom
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the theme of oppression in Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy and Tell Freedom and expose it effect or implication in our Nigeria society with the aim of correcting it.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study shall be significance in the following ways: This research is meant for awareness and to enlighten Nigerians on the need to refrain from act of oppression so that Nigeria can attain it height and be a better place to live.
It will help Nigerians to develop self-worth, peace brotherly love and the need for equity and justice. It will help Nigerians to unite an live together without class discrimination. It will help the reader of this work to eradicate racism colour discrimination.
A descriptive research method is adopted for the study. The Novel Mine Boy and Tell Freedom will serve as primary texts. Materials from the library work will serve as the secondary sources of information. Other sources such as internet will be explored for more information.