This study investigated the writings of Alain Mabanckou, the giant Congolese
literary writer for mystification and demystification as a trope he employs in his
writings. It was guided by two theoretical underpinnings which are Roland Barthes‘
perspectives on myth: myth as a type of speech and myth as a semiological system.
It was also guided by the post-colonial theory with leanings on Homi Bhabha‘s
Hybridity, Mimicry and Ambivalence.
Three specific objectives guided this study. First, to highlight the manifestations of
myth in Mabanckou‘s writings, two, to explore how Mabanckou‘s writings employ
mystification and demystification in his writings and three, to determine why
Mabanckou employs mystification and demystification in his writings.
Data were largely collected through library research in the universities of Dodoma,
Dar-es-Salaam, Nairobi and Makerere supplemented by interviews conducted to the
academic staff of the University of Dar-es-Salaam, the University of Nairobi and
The findings of this study revealed that there is evident manifestation of mythical
elements in Mabanckou‘s writings such as portrayal of characters with extraordinary
characteristics such as having two mouths, faces and two male genitalia. Others are
such cannibalism of the pygmies, Africa as the heart of darkness, the myth of Paris,
and the instances where the characters are shown to be ugly more than they are.
The study also revealed that characters, places and objects are mystified and
demystified in these writings by being assigned with extra limbs, unusual
appearance, dangerous sexual organs, unusual ability to do things or inflict harm to
others or make people win elections, get employed or make them rich. It was
revealed that when such characters, places and objects are demystified, they are
shown to be normal, small, liars, stupid, not real or genuine, helpless and sometimes
It was established that employment of mystification and demystification in
Mabanckou‘s writings is done for a number of reasons, some of them being to: show
reality, negate and justify, put in place social control mechanisms, show cultural
values, create suspense, juxtapose, push and sustain the narrative, motivate and
encourage, entertain, satirise and show permanence of ideas or ideology.
This study recommends that other studies be done on Mabanckou‘s use of myths in
his fictional writings as a point of departure from other giant African literary
writers such as Achebe, Ngugi, and Soyinka who more or less use traditional myth
unlike Mabanckou who uses both culturally appropriated and improvised myths.
The Public Access, L (2021). Mystification And Demystification As A Trope In Alain Mabanckou’s Writings. Afribary.com: Retrieved May 13, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/mystification-and-demystification-as-a-trope-in-alain-mabanckou-s-writings
Library, The Public Access. "Mystification And Demystification As A Trope In Alain Mabanckou’s Writings" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 27 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/mystification-and-demystification-as-a-trope-in-alain-mabanckou-s-writings . Accessed 13 May. 2021.
Library, The Public Access. "Mystification And Demystification As A Trope In Alain Mabanckou’s Writings". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 27 Apr. 2021. Web. 13 May. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/mystification-and-demystification-as-a-trope-in-alain-mabanckou-s-writings >.
Library, The Public Access. "Mystification And Demystification As A Trope In Alain Mabanckou’s Writings" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed May 13, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/mystification-and-demystification-as-a-trope-in-alain-mabanckou-s-writings