Colonial Letters and the Contact of Knowledges

Uchenna Oyali

English Linguistics

University of Abuja, Nigeria

Research Focus

Translator Studies, Literary translation, (Politics of) Bible translation, Sociology of translation, Colonial and postcolonial linguistics, Postcolonial pragmatics, Sociolinguistics, Igbo Studies.

Selected Publications

Summary of research topic in the CL&CK project

The Representation of Self and Other in the “Manga Williams Letters”

Before 1858, present-day Victoria District in Cameroon comprised of several distinct village units. The arrival of the Baptist Christian missionaries in 1858 and the subsequent successive domination of the area by the German and, later, British colonial powers resulted in the christening of the area as Victoria and setting up of new political and administrative structures in the area. These new structures favoured Manga Williams and members of his community who now ruled over other communities. Consequently, in a series of letters written during the period of British colonial rule in Cameroon, these favoured and disadvantaged communities expressed their divergent dispositions towards the new political and administrative system, especially Manga Williams’ position as the Head of the Victoria District, President of the Victoria Federated Council and of the Native Court of Appeals. Adopting analytical tools of Critical Stylistics (Jeffries 2010) and Postcolonial Pragmatics (Anchimbe 2018), this study critically investigates how the letter writers use their representations of Self and Other to justify their claim to the political and administrative positions they occupy and their dissatisfaction with the political structure respectively.