Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Doctor of Philosophy


Hispanic Studies


Wolff, Victoria


This thesis examines the extent to which selected postcolonial narratives of Equatorial Guinea express resistance at the social, religious and political levels. Three postcolonial texts, namely Los poderes de la tempestad (1997), El párroco de Niefang (1996) and Arde el monte de noche (2009) emit various discourses of resistance. These works which rehash the Spanish colonial legacy are also concerned with the social degeneration brought on by the first postcolonial presidency, often referred to as Nguemism. In response to these events, the writings of these authors show a refusal to be absorbed by both the colonial rhetoric and nguemist ideologies. Through their exploration of the nation’s history, religion and culture, these texts denounce hegemonic conceptualizations of their identity which results in a pursuit of freedom from these powers.

This study uses a postcolonial theoretical approach to discuss articulations of resistance. In postcolonial theory, resistance signifies any opposition to, or any acts intended to subvert authority. This thesis discusses how these novels challenge institutions — both colonial and post-independence — which continue to perpetuate political, social or cultural oppression in Equatorial Guinea. These novels contest institutionalized histories of the country, historically and postcolonially, and revise them using the collective experiences of the citizenry. They also construct diverse identities that defy homogenic perceptions emanating from colonial discourse and from Nguemism. This dissertation shows that articulations of resistance within the post-independence narrative of Equatorial Guinea are not monolithic, but diverse and engage with the various challenges the nation faces currently. Together, this corpus of texts articulates the desire to rethink and reformulate the ideological parameters that continue to be sources of oppression for the national community.

Summary for Lay Audience

What is resistance, and how do the postcolonial novels of Equatorial Guinea articulate this? Resistance signifies any act of opposition meant to shirk off the power that dominant forces and systems wield over individuals or groups. This thesis examines how three post-colonial narratives of Equatorial Guinea published between 1996 and 2009 speak out against colonial and post-independence forces that continue to adversely influence individual and national life after independence. Contemporary Equatorial Guinea has been marked by Spanish colonialism from the turn of the twentieth century until 1968, and also by the post-independence dictatorship of Macías Nguema which ended in 1979. The effects of both tenures of oppression which left adverse and indelible traits on its peoples continue to operate. As such, these novels, Los poderes de la tempestad (1997), El párroco de Niefang (1996), and Arde el monte de noche (2009) challenge the powers of the colonial administration and the first independent government.

In speaking out against the ways in which Spanish colonialism and Equatorial Guinea's government continue to exercise their power over them, these texts oppose colonial authority as well as the power of the nation-state. The first novel, Los poderes de la tempestad describes the atmosphere created by the first postcolonial presidency. It looks at how this government uses history to maintain its dominance, and how the writer revises this history to reclaim this power. It also looks at what resistance means for people who were extremely exploited under Spanish colonialism and how they express their opposition to it. In the second novel, El párroco de Niefang, the narrator also engages in revising how Guinean people have been represented within colonial documents. It also looks at how the first postcolonial presidency, also referred to as Nguemism violated the human rights of many Guineans. In the final novel, Arde el monte de noche, this novel uses African storytelling techniques to inscribe Annobónese language and culture within a Spanish text. This deviation from the standard European writing norms attempts to push the limits of the imperial language to make room for African cultural concepts, thoughts and speech patterns.