Children with Disabilities as Negotiators of Social Responsibility

A critical study of ‘redemption’ in Meshack Asare’s Sosu’s Call

Authored by: Dike Okoro

Routledge Handbook of Minority Discourses in African Literature

Print publication date:  May  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367368340
eBook ISBN: 9780429354229
Adobe ISBN:


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Ato Quayson argues elegantly that “[o]ne of the most abiding interests of African literary criticism has been to demonstrate the continuity that African literature written in European languages has with indigenous sources” (1). His statement is valid and supports the narrative framework deployed in Meshack Asare’s Sosu’s Call , which is written in English. First published in 2002, Sosu’s Call is a very popular African children’s story book that shares a trajectory of lived experiences when placed in context of Asare’s childhood experiences. Asare himself knew people who lived with disability and empathized with their condition as a minority within the world where class and stereotypes make others normal. This logic brings to the forefront the idea of disability stories as a form of minority literature. Are the disabled a minority? The idea that disabled people are given a place in literature unlike that reserved for people that are not disabled makes them not to belong to the mainstream. They are the other in a way. They are almost like a class of themselves. Is a literature about them what people look forward to reading? The African society has no ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). The disabled are erased. In fact, it is only an act of heroism that earns them recognition. This is what we notice in Asare’s book, where Sosu, the protagonist, is rewarded with a wheelchair only after he saves the village from being swept away by waters rising. His singular act of crawling to the drum shed from where he beats out a rhythm to alert the men in the fields to return home from their work to assist in saving the old and the young who stayed home represents a timely decision taken to avert an impending disaster. Telling the disabled’s story is part of telling them they are part of humankind. Their acts of heroism make them liked by others. This fact is further proof of Asare’s book being an example of minority literature, given that it echoes the ideas in the definition of minor literature, that it is “literature that produces an active solidarity in spite of skepticism… The literary machine thus becomes the relay for a revolutionary machine-to-come, not at all for ideological reasons but because the literary machine alone is determined to fill the conditions of a collective enunciation that is lacking elsewhere in this milieu” (Delueze et al. 18). It is evident from Asare’s plot that the theme of ‘redemption’ is a central message in his book and functions with the hopes and struggles of his protagonist, Sosu, who views the world from the hindsight of a child dealing with the challenges of disability in an African society.

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