Class Struggle a Case Study of Festus Iyayi Violence and Animata Sow Falls the Beggers Strike

Class Struggle a Case Study of Festus Iyayi Violence and Animata Sow Falls the Beggers Strike

Class Struggle a Case Study of Festus Iyayi Violence and Animata Sow Falls the Beggers Strike


Abstract of Class Struggle a Case Study of Festus Iyayi Violence and Animata Sow Falls the Beggers Strike

The Concept of Class struggle describes the constant conflict among the existing strata in every society. The purpose of this academic research is to explore the meaning and important of class struggle in the context of the selected texts. The theoretical framework for this research is the Marxist-Leninist theory, which could be simply summarized as the reaction of the exploited to get rid of exploitation and the exploiters. Various styles used by the duo of Iyayi and Falls is described. In the light of which class struggle is perceived as a necessity to relieve social strains of inequality and injustice.


Chapter One of Class Struggle a Case Study of Festus Iyayi Violence and Animata Sow Falls the Beggers Strike


The concept of class struggle describes a constant conflict among the existing strata in the society. In the Selected texts, Animata Sow Fall’s The Beggars’ strike and Festus iyayi’s Violence, themes pertaining to class struggle were described, Class struggle becomes a necessity in any society with a wide gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. This academic project examines the extent to which the duo of Animata and Iyayi utilized the theme – Class struggle, in their novels, The beggars’ strike and Violence respectively.


Karl Marx wrote to Friedrich Engels in 1882: “you know very well where we found our idea of class struggle; we found it in the work of the French historians who talked about the race struggle”. Class struggle predates Karl Marx; one may boldly say that it describes the history of all existing human civilizations.

Social classes are often described as either upper, middle or lower based on income, wealth or estate. However, Marxist notion of class in a capitalist setting is based on the control of means of production. Karl Marx describes two main classes:

§  Proletariat (Labour)

§  Bourgeoisie (Capitalist)

The Proletariat (labour) makes a living directly from their labour whereas the Bourgeoisie controls the means of production, exploiting the proletariat, living off the surplus value on cheap labour. This may be perceived as a form of neocolonialism, labour is exploited to create economic and socio-political dominance. A most shameful version of Apartheid in post colonial Africa, perpetrated by Africans on fellow Africans. Burdened by extreme poverty and hunger, the masses inevitably revolt against oppression. The ensuing struggle, though often violent, non-violent struggle is not uncommon.

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In the selected texts, forms of class struggle includes: industrial strike actions, protests, rallies, pilferage, sabotage etc Class struggle in Africa is inextricably linked to corruption and injustice. In an unjust society where wealth is unevenly distributed and the rule of law biased, class struggle is seen as a necessity. It becomes the only available option for the masses to fight for economic and social relevance. Class struggle is a brave attempt at reshaping capitalism into a more equitable system of governance and giving birth to a truly egalitarian, economically viable and politically stable Nation. Class struggle is a bold step towards achieving a true utopian society, which is the ultimate Marxist phantom.


This study is a modest attempt at providing insight into the concept of class struggle in Africa. Based on the works of two distinguished proletarian writers, Animata Sow fall and Festus Iyayi in their works – The Beggars’ strike and Violence, the following objectives were brought to light:

§  Definition of and description of the concept of class;

§  Identification and description of the types of class in the selected texts;

§  Definition of class struggle;

§  Identification of similarities and differences between francophone and Anglophone African societies in terms of class and class struggle;

§  Identification of benefits and side-effects of class struggle;

§  Providing a workable solution to the problems of class struggle in Africa; and

§  Providing reliable answers to research questions set at the beginning of the study.


The focus of this study is Africa, with Senegal and Nigeria as case studies as portrayed by the duo of Animata and Iyayi in The beggars’ strike and Violence respectively. This research investigates how judiciously the understudied works reveal the existence of class struggle and other sub-themes like, oppression and negritude in the context of francophone and Anglophone Africa. The choice of works based on Senegal and Nigeria is motivated by the fact that, the two countries give a fair representation of West Africa, giving the Francophone and the Anglophone point of view. This is imperative as it is almost certainly impossible to study works from every part of Africa considering the constraints of time and resources.


The significance of this research apart from providing a reliable source of information for future researchers on class struggle is also of great value in appraisal of democratic values in Africa. Understanding the role of class struggle in society will strengthen Africa’s nascent democracy and promote good governance.

This research is also a celebration of artistic imagination and dexterity displayed by these distinguished African Writers, Animata Sowfall and Festus Iyayi.