What is the meaning of the title of the book Two Thousand Seasons?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The "Two Thousand Seasons" referred to in the title of the novel by Ayi Kwei Armah are the seasons (wet and dry) of the thousand years between 1000 and 1900 A.D. This period of time, according to the author, consists of the slow degradation and dissolution of African culture because of other cultures coming and seeking to change their traditions and assimilate them. The time period covers mainly the Ghana people and their movement from ancient cultural tradition to the point when they begin to reestablish their cultural identity against other cultural invasions.

...a thousand seasons wasted wandering amazed along alien roads, another thousand spent finding paths to the living way.


A people losing sight of origins are dead. A people deaf to purposes are lost. Under fertile rain, in scorching sunshine there is no difference: their bodies are mere corpses, awaiting final burial.

Woe the race, too generous in the giving of itself, that finds a road not of regeneration but to its own extinction.
(Armah, Two Thousand Seasons)

This measurement of time by season instead of by calendar year is common among pre-technological or primarily agricultural cultures; the wet and dry seasons are a convenient way to figure out the passage time by half-years. Armah's thesis is that the first thousand seasons (about five hundred years) was spent abandoning African culture, while the next thousand seasons was spent slowly trying to reestablish cultural connections. In this way, the title refers both to the passage of time and the commitment to remembering history and culture despite inevitable cultural shifts.


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