african diaspora literature, creative writing


This fiction novel focuses on the Sankofa philosophy that we as human beings must learn from our past to better understand our current existence and future; however, sometimes we choose to ignore or suppress the past because remembering it may be too hurtful. When we forget what happened yesterday our outlook on today and tomorrow becomes distorted. Contact is a novel that attempts to explore how 'living in the now' alone becomes problematic because the past'if not remembered'will come back to haunt you. The erasure of the line between Diasporic Africans and their African past is the primary theme explored. The writer deconstructs how living in the now is indeed living in the past because the past and present, in the life of Tufa, become one. Reincarnation serves as the vehicle to explore this theme. Tufa, known for her aberrant behavior, is the reincarnation Afua Ataa - an Ashanti woman who survived the Maafa, or Transatlantic Slave Trade. Past love, hate, dishonor, rivalry, pain, and hope complicate the 'ordinariness' of Tufa's teenage life. The novel is divided into a prologue and eight chapters. The bulk of each chapter follows Tufa's current life and ends with a vignette told by five African women, one being Afua Ataa. Each vignette paints in broad strokes the landscape and historical moments of the Maafa. The present becomes complicated when traces of the Maafa seep into Tufa's life. Some of these traces are culturally specific rather than unique to Tufa. However, other traces are uniquely shaped by Tufa's former life. People from her past disrupt her current life by their presence. Their disruption takes many forms'some of it brings pain and some of it brings joy. By reading Tufa's story, others may find the strength to confront their past when it makes contact with their present. Like Tufa, we must confront the pain in our past to experience its joy.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date



Jensen, Toni


Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)


College of Arts and Humanities



Degree Program

Creative Writing








Release Date

March 2011

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)