The Force of Argument and the Argument of Force: A Study of the Rhetoric of Achamba and Abaago in Shadrach Ambanasom's Son of the Native Soil
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Using Afrocentric and Western rhetorical typologies, this essay explores the discourse of Achamba and Abaago, two leading characters in Shadrach Ambanasom's Son of the Native Soil. On the one hand, Achamba is discussed as a rhetorician whose ethos, logos, and pathos enable him to admirably anchor his message of unity and development for Dudum among his compatriots. On the other, Abaago is perceived as a man lacking in dialectical argumentation. Because of this shortcoming, he embraces violence in an attempt to realize his vision of making Akan the administrative centre of Dudum. While the one is showcased as an exemplar of effective rhetoric, the other symbolizes lack of rhetorical savoir-faire. Through these two protagonists, Ambanasom gives a synoptic view of rhetorical practices of not only Dudum (Ngie) people, but also of contemporary Cameroon. At the same time, Ambanasom seems to problematize, in the rhetoric of his characters, issues of minority rights, governance, democracy, and dictatorship in Cameroon or even, on a grander scale, Africa.