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Sacred Giant of African Literature

Pius Ngandu Nkashama was born in Mbujimayi on September 4, 1946.He completed elementary school in that city as well as middle school; he completed high school at Lubumbashi at Collège Saint-François de Sales (Imara). He completed his undergraduate and master’s degree at the Faculté des lettres de Lovanium-Kinshasa, and his PhD at the University of Strasbourg in 1975, (France). He completed a second PhD in Literature at the same University in 1981.

Pius Ngandu Nkashama, taught in Congolese universities (Kinshasa and Lubumbashi) , in Annaba (Algeria, 1982-1990), in Limoges, (France,  1991-1997), and at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III (France, 1997-2000). He was Distinguished Professor at Louisiana State University (LSU), Baton Rouge, LA (2000 – 2023).

He is a renowned novelist and author of numerous scholarly studies on African literature. As a tribute to his work, the “African Literature Association” honored him with its most prestigious award, the Fonlon-Nichols Prize (2004) and a Certificate of “Baobab” (2018). His most read novels include Le pacte de sang (translated in English, Blood Pact, 1984), Les Étoiles écrasées (translated in English, Incandescence, 1988), and two dozen of narratives and plays (2022). He has also published a survey of African literature, with the title Écritures littéraires: Dictionnaire critique des œuvres africaines en langue française, a critical anthology, and several critical works. Pius Ngandu Nkashama was the recipient of the LSU “Distinguished Research Master Award 2020” in April 2021.

Many books are written in his maternal language such as: Bidi ntwilu, bidi mpelelu (novel, 1997), Mulongeshi wanyi (novel, 2004), Tuntuntu ntuntu (poetics, 2004), and this one, Mwana wa Mulongeshi wanyi (2014). The national community celebrated him for his works in cilubà at the University of Ghent (Belgium, “Research Centre for African Languages & Literatures”), and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (October 2007). The Province of Kasaï-Oriental opened a Cultural Center with the name of Pius Ngandu Nkashama (Mbujimayi-Cibombo, 2020).

Pius Ngandu died peacefully on December 19, 2023 surrounded by family.

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