What is life without light?
Author Fiston Mwanza Mujila (Democratic Republic of Congo) takes up this idea in the novel Tram 83. Tram 83 is a book written in 2014 set is City-State, a town somewhere in central Africa supported fully by mining. The novel has us begin in a ramshackle train station where Requiem, who dreams of taking over the seedy underworld of their city, meets up with an old childhood friend home from Europe, Lucien, from whom he has not been in touch for a decade. They then continue to a nightclub in Tram 83 where it seems to cater to immediate carnal pleasures. Afro-pessimism seeks to show the “non-human” form that black folk find themselves in or what would be called social death in relation to how black folks are treated every day. With Afropessimism, it allows the author to shine light on issues Africa has with racial stereotypes, racial identity and the history they have with Belgium.
The quote “THE UNFINISHED METAL STRUCTURE RECALLED THE TURBULENT YEARS OF LEOPOLD II (28),” shines light on the issue with history and how whites racially identified Africans. I believe the quote meant that the place being so negative like The DRC, City-state, and the Tram 83 are the issue like racial identities and racial stereotypes that never been solved between had recurred once again. Without and never having control of the situation, there is no hope, and a life without a chance or hope is a life without light. And a life without light is history repeating it’s self again and again.
I think Mujila would say what is life without light would be
“You share the same destiny as everyone else, the same history, the same hardship, the same rot, the same Tram beer, the same dog kebabs, the same narrative as soon as you come into the world. You start out baby-chick or slim-jim or child-soldier. You graduate to endlessly striking student or desperado. If you’ve got a family on the trains, then you work on the trains; otherwise like a ship you wash up on the edge of hope – a suicidal, a carjacker, a digger with dirty teeth, a mechanic, a street sleeper, a commission agent, an errand boy employed by for-profit tourists, a hawker of secondhand coffins. Your fate is already sealed like that of the locomotives carrying spoiled merchandise and the dying.”
To him there is no hope. The colonial past is a past that refers to Leopold II . Leopold II: 2nd king of Belgium Founded and exploited Congo Free State as his own personal property. World’s only private colony. Estimate that Leopold’s colonial project killed ½ of the people: between 1880 and 1920 the population of the Congo slashed from 20 million to 10 million. It’s where you are your past and if there wasn’t any light before there won’t be any later; its set-in stone. He might believe that there is not hope for Africa’s, that history might repeat. I believe it is an Afropessisim because the book shows that there is no hope for making democracy stronger and achieving sustainable economic development in the region in Africa.