The quest for freedom from the wild beasts of empire and the after-effects of colonial entanglement are resounding issues in post- and de-colonial studies. In pursuing these matters, postcolonial studies – knowingly or unknowingly – enters into dialogue with aspects of continental thoughts, most significantly the existential-phenomenological framework, which too is preoccupied with the enigma of worldhood entanglement and the attainment of freedom from such entanglement. In the representation of characters whose careers involve advocating for freedom from the symbolic wild beast though, the Nigerian novels Arrows of Rain (Okey Ndibe 2000) and Waiting for an Angel (Helon Habila [2002] 2009) raise the question of whether such character’s personality tends towards authenticity or inauthenticity, and the circumstances leading to such existential orientation. In this, the texts steer away from the falsehood of casting authentic existence as a stage of ontological growth which paves the way for the freedom fighter’s unmitigated access to freedom devoid of sorrow. When, as is the case in this paper, we compare the freedom advocacy careers of Ogugua and Lomba, we see that in none of the two modes of existence does the human agent have the pleasure of becoming a free-floating ego nor of attaining ultimate happiness, after which every living thing is supposed to be striving. Both in falling prey and in resolutely heeding the call of conscience, human existence is circumscribed by relentless sorrows. Thus, resoluteness merely lends the freedom fighter the strength to face their sorrows even unto death; it does not eliminate sufferings and pains for the character. This essential point is made in this essay through the existentialist-phenomenological perspectives of, mostly, Martin Heidegger.

Keywords: inauthenticity, authenticity, pain, sorrow, freedom, existence, resoluteness

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