image A Witness’s Tale of Rediscoveries

By Tomiwa Ilori


  • Title: Ó Ṣojú Mi
  • Author: ‘Yinká Adébóyè
  • Publisher: Yew Books
  • Number of pages: 196
  • Year of publication: 2010
  • Category: Fiction

Ó Ṣojú Mi is a Yorùbá novel set in western Nigeria, in the period between the early ‘50s and the late ‘90s. The style of the book is a rediscovery of the once popular but now almost forgotten discursive Yorùbá diction. It is a witness’s tale in which the use of language is such that the texture of Yorùbá semantics and didactics can be felt throughout all thirty chapters. More…

image To Be or Become: A View of Lagos through an Oyibo’s Black Nyash

By Su’eddie Vershima Agema


  • Title: Blackass
  • Author: A Igoni Barrett
  • Publisher: Kachifo Limited
  • Number of pages: 302
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

When the bare arse has been seen, what remains for a man to hide? How does our pigment determine our destiny? These questions seem to be the thrust of A Igoni Barrett’s Blackass, a funny novel of being and becoming. When one reads Barrett’s Blackass, Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis comes to mind, and that remains so throughout the book. One notices tributes to that famous, human-to-insect transformation story. For the first few pages, the reader will wonder whether they are not reading Kafka. It does not help matters that the first part of the book is preceded by a quote from the same Kafka. But, let us focus on our Blackass.

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image A Review of Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda

By Agatha Aduro


  • Title: Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda
  • Editor: Christopher Conte
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Number of pages: 172
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Essays

Christopher Conte is a writer and editor based in Washington, DC. In 2008, he began working in Uganda as a journalist for a Kampala-based newspaper, a stint that lasted two years. His interactions with certain people gave him the idea of publishing a book filled with factual stories about the everyday lives of Ugandan women, to give insights into life in Uganda. This he explains succinctly in his introduction: ‘We hoped that stories by “ordinary” people, told in the straight-forward manner of journalism, would offer readers more authentic glimpses into one small corner of a huge and diverse continent that is neither as pitiful nor as romantic as the stereotypes suggest’. More…

image Nautilus Rising: The Poetics of John Pepper Clark

By Tade Ipadeola


  • Title: Full Tide: Collected Poems
  • Author: J P Clark
  • Publisher: Mosuro Publishers
  • Number of pages: 423
  • Year of publication: 2010
  • Category: Poetry

‘Then struck the five hunters
But not together, not together.
One set out on his own into the night,
Four down their different spoors by the sea:
By light of stars at dawn
Each read in the plan a variant…’. – ‘Seasons of Omens’, J P Clark

A nation’s fortunes can be measured by the lot of her poets. In the case of Nigeria, it is a manifold tale of many dramatis personae and attitudes. Like Ireland, Nigeria has such a varied line-up of poets that it simply staggers the mind to list the players. Collectively, Nigerian poets have lifted the nation into a plane of regard such as few African nations can rival. The Congo, Ghana, Madagascar and South Africa are all strong contenders but Nigerian poets have so decisively weighed in that these other nations must ask: why are they so blest? More…

image We Have a Situation: A Review of Ellen Banda-Aaku’s Sula and Ja

By Modupe Yusuf


  • Title: Sula and Ja
  • Author: Ellen Banda-Aaku
  • Publisher: Kachifo Limited
  • Number of pages: 172
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Young Adult

Income, occupational prestige and educational attainment are some of the yardsticks by which people are measured in the society. It is not exactly the case that anyone is employed to categorise people. One measures the standing of others against one’s own.

This act of measuring the achievements of others against one’s own causes people to associate with others with whom they share class characteristics. A person is considered a social threat if they do not conform to the requirements of their particular social class. The actions of such nonconformists are bound to be misinterpreted and cause awkward situations. More…

image Of Reverie and Coming of Age

By Tọ́pẹ́ Salaudeen-Adégòkè


  • Title: Deviant Boy
  • Author: Samuel Nii Ashie Nikoi
  • Publisher: Digibooks Ghana Limited
  • Number of pages: 162
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Young Adult

Deviant Boy is the kind of story some of us probably have told ourselves or imagined several times when we were young, especially when we were animated by daydreams of coming into fabulous riches. This is the kind of story told by Samuel Nii Ashie Nikoi. Deviant Boy is best categorised under young adult literature. The story is most suitable for young adults because of the tone and the language of the narration. More…

image The Play with a Dual Mandate

By Emeka Ugwu


  • Title: Silencing the Songbird
  • Author: Bouchaib El Idrissi
  • Publisher: Editions Ennawrass
  • Number of pages: 133
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Drama

 

‘Marrakesh is a hummingbird standing still in the sun/ A thesis in motion, stilling tongues and dialects./ I have watched as her streets dissolved in fun/ At night, a Möbius rendering of joy’s analects’. – The Sahara Testaments, Tade Ipadeola

‘Bad playwrights in every epoch fail to understand the enormous efficacy of the transformations that take place before the spectators’ eyes. Theatre is change and not simple presentation of what exists; it is becoming and not being’. – Theatre of the Oppressed, Augusto Boal

Silencing the Songbird is the playwright Bouchaib El Idrissi’s artistic response to a popular myth that was created around the real life of a very popular singer, Huidda Al Ghiata, who also went by the moniker Kharboucha. More…

image Explaining a Complex World: A Review of Teresa Oyibo Ameh’s Books

By Adaudo Anyiam-Osigwe


  • Title: The Freedom Day Party
  • Number of pages: 47
  • Title: Drop That Phone!
  • Number of pages: 27
  • Author: Teresa Oyibo Ameh
  • Publisher: Grower Literature
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Children

The Freedom Day Party is a thoughtful story that considers the battle between Western ideas and traditional beliefs and attitudes, as well as the manifestation of class differences and the personal sacrifices of parents. All these are seen through the eyes of a child who is becoming aware of the world around her, and slowly coming to understand the harsh realities of existence and the need to overcome barriers on the journey towards a fulfilled life. More…

image American English Writer Preferred: A Review of Clifton Gachagua’s Madman at Kilifi

By Dami Ajayi


  • Title: Madman at Kilifi
  • Author: Clifton Gachagua
  • Publisher: Amalion Publishing
  • Number of pages: 60
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Poetry

Madman at Kilifi, Clifton Gachagua’s first collection of poems, won the inaugural Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets in 2013, in manuscript form. This was quickly followed by its publication as the first book of the African Poetry Book Series by the Senegal-based Amalion Publishing.

Before this laudable initiative launched by the African Poetry Book Fund, African poets were at the mercy of the traditional publishing process. This largely meant that putting out a book-length collection of poems was as easy as a camel’s passage through the eye of a needle. More…

image I Am Not Ashamed of Tears

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: Let’s rain
  • Author: Fatiha Morchid
  • Publisher: Marsam
  • Number of pages: 86
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Poetry

Fatiha Morchid’s Let’s rain is a volume of meditative and aphoristic poems about ecstasy, longing, love and pain. Morchid is a poet, writer, and a paediatrician. She is the winner of the 2010 Moroccan Poetry Prize. The poems in Let’s rain were originally written in Arabic and have been translated into English by Norddine Zouitni. From the first poem, ‘Let’s rain’, to the last poem, ‘Things of essence’, the feeling is one of free-flow. With simplicity and directness, the poet ensures that the actuality of poetry is not lost in a mass of intellectual abstractions. The poems speak to the reader in a voice that is soft, elastic, and rubbery – an intoxication one struggles to break away from.

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