image Igbobi Boy: The Crisis of Education in Nigeria

By Emeka Ugwu


  • Title: Igbobi Boy
  • Author: Adebayo Lamikanra
  • Publisher: Amkra Books
  • Number of pages: 307
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Memoir

‘[T]he ‘default setting’ of nine out of ten is primordial, no doubt. But as W E B DuBois says, we are after the talented tenth’. – Tade Ipadeola

‘Traditions are extremely difficult to establish and more difficult to maintain because once they begin to unravel, the whole edifice comes crashing down and is lost without a trace within a short period of time’. – Adebayo Lamikanra

Adebayo Lamikanra’s Igbobi Boy would appeal to any dyed-in-the-wool rascal. To be certain, Igbobi Boy is more than a delicately written story about life as a student at the elite, missionary secondary school, Igbobi College in the ‘60s. It is also a book that draws considerable attention to the hapless state of Nigeria’s dysfunctional education system. The book challenges the unfounded notion that quality education in Nigeria only began a nosedive from the mid-’80s. More…

image Eating the Rich: A Review of Nkosinathi Sithole’s Hunger Eats a Man

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: Hunger Eats a Man
  • Author: Nkosinathi Sithole
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (South Africa)
  • Number of pages: 166
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

Hunger Eats a Man is a story of the grim, riotous cycle of poverty and hopelessness, violence and oppression, lying gods and ancestors, and the necessity of political revolutions. The novel is set in Ndlalidlindoda – a sprawling geography of destitution in Gxumani near Drakensberg mountains. More…

image Of Paths and Destiny: A Review of Bizuum Yadok’s King of the Jungle

By Su’eddie Vershima Agema


  • Title: King of the Jungle
  • Author: Bizuum Yadok
  • Publisher: Kraftgriots
  • Number of pages: 271
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

The path of one’s life is inscribed on one’s palms. It is not in the crooked lines but in how such a person decides to use their palms: to work, to be soothing or to be violent. This largely goes to say that the fate of everyone lies in the decisions they make. This principle underlies the tale that is Bizuum Yadok’s King of the Jungle. King of the Jungle is a tale seen through the eyes of two brothers. The author brings the nature/nurture question to the fore in this work, highlighting in great detail the birth and growth of the two brothers and what they become. More…

image The Trigger-Happy Generation

By Tomiwa Ilori


  • Title: Gang Town
  • Author: Don Pinnock
  • Publisher: NB Publishers
  • Number of pages: 312
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Sociology

‘When I first killed a man in Hanover Park I was 13. It’s a great feeling, the feeling I have when I hold a gun in my hand. I have no fear. I get excited…. Every gun is lot of power’ – Clifton, Hanover Park, 2014

Violence is a means of communication. In whatever language it is expressed, its message spreads fast. One of its most insistent messages is that those who receive hurt should return respect. It is this communicative dimension, as an important trait of every human, that the book Gang Town by Don Pinnock explores. More…

image To Do a Person’s Work: A Review of Boy, Interrupted

By Tunji Olalere


  • Title: Boy, Interrupted
  • Author: Saah Millimono
  • Publisher: Kwani Trust
  • Number of pages: 150
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

‘SBU da Small Boy Unit, the albino said. Today we na bring dem wif us. You say yor son da twelve year ol, but wait until you see seven-year-ol boys in deh SBU’

There are many absurdities in life. Love in a time of war, for example. Nobel peace medals on the chests of warlords or commanders of drone attacks or financiers of genocide. What about dynamite? Do not ask. More…

image Breaking the Cryptex: A Review of H J Golakai’s The Score

By Uchenna Ekweremadu


  • Title: The Score
  • Author: H J Golakai
  • Publisher: Kwela Books
  • Number of pages: 376
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

Every day, we hear or read about employers ‘actively poaching’ stars from their rivals. Should these employers grow weary of their new hires shortly after taking them on, they begin assigning them either impossible tasks or, paradoxically, unchallenging ones, all in order to get them to quit by their own volition. But in The Score, what starts out as a ploy to frustrate the protagonist, Voinjama (Vee) Johnson, ends up making her more valuable. More…

image The Ghosts of 1894: Revisiting the Rwandan Genocide

By Emeka Ugwu


  • Title: The Ghosts of 1894
  • Author: Oduor Jagero
  • Publisher: KoaMedia
  • Number of pages: 254
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

‘What happened in Rwanda happened to us all – humanity was wounded by the genocide’. – Immaculée Ilibagiza, Rwandan author

‘The Rwandan Liberation Front, Tutsi-dominated, has demonstrated that its cadres are not above acts of vengeance. A vicious cycle is the inevitable legacy of generations yet unborn’. – The Open Sore of a Continent, Wole Soyinka

In The Ghosts of 1894, Oduor Jagero does not only revisit the scene of what is perhaps Africa’s most brutal event of human rights violation, he also examines its root causes. It is a tragic story told mostly through the eyes of the characters Habineza, Vestine and Sandra, survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Given the novel’s title, students of African history will instantly deduce that the book fingers 1894 – the year in which explorers led by the German Count Gustav Adolf von Gotzen set foot in Rwanda – as the exact point in history when the country’s ghosts came into being. More…

image Worlds All Our Own: A Review of AfroSFv2

By Tinuke Adeyi


  • Title: AfroSFv2
  • Editor: Ivor W Hartmann
  • Publisher: StoryTime
  • Number of pages: 487
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

These worlds get you as much as they did the last time you visited. There are no disappointments. In fact, your need being greater now than at your last visit, your pleasure is doubled. Such is the response Ivor W Hartmann’s AfroSFv2 draws out of any reader whose literary pleasure centres have been sensitised by the preceding anthology he edited, AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers. More…

image The Life and Times of Lost Poems

By Kwabena Agyare Yeboah


  • Title: The Road to Jamaica: Poems, 1968–1970, and New Poems, 2012–2013
  • Author: Syl Cheney-Coker
  • Publisher: Karantha Publishing House and Sierra Leonean Writers Series
  • Number of pages: 67
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

In 2014, Richard Oduor Oduku wrote an essay that was essentially a lamentation. He was worried about his old, unpublished poems, about the fact that those poems might not be a good representation of his evolution and current thinking, about the fact that his old voice, which bore witness to a part of history, could be lost to time. At the end of ‘Where Do Old Unpublished Poems (and Stories) Go?’ he asks these questions:

Still, in your own life as a creator, where do your old unpublished poems (and stories) go? Do they acquire a life of their own and live undeterred in the darkness inside box locks or digital backups? Are they historied or they die off and reincarnate as new poems and stories? More…

image Pinpointing the Troubles of Modern South Africa: A Review of Affluenza

By Agbonmire Ifeh


  • Title: Affluenza
  • Author: Niq Mhlongo
  • Publisher: Kwela Books
  • Number of pages: 190
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

Scientists have discovered that the brain has a negative bias that causes humans to continually look for bad news. Perhaps that explains why writers are prone to write books about sad topics. As the writer Khaled Hosseini aptly noted, ‘Sad stories make good books’. More…