image Jarring Notes: A Review of Dub Steps

By Agatha Aduro


  • Title: Dub Steps
  • Author: Andrew Miller
  • Publisher: Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd
  • Number of pages: 366
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

Dub Steps is a novel set in a future South Africa. Initially, the only hints that the story is set in the future are references to ‘transmission paint’ and an evolving virtual reality experience that grows from virtual reality day care, for both children and adults, to graffiti broadcasts powered by mobile phone signals and transmission paint, to the ultimate thing – interactive, virtual reality sex clubs. More…

image African Oral Art or Literature?: A Review of My Father’s Song

By Tọ́pẹ́ Salaudeen-Adégòkè


  • Title: My Father’s Song
  • Author: Efo Kodjo Mawugbe
  • Publisher: Afram Publications (Ghana) Limited
  • Number of pages: 232
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

Whether African oral art should be written down is a question that has been considered by many scholars. In fact, it has been argued that the genre should be regarded as ‘art’ and not ‘literature’. One of the perspectives on the genre, raised by a notable scholar, Ruth Finnegan, is that ‘literature’ denotes text and written material while ‘art’ works perfectly well for describing the genre because it was essentially oral and unwritten. More…

image A Poet That More People Should Know: A Review of A Book of Rooms by Kobus Moolman

By Richard Oduor Oduku


  • Title: A Book of Rooms
  • Author: Kobus Moolman
  • Publisher: Deep South
  • Number of pages: 98
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Poetry

To get a glimpse of the innermost spaces of A Book of Rooms, one must be cognisant of how creative works come into being. There are works that spring wholly from the poet’s intention to produce a specific result. To achieve this, the poet treats the material, adding to it, subtracting from it, emphasising an effect here, toning an effect there, keenly juggling the laws of form and style, all the while working towards the intended, ultimate end. This is a scenario where the poet is aware and is in control of the creative process. More…

image Grieving with Sunken Eyes

By Tunji Olalere


  • Title: Sorrow’s Joy
  • Author: Ogochukwu Promise
  • Publisher: Bookcraft Ltd
  • Number of pages: 387
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars
But in ourselves, that we are underlings’ – Julius Caesar, Act 1, Scene 2

There are worse fates than cuckqueanry. Of the grim list, having one’s grief questioned by those who know nothing of one’s pain must rank high. In the wake of the abduction of the Chibok girls, a national cancer fungating in our breast, one social media commentator wondered if the grieving of the mothers was not exaggerated for television. A mother herself, she must have found the exhibitionism of prolonged mourning too strident for her ears. More…

image Dissections in the Anatomy of Crime

By Tomiwa Ilori


  • Title: Easy Motion Tourist
  • Author: Leye Adenle
  • Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
  • Number of pages: 327
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

Although the perennial perpetuation of untruths about Nigeria can overwhelm, Easy Motion Tourist is a fair depiction of the mass hysteria and genuine fears of Nigerian society in the ’90s. Easy Motion Tourist is a tale of human savagery, a narrative dripping with sordid details. It explores the limits of human capacity to evoke horror and, surprisingly, love. More…

image Prisoners of Jebs: Satire and the Clichés of History

By Benson Eluma


  • Title: Prisoners of Jebs
  • Author: Ken Saro-Wiwa
  • Publisher: Saros International Publishers
  • Number of pages: 178
  • Year of publication: 1988
  • Category: Fiction

Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Prisoners of Jebs does not spare anybody or anything. In the finest tradition of satire, Saro-Wiwa does not spare himself. His dramatis personae make up a bewildering gallery. Figures of world-historical stature share a platform with puny potentates. Stock characters taken straight from Nigerian life jostle for a place alongside sheer monsters conjured up by the fertile and unforgiving imagination of the writer. First appearing in Vanguard, from January 1986 to January 1987, in weekly instalments of mocking guffaws at events of the day and of recent history, the publication in 1988 of Saro-Wiwa’s yearlong offering of jibes at the failures and foibles of Nigerian society, its leaders and citizens alike, must have been the occasion of much laughter at the time, and, needless to add, much offence, more than doubling the effects of instantaneous reactions that had earlier followed in the wake of his Vanguard column. More…

image Sector IV: A Dive into Nigeria’s Divisive History

By Agbonmire Ifeh


  • Title: Sector IV
  • Author: Abigail Anaba
  • Publisher: El-jara Connections
  • Number of pages: 232
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

Countries that take History seriously teach it to their children. Some other countries, like Nigeria, dump History off their school curricula, cover it up like excreta and run far from it. That is why Nigerian secondary schools largely ignore the pivotal and contentious history of the Civil War. We must not forget that history has the potential to repeat itself, and the defence against the recurrence of unpleasant events is knowledge and understanding. More…

image Life and Living It: Reflections and Contradictions

By Kwabena Agyare Yeboah


  • Title: Life, Love, Lies
  • Author: Fonkeng E f
  • Publisher: Langaa RPCIG
  • Number of pages: 32
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Essays

Life, Love, Lies reads like a Twitter rant. What is contained in the book is the conclusion of a thought process, but we are not privy to the thought process itself. This makes the conclusion both difficult and easy to disagree with. At the end of it, the meaning-making of the book is subjective, just as our meaning-making, everyone of us, is subjective.

Life, Love, Lies is a book full of contradictions. The introductory note first warns that these ‘reflections are not presented as philosophy, nay theology’ and then it cautions the reader to ‘stay off the more or less mysterious path even if a number of reflections might end up projecting that (Socratic-Aristotelian-Platonic) aura’. More…

image The Event of Song of Lawino

By Benson Eluma


  • Title: Song of Lawino
  • Author: Okot p’Bitek
  • Publisher: East African Publishing House
  • Number of pages: 216
  • Year of publication: 1966
  • Category: Poetry

A popular event, yes. A great event? Yes. Since there is literary drought’. – Taban lo Liyong

But the text exists as linguistic, as historical, as commercial, as political event. And while each of these ways of conceiving the very same object provides opportunities for pedagogy, each provides different opportunities – opportunities between which we must choose’. – Kwame Anthony Appiah

Yes, of course, the text can exist as an event in any of those dimensions. Sometimes in all of them at once, thus ensuring that certain texts, for all the bravura they may display or conceal, confront us as multidimensional entities, larger than mere rhetorical projects. They exist, as it were, as assemblages of artefacts, as archaeological precincts inhabited by transactions of social life which may coalesce into a pattern. And they, according to established formula, may over time come to accrete into that complex of ruins which every literary archaeologist knows she has to preserve with the care of attentive criticism. Otherwise, what would be the point? More…

image Cruel Bites of Insanity

By Su’eddie Vershima Agema


  • Title: Bites of Insanity
  • Author: Nsah Mala
  • Publisher: Langaa RPCIG
  • Number of pages: 115
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

The African pen is a weapon of protest against societal ills. Many times, it seems that writers place the passion for their nations above other considerations.

In Bites of Insanity, Nsah Mala, a Cameroonian poet, reveals his fury at the rot of life, at evil and at the dehumanising drama of living in most parts of contemporary Africa. Indeed, he follows in the social commitment tradition of writers like Chinua Achebe, Oswald Mtshali, Servio Gbadamosi, hitting at government, religion, and ‘bad’ people. In the collection, there are tales of betrayal, disturbing tales like that of a boy who beheads his father. There is also a devotion to the environment, philosophy and blows struck at government’s inadequacy. More…