image The Girl Who Refused to Inherit Her Mother’s Silence

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 


  • Title: The Open Door
  • Author: Latifa al-Zayyat
  • Translator: Marilyn Booth
  • Publisher: Hoopoe
  • Number of pages: 383
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

The Open Door begins with a protest by young Egyptians against the monarchy in which Mahmud Sulayman is injured. His parents are apprehensive but proud of his actions. His sister, Layla, is excited and announces to her school friends that, ‘The English got him. They hit him because he is a nationalist. Because he is a hero’ (p 7). However, when another protest breaks out and she, too, is moved to participate, her scandalised father beats her while her mother laments that she has brought shame on the family. More…

image Who Is to Blame?

By Omotola Otubela


  • Title: Bled Dry
  • Author: Abdelilah Hamdouchi
  • Translator: Benjamin Smith
  • Publisher: Hoopoe
  • Number of pages: 242
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

In Abdelilah Hamdouchi’s Bled Dry, everyone is a suspect. Born in Meknes, Morocco, Abdelilah Hamdouchi is one of the first writers of police fiction in the Arabic language. Set in Casablanca, Morocco, Bled Dry was originally written in Arabic before it was translated into English by Benjamin Smith. Unlike the author’s previous books – which touched on issues surrounding migration and manipulations in international trade, Whitefly (2016), and false conviction and police brutality, The Final Bet (2016)Bled Dry digs into the minds as well as the actions and inaction of people who live in the slums of Casablanca. Here, the notion that every individual is a product of the society in which they live is effectively scrutinised. More…

image Tales of the African Experience

By Nureni Ibrahim 


  • Title: The Sea Has Drowned the Fish
  • Editors: Mamle Kabu and Martin Egblewogbe
  • Publisher: Techmate Publishers and Writers Project of Ghana
  • Number of pages: 257
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Fiction

The Sea Has Drowned the Fish is an anthology of short stories by budding and established African writers. It is the output of the Writers Project of Ghana and has some breathtaking works from familiar names such as Mary Ashun, Yewande Omotoso and Eghosa Imasuen. The writers explore a range of themes, including African culture, racial discrimination, apartheid, land alienation, political disillusionment, class struggle, love, homosexuality, sexual harassment and cultural displacement. More…

image We Need New Voices

By Veronica Elias Ugian


  • Title: The Rally
  • Author: Akanji Nasiru
  • Publisher: Kraft Books Limited
  • Number of pages: 124
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Drama

The Rally by Akanji Nasiru seeks to analyse the impact of the social injustices that have resulted in the enslavement of Africans by their fellow Africans and prevented Nigeria from attaining meaningful development. The play, which is divided into four episodes, is a political satire that examines the fight for change in an underdeveloped community held hostage by a cantankerous elite. The underlying tensions in the community are heightened by the struggle of youths who have learnt the ways of political justice and would like to see it in their community. More…

image Grandma’s Hands

By Vuyo Mzini


  • Title: May I Have This Dance
  • Author: Connie Manse Ngcaba
  • Publisher: Face2Face
  • Number of pages: 131
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Autobiography

Bill Withers, the soulful American singer-songwriter who recorded between the early 1970s and mid 1980s, has a song titled ‘Grandma’s Hands’. In Withers’ characteristic style of simple lyrics and melodies, the three-verse song summarises the love of a grandmother through anecdotes about domestic harmony, musical creativity, resilience, family and humanity. The autobiography of Mama Connie Manse Ngcaba, titled May I Have This Dance, has similar musicality and reads like a long conversation with a loving grandmother. It is peppered with flavoursome anecdotes and delivered gracefully. The wise 84-year-old authoritatively retells the story of a life governed by guiding principles of love, discipline and loyalty to one’s kin. More…

image Cutting Culture Off: A Review of Mary Karooro Okurut’s The Switch

By Timi Odueso


  • Title: The Switch
  • Author: Mary Karooro Okurut
  • Publisher: FEMRITE Publications Limited
  • Number of pages: 211
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

‘Culture can be the worst form of imprisonment’. – Dr Medard

Mary Karooro Okurut’s The Switch contains numerous exhilarating elements but first and foremost is the intensity and intrigue the first few pages offer. The suspense, right from the first few pages, is reminiscent of a thriller novel. Readers will feel the same impending sense of danger they feel in reading prolific thriller writers like James Patterson, John Grisham or Nora Roberts, and although The Switch is not a crime thriller or a mystery novel per se, it still, heavily so, employs elements from those sub-genres and that gives it a unique style. In fact, the style of writing and the elements involved are so unusual for books with the same or similar themes as The Switch that the effect is pleasantly surprising. More…

image A Poetic Awareness of the Self

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 


  • Title: Liminal
  • Author: Douglas Reid Skinner
  • Publisher: uHlanga Press
  • Number of pages: 77
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Poetry

Liminal is Douglas Reid Skinner’s seventh collection of poems, and the age and experience of the poet are obvious throughout the collection. Although he is one of South Africa’s most prolific poets, he is not a canonised poet because of the politics and dynamics of canonisation. More…

image The Yearnings of Our Hearts

By Omotola Otubela


  • Title: Wondering and Wandering of Hearts
  • Editors: Susan N Kiguli and Hilda J Twongyeirwe
  • Publisher: FEMRITE Publications Limited
  • Number of pages: 255
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Poetry

‘[T]he happiest aspect of this anthology for me is the dexterity and polish of the compositions of many of the young poets included. As I have said elsewhere, this refinement is, obviously, not accidental. It is the result of dedicated and systematic hard work, which is a sine-qua-non of all good writing. The young people’s seriousness in this direction is a heart-warming vindication of my lifelong advocacy of technique in creativity’. – Mwalimu Austin Bukenya, FEMRITE Honorary Member

Wondering and Wandering of Hearts is an anthology that features poems from renowned poets, young poets, as well as a new generation of emerging writers. The poems delve into the niches and nuances of different aspects of Ugandan society. Unlike FEMRITE’s previous anthology of short stories, Nothing to See Here (2015), this anthology of poems provides a generous representation of male voices. The reader will find thematic explorations of political, economic, social and psychological issues in this anthology. More…

image People of the Book: A Review of Diary of a Jewish Muslim

By Ona Akinde 


  • Title: Diary of a Jewish Muslim 
  • Author: Kamal Ruhayyim 
  • Translator: Sarah Enany
  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
  • Number of pages: 240
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

In the first half of the twentieth century, there were thousands of Jews living in Egypt. With the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, their lives in Egypt became increasingly difficult and many emigrated to Europe. Not only did the war have an effect on the status of things in reality, it led to a great absence of Arab Jews in African literature in Arabic. Kamal Ruhayyim, through his novels, tells stories that place Arab Jews not just at the centre of the novels, but as part of the fabric of Arab communities. More…

image Orality, Nostalgic Sensitivity and Cultural Nationalism in According to Sources

By Nureni Ibrahim 


  • Title: According to Sources 
  • Editors: Martin Egblewogbe and Mawuli Adjei
  • Publisher: Woeli Publishing Services
  • Number of pages: 85
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

‘For the African people, oral tradition is linked to their way of life. Most African societies place great worth in oral tradition because it is a primary means of conveying culture. It is also a mode of transmitting feelings and attitudes. For centuries, African people depended upon oral tradition to teach the listeners important traditional values and morals pertaining to how to live. Oral tradition delivers explanations to the mysteries of the universe and the meaning of life on earth’. – Sharon Wilson, ‘African Oral Tradition’

According to Sources is an anthology of poems by Ghanaian poets. It engages the reader on the themes of cultural nationalism, nostalgic sensitivity and the underlying principles of orality in postcolonial literature. The anthology is a projection of African customs and traditions. The poems are not only models of African culture, they also build a bridge between the precolonial and postcolonial African identities. ‘Libation of Blood’ and ‘Abracadabra Adabraka’ are two poems that treat precolonial and colonial African experiences and identities.

More…