All posts by Ayodele Ibiyemi

Enemies Within: A Review of Kọ́lá Akínlàdé’s Ta L’olè Ajọ́mọgbé?

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 

  • Title: Ta L’olè Ajọ́mọgbé?
  • Author: Kọ́l Akínlàdé
  • Publisher: University Press PLC
  • Number of pages: 151
  • Year of publication: 1992
  • Category: Fiction

Kọ́lá Akínlàdé’s novel, Ta L’olè Ajọ́mọgbé? (Who is the Kidnapper?), was published in 1992, when Nigeria was preparing to return to democracy. Akínlàdé belongs to a generation of authors who wrote in their native Yorùbá language despite the dwindling fortunes of the publishing industry at the time. For the most part of General Ibrahim Babangida’s eight-year military rule, education in Nigeria grew worse and publishers’ operations ceased as a dwindling middle class meant that the book market also shrank. Books written in indigenous languages were hit the hardest and they are yet to recover. Kọ́lá Akínlàdé is one of Yorùbá language’s most prolific authors and he excels at crime fiction. One of his novels, Owó Ẹ̀jè, was adapted to a film by Remdel Communications in 2003. More…

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…

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…

Little Fires Everywhere

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 

  • Title: Embers
  • Author: Soji Cole
  • Publisher: Omojojolo Books (Emotion Press)
  • Number of pages: 101
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Drama

One of the raging arguments in literature is the purpose of literature itself. The need to query purposes and existence is innate in human beings, and it is not out of place to question the purpose of literature or trace the roots of literary works. Authors write for several reasons and their works are offshoots of several influences and experiences. Historical events like military dictatorships and the Nigerian Civil War have led to several literary works over the years and so it becomes imperative for the current wave of terrorism and insurgency to herald another genre. More…

Delaying the Evil Day

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 

  • Title: Maybe Tomorrow
  • Author: Soji Cole
  • Publisher: Kraft Books Limited
  • Number of pages: 79
  • Year of publication: 2013
  • Category: Drama

One of the issues attracting the attention of contemporary Nigerian authors is the environmental crisis in the Niger Delta. It is a crisis of several dimensions. Both native and non-native writers have appraised the issue. In drama, Ahmed Yerima’s Hard Ground, which won several literary prizes, remains one of the most lucid literary representations of the region. No group is spared in the play as the dynamics of the crisis is explored. In Maybe Tomorrow, Soji Cole, despite being from another part of Nigeria’s Southern region, takes the issues addressed in Hard Ground further. The play, like Hard Ground, is published under the same Kraftgriots Series and it is deeper and more insightful with its efficient use of history. More…

Appraising the Bliss of Innocence

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 

  • Title: Deserted
  • Author: Bob G Kisiki
  • Publisher: Rhema Books
  • Number of pages: 218
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction

For Uganda, long years of dictatorship seem to have affected the volume of literature produced, which in any case focuses heavily on politics in the way South Africans focused on apartheid. Bob Kisiki, with four published novels, cannot be called a new author even though he does not enjoy the continent-wide fame that some of his contemporaries do. A complete man of the arts, he also writes songs, plays and newspaper columns, as well as short stories and poems. More…

His-Story of Nigerian Football

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 

  • Title: Story of Heroes and Epics: The History of Football in Nigeria
  • Author: Wiebe Boer
  • Publisher: Bookcraft Ltd
  • Number of pages: 159
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: History

Wiebe Boer’s fittingly titled A Story of Heroes and Epics: The History of Football in Nigeria adds to the lean catalogue of books on Nigerian football history. Boer was born and raised in Nigeria, and his book is an expansion of his PhD dissertation. In twelve chapters, he details the development of the game from 1904, before the geographical area became known as Nigeria. Relying on interviews, archives and newspaper articles he creates a masterfully crafted summary of his subject. More…

In Search of a New Order

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 

  • Title: Conversations about the Youth in Kenya
  • Author: Raphael Obonyo
  • Publisher: The Youth Congress
  • Number of pages: 61
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Essays

One of the most powerful assets a nation has is its youth since it is they who contribute the most to the output of the nation. Across the world, political aspirants invariably campaign on the promise that they will prioritise the concerns of the youth. In Africa, the youth, who are the overwhelming majority have been uniformly sidelined, even though the difference between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries turns on how the latent potential of youth is harnessed. More…

African Solutions to World Problems: A Review of Kayode Oguntebi’s Viral Load

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 

  • Title: Viral Load
  • Author: Kayode Oguntebi
  • Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 369
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

Viral Load is a thoughtful story of redemption and the limitless capacity of humanity for good. Although it examines various issues, every subplot features the triumph of good over evil. The story shows that flawed, though, humanity is, redemption can be absolute and altruism is good in itself. It is the story of many young Africans and one with a good ending. More…

Against Liberalism and Idealism

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 

  • Title: Euphoria of Sophistry
  • Author: Terseer Sam Baki
  • Publisher: SEVHAGE Publishers
  • Number of pages: 62
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

Terseer Sam Baki’s collection extends the frontiers of poetry as it deals with several issues affecting human existence. It can be termed absolute poetry, going by the variety of themes treated. The collection is also deliberately designed to reflect this. More…