All posts by Jumoke Verissimo


By Jumoke Verissimo

  • Title: Stay with Me
  • Author: Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
  • Publisher: Ouida Books
  • Number of pages: 306
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

For many newly-weds, aside from the many domestic variables, a vital hope for the marriage is that the bride will get pregnant at the expected time, as the expectation is that children will come. Well, until they do not come. This then becomes the problem that weaves the family in an emotional tangle. The couple, their relatives and even their friends cannot escape the discomfiture of proffering and/or listening to solutions that range from the absolutely ridiculous to the medically untenable. This unspeakable sorrow of childless couples who desire children is the pivot of Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀’s debut novel, Stay with Me. In it, she tells a gripping story, exploring the anxieties of childlessness, weaving that around the themes of sickle-cell disease, love and superstition, all with an effusive display of Yoruba culture. More…

Reassessing African Poetry Fifty Years after Song of Lawino

By Jumoke Verissimo

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

It is fifty years since the book Song of Lawino first got published. The volume of poetry by the legendary Ugandan poet was one of the first widely accepted attempts to authenticate African oral tradition in the language of the colonialists. It is also a product of the school of writers who experimented with the concept of mirroring themselves in literature, who grappled with creating conceivable bridges between the traditional oral forms and the acquired language of the colonialist, who would not wipe the stock of images with which they were familiar off the face of the earth but preferred to distort it. This issue of ideological distortion of the African experience, this discourse, the discourse, still hovers above literature written by Africans. More…

The Spirit of the Desert and the Legend It Births

By Jumoke Verissimo

  • Title: Anubis
  • Author: Ibrahim al-Koni
  • Translator: William M Hutchins
  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
  • Number of pages: 184
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Fiction

Anubis is a novel that needs to be read like a sacred text, which implies reading it more than once. First, for its density and layers of meaning – the book is like a rich archaeological site that must be revisited, again and again. Second, the reader will derive great pleasure from the beauty of the book’s language. More…

This Is How History Is Fortified

By Jumoke Verissimo

  • Title: With My Head above the Parapet: An Insider Account of the ANC in Power
  • Author: Ben Turok
  • Publisher: Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd
  • Number of pages: 214
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Politics

‘But there is no room for sentimentality in politics and I am in no mood to put a rosy gloss on where we are now’ (p 11).

This quote from the ‘Introduction’ in Ben Turok’s book, With My Head above the Parapet: An Insider Account of the ANC in Power, prepares the reader for an insightful procedure on the economy and politics of the ANC in power, based on the experience of a veteran and active member of the party. More…