All posts by Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy

Identity in Fishere’s Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge
  • Author: Ezzedine C Fishere
  • Translator: John Peate
  • Publisher: Hoopoe
  • Number of pages: 163
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

Embrace on Brooklyn Bridge is beautifully told. It opens on the eve of Salma’s twenty-first birthday dinner. Her grandfather, Professor Darwish, an academic in the US, has spent two weeks planning the event and inviting friends from far and wide to help mark it. He also wants to use the occasion to explain why he has suddenly retired from the university, after twenty-five years, and why he has sold his house. Although an Egyptian by birth, he thinks little of his culture and its fanatics, preferring life in the US. To him, it is insane for anyone to compare the two countries. More…

Koleka’s Memories

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Collective Amnesia 
  • Author: Koleka Putuma
  • Publisher: uHlanga Press
  • Number of pages: 111
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Poetry

Koleka Putuma’s debut poetry collection, Collective Amnesia, is a collection of fifty-one poems divided into three parts: ‘Inherited Memory’, ‘Buried Memory’ and ‘Post Memory’. The three parts into which the collection is divided encompass all the memories that the society of the poet-persona would like to forget, as the title of the collection implies. Putuma was born in 1993 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and the themes in this collection are centred on the African society and its experiences. In the collection, the poet-persona describes her experiences as an African woman. She depicts African society and discusses its makeup, the good and the bad, and also evaluates all aspects of that society, leaving no stone unturned. More…

The Modern African Woman in Francine Simon’s Thungachi

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Thungachi
  • Author: Francine Simon
  • Publisher: uHlanga Press
  • Number of pages: 63
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Poetry

‘You have to read my poetry to understand my culture better and how complicated it is. I also had a lot of influence from the schools I went to. I was competing with the cultural effects of school and cultural effects of home, so I feel like I have mixed influences’. – Francine Simon

As a poet and a PhD candidate in the Department of English, Stellenbosch University, Francine Simon certainly has her fingers in more than one pie. Born in Durban in 1990 to Indian Catholic parents, Simon is ‘one of South Africa’s most unexpectedly excellent poetic débutantes’. Her poems are famous in South Africa and she is widely published in South African literary journals such as New Contrast, New Coin, and Aerodrome. More…

Personal and Social Beliefs in Jijana’s Failing Maths and My Other Crimes

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Failing Maths and My Other Crimes
  • Author: Thabo Jijana
  • Publisher: uHlanga Press
  • Number of pages: 65
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

Every literary work has the ability to depict certain experiential realities. This is because writers are embodiments of both personal and social experiences; hence, in their works, they portray the past-cum-immediate sensibilities of their age. In this regard, Thabo Jijana’s Failing Maths and My Other Crimes is a concise depiction of his personal beliefs and the social beliefs of his time. More…

A Review of Martin Aliker’s Autobiography

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: The Bell Is Ringing  
  • Author: Martin Aliker
  • Publisher: Fountain Publishers
  • Number of pages: 251
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Autobiography 

History has always been of great relevance. Every society needs to be well informed of past events in order to tackle the various vital aspects that make up its present. Knowing full well the relevant role history plays in society, Martin Aliker, an elder statesman in Uganda, uses his autobiography, The Bell Is Ringing, to relate his account of the historical development of his country. Born during the colonial era of the then British Protectorate of Uganda, coupled with his father’s position in the country, Aliker possesses first class information on both colonial and post-colonial Uganda. More…

The Effect of African Culture on African Literature: A Review of Tosin Gbogi’s locomotifs and other songs

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: locomotifs and other songs 
  • Author: Tosin Gbogi
  • Publisher: Noirledge Publishing
  • Number of pages: 95
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Poetry

Africa being a continent that is inhabited by a large percentage of people with dark skin pigmentation, the continent is also one that is rich in cultural norms, values and traditions. African literature, without a doubt, is deeply rooted in African culture. This is because the people’s customs, values, norms and traditions are basically the issues that form the content of African literature. More…

Literature as an Initiative for Social Change: The Effects of the Society on the African Woman

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Things I Will Tell My Daughter: Uncensored Truths on Love, Money and Womanhood
  • Author: Joan Thatiah
  • Number of pages: 180
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Essays

Joan Thatiah’s Things I Will Tell My Daughter, as the name implies, is loaded with harsh truths on sex, love, dating, money and womanhood. She gives detailed lessons on different issues confronting today’s young African woman, using Kenya as a case study. As she puts it:

This book is a candid look into things that I believe to be true. The lessons I learnt in time, the lessons I wish I had been taught earlier and the lessons I missed altogether; the lessons I hope to teach my daughter before life takes its turn on her (p 18).

More…

Predestination and the Human Experience

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Hang No Clothes Here 
  • Author: Bolaji Olatunde
  • Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 505
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Fiction

‘Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing’. – Macbeth, Act V, Scene V

Hang No Clothes Here centres on the life and experiences of an assistant superintendent in the Nigeria Police Force, John Braimoh, and how he ends up. His quest to return to Abuja after being posted to Lagos leads him to become entangled in the world of drug dealing. His bosom friend and senior colleague, Dennis Omoruyi, tells him about two drug cartels, a new threat that they target in a bid to secure their places in the Force and remain in Abuja. However, their plan to eliminate this new threat boomerangs, and Braimoh is forced to spy for the cartels after a series of threats, kidnappings and torture. In a bid to disentangle himself from the mess he has gotten into, he makes many tough decisions. More…

English as a Tool in Relating the African Experience

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: My Africa, My City: An Afridiaspora Anthology
  • Editor: Nana-Ama Kyerematen
  • Publisher: Winepress Publishing
  • Number of pages: 155
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Essays, Fiction, Poetry

In his collection of essays, Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o writes, ‘Language carries culture, and culture carries, particularly through orature and literature, the entire body of values by which we come to perceive ourselves and our place in the world’. English, acquired from European colonisers, has become a tool in bridging linguistic barriers between Africans. Chinua Achebe said in his essay, ‘The African Writer and the English Language’, ‘I feel that the English language will be able to carry the weight of my African experiences. But it will have to be a new English, still in full communion with its ancestral home, but altered to suit its new African surroundings’. In this light, English as used in African literature is not just what was bequeathed to us but a new Creole capable of relating the African experience. More…

Garden Weights as Political, Social and Spiritual Realism

By Ofuonyeadi Chukwudumebi Mercy


  • Title: Garden Weights: An Original Stage Play
  • Author: Andrew Busingye
  • Publisher: KHAMEL Publishing
  • Number of pages: 104
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Drama

Most works of literature are clearly products of the writer’s immediate environment or society. This is because most writers base their works on societal happenings and use their works as a form of constructive criticism of society at large. Literature has also been a powerful tool for depicting societal norms and values. Some writers like Wole Soyinka, J P Clark, Chinua Achebe, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Micere Mugo and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie have been able to use their works to promote African culture beyond the boundaries of Africa. More…