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).
‘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…
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…
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…