Autobiography

image 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…

image Destiny Comes with a Whip in Her Left Hand and a Salve in Her Right

By Timi Odueso


  • Title: Path of Destiny: An Autobiography
  • Author: Jimoh Mosobalaje Oyawoye
  • Publisher: Bookcraft Africa
  • Number of pages: 571
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Autobiography

There are very few voluminous autobiographies in which the reader is able to decipher the tragic flaw of the author. This is so for a number of reasons. In the first place, many authors tend to proselytise. This makes their books unrealistic because, even though the author is writing about their personal experiences and how they overcame certain obstacles, they fail to understand that what works for Peter may not work for Paul. In the second place, many portray their personas as saintly. Where the subject is a prominent member of the community they often gloss over their faults in a bid to present themselves as infallible. But we are all flawed. A good example is Olusegun Obasanjo’s My Watch, where his faults are glossed over in order that he might portray himself as a saint. In Goodluck Jonathan’s My Transition Hours, the author opens himself up to the charge of naiveté in order to push the blame for his failings on to others. Jimoh Oyawoye’s Path of Destiny is different. More…

image The Naguib Mahfouz Reader: Portrait of a Novelist as a Historian

By Emeka Ugwu


  • Title: The Naguib Mahfouz Reader
  • Editor: Denys Johnson-Davies
  • Publisher: The American University in Cairo Press
  • Number of pages: 327
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Fiction and Autobiography

‘You can’t understand Egypt without Mahfouz – without his characters, with whom every reader, Arab or not, can identify’. – Tahar Ben Jelloun

‘The older distinction between fiction and history [must] give place to the recognition that we can only know the actual by contrasting it with or likening it to the imaginable’. – Hayden White

Edited by Denys Johnson-Davies, whom the cultural critic and public intellectual Edward Said described as ‘the leading Arabic-English translator of our time’, The Naguib Mahfouz Reader starts an unwitting reader out on a heady journey straight into the heart of modern Egypt. It is a book that houses English translations of a small selection of short stories, excerpts of novels and autobiographical works by the Egyptian Nobel Laureate, Naguib Mahfouz. The collection showcases writings that span six decades, from 1944 to 2004. More…

image In the Jungle of Exclusives: African Eyes and Other Solecisms of Seeing

By Tunji Olalere


  • Title: Through My African Eyes
  • Author: Jeff Koinange
  • Publisher: Footprint Press
  • Number of pages: 258
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Autobiography

‘I wanted to bring the African story to an American audience and let them decide, instead of blocking it and forgetting about us’.

Former CNN Africa Correspondent, Jeff Koinange, has taken to the page to give an account of the nearly five decades he has spent on earth in his autobiography, Through My African Eyes. More…

image The Spirals of Life

By Tunji Olalere


  • Title: Growing Up with Tanzania: Memories, Musings and Maths
  • Author: Karim F Hirji
  • Publisher: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 286
  • Year of publication: 2014
  • Category: Autobiography

‘I was looking for the athletic, handsome guy of the Ruvu National Service days. Instead there was a skinny skeleton with an almost bald head, scrawny face and sunken eyes. Who is this strange buffoon? Is it me? Who am I?’ More…