image If Your Neighbour Is Not Happy, There Is No Way You Can Be at Peace

By Tọ́pẹ́ Salaudeen-Adégòkè

  • Title: Mama Mudu’s Children: A South African Post-Freedom Tragi-Comedy
  • Author: Masitha Hoeane
  • Publisher: African Perspectives Publishing
  • Number of pages: 88
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Drama

The title of this review borrows from the cardinal message in the refrain of ‘The Path’, a song by the Nigerian folklorist, Beautiful Nubia. It is also the exigent message of the play Mama Mudu’s Children: A South African Post-Freedom Tragi-Comedy by Masitha Hoeane, which is a problem play set against the backdrop of xenophobia and the disintegration of those communal values that make up Ubuntu. On the book’s front cover, there is a sprawling shanty township and what seems to be a mob, or demonstrators, under two different banners: ‘Edladleni Hill’ and ‘Xenophobia’, with a faint spiral of smoke in the background, everything depicted in sharp monochrome. This is both an ironic take on the notion of the rainbow nation and an example of a random township in South Africa. More…

image We Need New Voices

By Veronica Elias Ugian

  • Title: The Rally
  • Author: Akanji Nasiru
  • Publisher: Kraft Books Limited
  • Number of pages: 124
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Drama

The Rally by Akanji Nasiru seeks to analyse the impact of the social injustices that have resulted in the enslavement of Africans by their fellow Africans and prevented Nigeria from attaining meaningful development. The play, which is divided into four episodes, is a political satire that examines the fight for change in an underdeveloped community held hostage by a cantankerous elite. The underlying tensions in the community are heightened by the struggle of youths who have learnt the ways of political justice and would like to see it in their community. More…

image Corruption at Its Ugliest in Chidubem Iweka’s August Inmates

By Veronica Elias Ugian

  • Title: August Inmates
  • Author: Chidubem Iweka
  • Publisher: Kraft Books Limited
  • Number of pages: 65
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Drama

‘There is no greater tyranny than that which is perpetrated under the shield of the law and in the name of justice’. – Charles-Louis de Secondat

Chidubem Iweka’s August Inmates is a fascinating, satirical play. Addressing politics, democracy and governance in Africa, the play explores a very relatable story. Many readers will easily identify with the plot and the characters, as they are reminders of our present political sphere. The writing is suspenseful and leaves readers on the edge of their seats, wondering how events will unfold. As far as suspense goes in literature, this play provides the highest form. More…

image 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…

image The Truth Will Set Your Soul Free

By Timi Odueso

  • Title: Death and the King’s Grey Hair
  • Author: Denja Abdullahi
  • Publisher: Kraft Books Limited
  • Number of pages: 62
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Drama

Drama, in Nigeria at least, has gained notoriety for being the least indulged genre in being written and being read. Although acted on stages occasionally, the genre in its documented form is less indulged in by readers and one of the reasons for this, perhaps, is because many playwrights often wrap the plot lines of their plays around political drama. Of the eleven longlisted plays for the 2018 Nigeria NLNG Prize for Literature, more than half dwelt on political themes, notably Jude Idada’s Sankara, Dul Johnson’s Melancholia and the winning play, Embers by Soji Cole. More…

image 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…

image Having Doves for Supper

By Ekemini Pius

  • Title: No More the Taming Hawks
  • Author: ’Diran Ademiju-Bepo
  • Publisher: Dynasty Gold Impact Books
  • Number of pages: 79
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Drama

’Diran Ademiju-Bepo’s play, No More the Taming Hawks, serves as a timely reminder that drama is not dead, and that prose and poetry have not entirely overrun the Nigerian literary scene. The play itself was longlisted for the 2018 NLNG Prize for Literature and is the final book in a trilogy; the first book, Rhythm of the Wind, was presented at the Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival in 1990. More…

image The Land of the Upright Man: A Review of Jude Idada’s Sankara

By Timi Odueso

  • Title: Sankara
  • Author: Jude Idada
  • Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 114
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Drama

‘There is no guarantee that those who have children would be remembered. What matters is that while you lived, you lived for something, and while you could, you helped to make a change’.

Although acted out daily, both on stage and in real life, drama can be seen as the least indulged of the literary forms. Unlike prose, it falls within stringent parameters, such as in its use of dialogue and characterisation. To captivate the reader, drama requires of the playwright not only skill but experience. Jude Idada’s Sankara earns its place alongside works by leading Nigerian playwrights like Femi Osofisan, Wole Soyinka and J P Clark, but it also raises the question of just how far fiction can be woven into the factional. More…

image When a King Dies

By Victor Udochi Iwueze-Elias

  • Title: Obito
  • Author: Sam Omatseye
  • Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 100
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Drama

In his drama, Obito, Sam Omatseye recreates the past while commenting on the present and the corruption and hypocrisy in Nigeria through deftly applied satire. In the African sensibility, the cycle of life comprises three distinct planes: the dead, the living and the unborn, which together form the wheel around which life revolves. The play hinges on the death of a king and the lengths people within the corridors of power will go to distort the truth. The play examines the role of the media in erecting smokescreens of falsehood and the ways in which a sometimes unsuspecting populace is held captive. In such circumstances – as the late Dora Akunyili once observed, in the absence of concrete facts concerning the health of the then Nigerian president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua – rumours are bound to take over. More…

image 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…