Essays

image 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…

image In Search of a New Order

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 


  • Title: Conversations about the Youth in Kenya
  • Author: Raphael Obonyo
  • Publisher: The Youth Congress
  • Number of pages: 61
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Essays

One of the most powerful assets a nation has is its youth since it is they who contribute the most to the output of the nation. Across the world, political aspirants invariably campaign on the promise that they will prioritise the concerns of the youth. In Africa, the youth, who are the overwhelming majority have been uniformly sidelined, even though the difference between ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries turns on how the latent potential of youth is harnessed. More…

image Americana Blues

By Ona Akinde 


  • Title: This American Life Sef
  • Editors: Rudolf Ogoo Okonkwo 
  • Publisher: Winepress Publishing
  • Number of pages: 94
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Essays

Over the years, there has been a significant rise in the number of Nigerians leaving the country for greener pastures. According to the US Department of State, more than 163,000 immigrant and non-immigrant visas were issued to Nigerians between March 2017 and January 2018, accounting for 32.78 per cent of visas issued to 54 countries on the continent. We hear the stories of Nigerians leaving at all cost, of prayer and fasting for visas and how leaving for America is the ultimate dream. What we do not often hear is the downside, what leaving your home country for another truly means. This is what Okonkwo sets out to achieve in This American Life Sef, a collection of five essays and two short stories documenting the experiences of Africans living in America. More…

image Youth: Nigeria’s Fulcrum

By Ekemini Pius 


  • Title: The Audacity of Youth 
  • Author: Tochi Okafor
  • Publisher: Winepress Publishing
  • Number of pages: 122
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Essays

Tochi Okafor is a widely recognised figure in the field of youth development. He begins this motivational book by emphasising the importance of youth as a delicate stage in a person’s life. He reels off names of people around the world who became known for great things in their teens and twenties. He regrets that most young people postpone their dreams until they have acquired a university degree, whereupon they go searching for non-existent jobs instead of channelling their entrepreneurial energies into creating opportunities for themselves and others. To make matters worse, many of them engage in anti-social activities as a result of their unemployment. The author himself is not enthused about white collar jobs, which he sees as characterised by wage slavery and the stifling of untapped potential. The work that brings satisfaction is the one we generate for ourselves. More…

image 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…

image The Craft of Happiness

By Veronica Elias Ugian 


  • Title: Life, Lessons… My Path to Happiness
  • Author: Abisola Biya
  • Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 116
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Essays

Is happiness attainable? In Life, Lessons… My Path to Happiness, Abisola Biya answers in the affirmative and further says it is a choice. The book seeks to develop the mind of readers in order to enable them see things positively and strive for happiness regardless of the prevailing situation. The lessons Biya explores cover different experiences that people go through. She advocates that anyone can live a fulfilled life if only they cultivate the right mentality by approaching challenges through the prisms of self-love, self-value and the right disposition. More…

image We Need to Tell Our Stories: A Review of She Called Me Woman

By Ona Akinde 


  • Title: She Called Me Woman: Nigeria’s Queer Women Speak
  • Editors: Azeenarh Mohammed, Chitra Nagarajan and Rafeeat Aliyu
  • Publisher: Cassava Republic Press
  • Number of pages: 357
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Essays

There are many ways to describe silence: deafening, accepting, reassuring, uncomfortable, but one of its most outstanding, if negative, descriptions is that of a thief. Not just in the literal sense, but in the ways the culture of silence forces us to keep our stories and realities secret, in the ways it steals our existence from us. More…

image A Review of Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics

By Agatha Aduro


  • Title: Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics
  • Editors: Rose Marie Beck and Kai Kresse
  • Publisher: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 147
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Essays

Abdilatif Abdalla: Poet in Politics is a collection of essays in honour of the Kenyan poet. It is composed mainly of papers that were presented at a symposium in honour of Abdilatif Abdalla on the occasion of his retirement from the University of Leipzig at the end of a fifteen-year teaching stint. The book is divided into four sections preceded by a preface and the editors’ acknowledgment. The papers are authored by a wide range of contributors, from renowned authors Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Said Ahmed Khamis to Sheik Abdillahi Nassir, a noted Islamic scholar, translator and political activist who is also Abdalla’s elder brother. More…

image Life and Living It: Reflections and Contradictions

By Kwabena Agyare Yeboah


  • Title: Life, Love, Lies
  • Author: Fonkeng E f
  • Publisher: Langaa RPCIG
  • Number of pages: 32
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Essays

Life, Love, Lies reads like a Twitter rant. What is contained in the book is the conclusion of a thought process, but we are not privy to the thought process itself. This makes the conclusion both difficult and easy to disagree with. At the end of it, the meaning-making of the book is subjective, just as our meaning-making, everyone of us, is subjective.

Life, Love, Lies is a book full of contradictions. The introductory note first warns that these ‘reflections are not presented as philosophy, nay theology’ and then it cautions the reader to ‘stay off the more or less mysterious path even if a number of reflections might end up projecting that (Socratic-Aristotelian-Platonic) aura’. More…

image A Review of Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda

By Agatha Aduro


  • Title: Crossroads: Women Coming of Age in Today’s Uganda
  • Editor: Christopher Conte
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Number of pages: 172
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Essays

Christopher Conte is a writer and editor based in Washington, DC. In 2008, he began working in Uganda as a journalist for a Kampala-based newspaper, a stint that lasted two years. His interactions with certain people gave him the idea of publishing a book filled with factual stories about the everyday lives of Ugandan women, to give insights into life in Uganda. This he explains succinctly in his introduction: ‘We hoped that stories by “ordinary” people, told in the straight-forward manner of journalism, would offer readers more authentic glimpses into one small corner of a huge and diverse continent that is neither as pitiful nor as romantic as the stereotypes suggest’. More…