The Waves Bring Back Memories

By Tọ́pẹ́ Salaudeen-Adégòkè

  • Title: Questions for the Sea
  • Author: Stephen Symons
  • Publisher: uHlanga Press
  • Number of pages: 81
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Poetry

‘The waves bring back even things we haven’t lost’, a line from Yehuda Amichai’s poem ‘The Seashore’, is the epigraph that opens Questions for the Sea by Stephen Symons. This line is to be taken both as act and setting for Symons’ debut collection of poems. The sea is the motif in Questions for the Sea, the poet’s metaphor for self and country, South Africa. The reader is invited, as a surfer or beachgoer, to share in the memories brought back by waves. In this volume, Symons is a performer – because remembering itself is a conscious act – awash with both cherished personal moments and social, dark history. 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…

A Poetic Awareness of the Self

By Ayodele Ibiyemi 

  • Title: Liminal
  • Author: Douglas Reid Skinner
  • Publisher: uHlanga Press
  • Number of pages: 77
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Poetry

Liminal is Douglas Reid Skinner’s seventh collection of poems, and the age and experience of the poet are obvious throughout the collection. Although he is one of South Africa’s most prolific poets, he is not a canonised poet because of the politics and dynamics of canonisation. More…

The Yearnings of Our Hearts

By Omotola Otubela

  • Title: Wondering and Wandering of Hearts
  • Editors: Susan N Kiguli and Hilda J Twongyeirwe
  • Publisher: FEMRITE Publications Limited
  • Number of pages: 255
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Poetry

‘[T]he happiest aspect of this anthology for me is the dexterity and polish of the compositions of many of the young poets included. As I have said elsewhere, this refinement is, obviously, not accidental. It is the result of dedicated and systematic hard work, which is a sine-qua-non of all good writing. The young people’s seriousness in this direction is a heart-warming vindication of my lifelong advocacy of technique in creativity’. – Mwalimu Austin Bukenya, FEMRITE Honorary Member

Wondering and Wandering of Hearts is an anthology that features poems from renowned poets, young poets, as well as a new generation of emerging writers. The poems delve into the niches and nuances of different aspects of Ugandan society. Unlike FEMRITE’s previous anthology of short stories, Nothing to See Here (2015), this anthology of poems provides a generous representation of male voices. The reader will find thematic explorations of political, economic, social and psychological issues in this anthology. More…

Orality, Nostalgic Sensitivity and Cultural Nationalism in According to Sources

By Nureni Ibrahim 

  • Title: According to Sources 
  • Editors: Martin Egblewogbe and Mawuli Adjei
  • Publisher: Woeli Publishing Services
  • Number of pages: 85
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Poetry

‘For the African people, oral tradition is linked to their way of life. Most African societies place great worth in oral tradition because it is a primary means of conveying culture. It is also a mode of transmitting feelings and attitudes. For centuries, African people depended upon oral tradition to teach the listeners important traditional values and morals pertaining to how to live. Oral tradition delivers explanations to the mysteries of the universe and the meaning of life on earth’. – Sharon Wilson, ‘African Oral Tradition’

According to Sources is an anthology of poems by Ghanaian poets. It engages the reader on the themes of cultural nationalism, nostalgic sensitivity and the underlying principles of orality in postcolonial literature. The anthology is a projection of African customs and traditions. The poems are not only models of African culture, they also build a bridge between the precolonial and postcolonial African identities. ‘Libation of Blood’ and ‘Abracadabra Adabraka’ are two poems that treat precolonial and colonial African experiences and identities.


Martyrdom and Immortality in the Poems of Ogaga Ifowodo

By Ekemini Pius

  • Title: A Good Mourning
  • Author: Ogaga Ifowodo
  • Publisher: Parrésia Publishers Ltd
  • Number of pages: 78
  • Year of publication: 2016
  • Category: Poetry

A Good Mourning is a great attempt by Ogaga Ifowodo to immortalise people and events that have shaped history. With his superb ability in using imagery, he reopens old wounds and unearths the works of people who sacrificed themselves to make our world a better place. 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…

The Pursuit of Happiness

By Timi Odueso

  • Title: feeling and ugly
  • Author: Danai Mupotsa
  • Publisher: impepho press
  • Number of pages: 70
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Poetry

I want to dream of love that is tempestuous
That doesn’t come to me from behind
With badly formed cleverness and brokenness… (p 61)

In recent times, the art of poetry has become a symposium for sciolism, to wit, superficial pretension to knowledge. Modern-day writers have taken it upon themselves to re-invent the forms and structures of poetry, to create scribbles they title ‘Modern Poetry’. Often characterised by irregular sentences and non-existent rhythm or pattern, such poems are frequently written by writers who would rather impress than express, and thus they end up using big words and complex sentences instead of simple, short ones; for instance, ‘superfragalisticexpialidocious’ instead of ‘fantastic’, or ‘discombobulated’ instead of ‘confused’. More…

Poems of Authorial Expressivity, Realism and Ecocriticism

By Nureni Ibrahim 

  • Title: Fire Drought Water
  • Author: Christine Coates
  • Publisher: Damselfly Books
  • Number of pages: 65
  • Year of publication: 2018
  • Category: Poetry

One kind of poetry that resonates with readers is the one that recounts the lived experiences of the poet. How believable the words on a page are can make a collection more alluring, that is if the poems are constructed not from imagination or mere hearsay but, rather, from personal experiences. A number of African poetry volumes – Niyi Osundare’s Tender Moments: Love Poems, a collection of poems about the poet’s experiences with Hurricane Katrina in the United States, and Wole Soyinka’s A Shuttle in the Crypt, a collection that depicts the poet’s imprisonment in Nigeria and revolves around the theme of inhuman isolation – have sourced their inspiration from lived experiences. 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…