image 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…

image 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…

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 Everything to See

By Omotola Otubela


  • Title: Nothing to See Here
  • Editor: Hilda Twongyeirwe
  • Publisher: FEMRITE Publications Limited
  • Number of pages: 283
  • Year of publication: 2015
  • Category: Fiction

Nothing to See Here is an anthology that comprises sixteen short stories by sixteen African women writers. One can think of it as a box containing cupcakes of different flavours, with the flavours representing the different subject matters addressed by these stories. The icing on these cupcakes is the biographies of the authors at the end of the book. The bird perched on a wire on the book cover depicts the perspectives of not only the writers as they address certain issues but also of the readers as they perceive these stories. More…

image 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…

image Little Memories

By Veronica Elias Ugian


  • Title: Nyambura Waits for the Bus
  • Author: Cath Alexander
  • Illustrator: Catherine Groenewald
  • Publisher: Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd
  • Number of pages: 32
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Children

Nyambura Waits for the Bus is a fascinating story that reveals the essence of our journey in life, our humanity, our memories, patience, generosity and love. The author, Cath Alexander, lives in Johannesburg with her family. She began writing children’s literature when she realised there was a gap that needed to be filled in terms of sharing the diverse cultures and ways of life in South Africa with children. More…

image Three Wise Men

By Ekemini Pius


  • Title: The Elders at the Door
  • Author: Maryanne Bester
  • Illustrator: Shayle Bester
  • Publisher: Jacana Media (Pty) Ltd
  • Number of pages: 79
  • Year of publication: 2017
  • Category: Children

Maryanne Bester’s The Elders at the Door is a story about a family living in a village. One day, while they are preparing to have breakfast, they hear a knock on the door. The mother peers out of the window to find three Elders standing at the door. She opens the door and invites them to come in and eat with her family, but they refuse to come in all at once and ask her to choose one of them to enter the house. The mother goes back to ask her family who they think should come in among the three Elders, namely Wisdom, Blessing, and Love. More…

image 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…

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…