Monday, February 20, 2017

OCTOBER. By Zoe Wicomb

'Mercia Murray is a woman of fifty-two years who has been left.”

Abandoned by her partner in Scotland, where she has been living for twenty-five years, Mercia returns to her homeland of South Africa to find her family overwhelmed by alcoholism and secrets. Poised between her life in Scotland and her life in South Africa, she recollects the past with a keen sense of irony as she searches for some idea of home. In Scotland, her life feels unfamiliar; her apartment sits empty. In South Africa, her only brother is a shell of his former self, pushing her away. And yet in both places she is needed, if only she could understand what for. Plumbing the emotional limbo of a woman who is isolated and torn from her roots, October is a stark and utterly compelling novel about the contemporary experience of an intelligent immigrant, adrift among her memories and facing an uncertain middle age.

With this pitch-perfect story, the "writer of rare brilliance” (The Scotsman) ZoĆ« Wicomb—who received one of the first Donald Windham Sandy M. Campbell Literature Prizes for lifetime achievement—stands to claim her rightful place as one of the preeminent contemporary voices in international fiction.' - blurb

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Buchi Emecheta (1944-2017)

- An extraordinary African Woman Writer

By I. M Soqaga

Absolutely, Africa for decades has produced many prodigious and capable writers whose writing fascinates the world exceedingly.  Africa has something important to boast about when it comes to African literature.  Writers of profound stature like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, Lewis Nkosi, Mongo Beti, Esk’iaMphahlele, Bessie Head, Mariama Ba, Miriam Tlali, OusmaneSembene, Ama Ata Aidoo, GraceOgotetc are from Africa.

Of course, due to oodles factors African writers have been displaying their literary prowess from other countries of the world like in Europe and America.  Also others have been flourishing in African soil.  However, like I mentioned that there are large numbers of reasons for African writers to thrive outside Africa.  As the world is mourning the elegiac demise and simultaneously celebrates the life of one of the sedulous African women writer BuchiEmecheta, Africa has to remember that BuchiEmecheta was from Africa.  Her early life began in Africa-Nigeria.

Apparently, BuchiEmecheta is associated with Britain because she spent most of her life in Britain.  Worked as a library officer for British Museum in London, youth worker and sociologist for the inner London Education Authority and as well as a community worker.  It is imperative for Africans to comprehend that Mama Emecheta was not a British African as many are already purporting.

To highlight, her trenchant literary work speaks on its own.  BuchiEmecheta although she might be linked with feminist because of her writing which some believe are reflecting feminist views, albeit she do not acquiesce to that.  She would be remembered by saying “I work toward the liberation of women but I’m not feminist.  I’m just a woman.”

Like many early African woman writers such as Miriam Tlali, Bessie Head, Flora Nwapa, Ama Ata Aido, Grace Ogot, Mariama Ba etc.  BuchiEmecheta produced enormous number of exhilarating work of literature.  Her books are on the national curricula of several African countries.  To reckon Buchi Emecheta literary life started when African women writing was not so popular.  However, due to her sterling work as the early pioneer and catalyst of African woman literature, African women literature has been thoroughly recognized. Obvious, she deserved to be commended as the one of the female writer who works tirelessly in promoting African literature.  Her demise has attracted comments from prominent literary pundits like Raphael Mokoena, Tisetso Thiba and Chief  O Bolaji. 

Their riveting comments show explicitly that Buchi Emecheta was international acclaim writer.  Raphael commented that: "Very heart rending, she was a magnificent writer. A born writer...did Africa proud as a young woman in London, writing books upon books. Wonderfully critiqued and celebrated too.   Thiba as well, he eloquently stated that:  She was very powerful indeed. 

Plaintively and excitingly Bolaji added:  BuchiEmecheta, arguably Africa's greatest-ever black (creative)writer, is dead. Her string of superb novels date back to the 1970s...She published over 25 books. Her autobiography, Head above water, is one of the most celebrated in our continent. Although she always wrote in up liftment of the dignity of women and children, she denied being a feminist. Works of hers like The Joys of Motherhood, and Destination Biafra are regarded as literary tour de force. Emecheta died at the age of 72. She inspired many writers, including the prominent SA literary activist and publisher, Charmaine Kolwane.  The topics she covered in her writing include child marriage, life as a single mother, abuse of women and racism in the UK and elsewhere.

It is too gratifying to see prominent African women writers like Buchi Emecheta continue to write to inspired till she departed this world.  Today, African woman writing is very popular and fetching.  We see young African female writers produce thrilling literary work that is congenial.  Africa needs to be proud about female writers like ChimamandaNgoziAdichie, Sefi Atta, Taiye Silas, Veronique Tadjo, Noviolet Bulawayo, Charmaine Kolwane, Jah Rose, MatshidisoTaleng etc.  As we are reeling with sadness over the sombre loss of Mama BuchiEmecheta it is important to constantly remember her and celebrate her astronomical literary works with great glee. May her soul rest in peace!!!     

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Books reviewed here: 

Comes the Voyager at last. By Kofi Awoonor.
Anatomy of female power. By Chinweizu.
Black Man's Dilemma. By Areoye Oyebola. 
Kossoh Town Boy. By Robert Wellesley Cole.
The Edifice. By Kole Omotoso. 
A selection of African Poetry. By Senanu and Vincent.  
She no longer weeps. By Tsistsi Dangarembga.   
Symphony of Destruction. By Sunday Adebomi.
Winds against my soul. By Laolu Ogunniyi.     
People of the city. By Cyprian Ekwensi. 
Kasi Nerd. By Tebogo Ditshego.
The Worshippers. By Victor Thorpe.    
The history of the Yorubas. By Samuel Johnson.   
African Delights. By Siphiwo Mahala.
Deepest Springs. By NMM Duman.    
The Dreaded Farm. By J Olu Ogunsusi.     
Why are we so blest? By Ayi Kwei Armah.  
An Introduction to the African Novel. By Eustace Palmer.  
The Trials of Brother Jero. By Wole Soyinka.
The trouble with Nigeria. By Chinua Achebe

Saturday, December 17, 2016


Better Than Gold 

A poem by Rufai Kaothar Atinuke (Obafemi Awolowo University)

Precious yellow metal
Used for making ornaments and jewellery
You are valuable, you are good

But there is something better than you
Gold is good and costly
Silver is wanted by many

But there is something better still
Good name is better than gold
When a person with gold dies

He is forgotten as soon as his gold is shared
When a person with good name dies
He is constantly remembered

Humans’ good deeds are written in gold
A good name endures and stays forever

Friday, December 9, 2016


The highlight of the occasion was the major speech well known literary critic, Mr Pule Lechesa delivered, extolling the vision and goodwill of Mrs Schimper. For good measure he sprinkled his address with references:

1. For the love of Words: focus on the Eclectic Writers Club. 2001.   
2.  The Growth of Free State Black Writing (Part 6). Edited by Peter Moroe. 2008.        
3. "The Bard of Bloemfontein". By Achal Prabhala. Chimurenga Journal. 2011. (Also online)   
4. It Couldn't Matter Less. By O Bolaji. 2013.     
5. Windmills of the Dames. By O Bolaji. 2014.      
6.  "Literature: Women can be Awesome!" By Leke Giwa (Ghana). Available online via this link:                                                                                                              Note photo of Mrs Schimper in this feature, online.
7.  “Lechesa graces Macufe Wordfest” By Pule Lechesa (also available online)