Tuesday, August 2, 2016

A SELECTION OF AFRICAN POETRY



By Theodore G Vincent and Kojo Senanu



'A magnificent work - and although published decades ago, not really dated as this is quintessential poetry dished out by some of the most outstanding poets/writers in African history. This was/is a veritable textbook and general work throbbing with the acme of poetry as produced by great early African writers. The names of the poets whose works are introduced here are illustrious - they include Lenrie Peters (Gambia), Okot p'bitek (Uganda), Leopold Senghor (Senegal), Wole Soyinka, J. P Clark (Nigeria), Kofi Awoonor, Kwesi Brew (Ghana), David Rubadiri, Denis Brutus (Southern Africa) among many others. This is a top-notch work which also includes the best of translations, even from African languages into English. The approach of the authors is sublime; as we are given brief biographies of the poets, and then individual poems are brilliantly analysed, with excellent comments and explanation. In the process we can appreciate the variegated figures of speech, general imagery and ideas of so many poems. We learn for example that poets like Soyinka and Peters are rather "difficult", yet the authors *editors, rather, pull out all the stops to simplify or explain their work in detail. The variety of selected sample poems is extraordinary - for example, one can relish a work like Lest we should be the last (by Kwesi Brew) whose dazzling simplicity reaches a bathetic crescendo...
- Malome

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Penny for Lechesa's Thoughts

Publisher: Mbali Press

Genre: Literary essays/criticism

Year of book publication: 2016




Contents include:

Introduction by Ishmael M Soqaga

Qoopane at 60: A Critique

Lechesa on Free State of Mind (poetry)

Lechesa interviews literary icon Zakes Mda

Lechesa adumbrates on Sesotho literature

Lechesa zeroes in on John Kani

The author, (above) has put together a solid body of literary work over the years.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday, July 15, 2016

MY MUSE

Authors: Hector Kunene and Nthabiseng JahRose Jafta



"When a journey to find a soul mate is cut short because of vindicating matters of two hearts who seem to meet each other, yet drifting apart due to seasonal abundance of both love and it's opposing measures. My Muse merges the end points of a relationship gone brutally challenged and left hanging by its dire skin to survive. Hector Kunene and Nthabiseng JahRose Jafta reveal some hard-core excruciating truths between reality and a dream

A personal reflection of one's realism is a must after reading this book, whether we love because it is convenient or we love our souls connect remains an introspective encounter. The two poets here do not shy away from writing about this journey that seems to have no beginning, neither ending" - from the blurb 

Friday, July 1, 2016

FAREWELL, ELECHI AMADI (1934 - 2016)


Tribute by I M Soqaga

Elechi Amadi, one of Africa's finest writers, has died. Apart from writing and publishing the acclaimed novel, The Concubine, Amadi was also author of several other excellent imaginative works.

One of Africa's early pre-eminent writers, his works were read by hundreds of thousands of people over the decades, and some of his books were studied in schools in West, and eastern African countries.












Yes, one of Africa’s sons, the priceless literary giant of African literature has finally departed this world.  Certainly Africa is reeling with the poignant demise of the “Captain” Elechi Amadi.  The continent is absolutely appalled at the gloomy bombshell.  Recently we witnessed how African pioneers and catalyst of black African literature leaving this world, like Chinua Achebe, Obi Egbuna, Lewis Nkosi, Es’kia Mphahlele, Grace Ogot, Kofi Awoonor etc.

Elechi Amadi has done tremendously well in advocating African literature with great vim.  Surely, his name can be mentioned and reckoned with profound ecstasy.  His name will remain memorable in many people’s mind.  He was one of the indomitable African writers who were not ashamed to express African literature unambiguously.

For decades- his contribution in African literature was categorically prodigious.  The peerless Elechi died at the time Africa is faces with mammoth challenge of ignorance. By the fact that is one of the early pioneers and catalyst of African literature, apparently a lot can be gained from his literary work.   Africa and Africans have to realize that ignorance is one of the precarious setbacks; its purpose is to seriously besmirch quintessential African literature.

Elechi Amadi was a Nigerian author of plays and novels that are generally about African village life, customs, beliefs and religious practices.  Amadi is best regarded for his 1966 first novel “The Concubine”, which has been called “an outstanding work of pure fiction”. Some of his works include The Great Ponds, Isiburu, Sunset in Biafra, Dance of Johannesburg, Peppersoup, The Road to Ibadan, The Slave, Estrangement and the Woman of Calabar.

Definitely, questions concerning the perpetual survival of African literature will always be asked.  As whether African literature is still apposite and vibrant like in the past years when the world would be astonished at the literary material African writers used to produce?  Significantly, ignorance in every single city of Africa is something that needs to be extirpated.  Obviously, Elechi Amadi is a paradigm in this context.  He boldly shunned the notion that Africans are incapable in cultivating awesome world class literary material.  Throughout his life, he actively committed himself by promulgating literary knowledge in this wise.

It is completely amazing at how the world recognized his unmitigated literary achievement.  His thrilling literary works remains monumental to many people in the world.  Currently the anticipation is that literary fraternity need to doff their hats and show sincere gratitude to the African own literary wordsmith “Elder” Elechi Amadi.  It is imperative for Africans to remain firm to bona fide African literature and to avoid being docile to the potent of modern technology with its engrossing comfort and privileges. 
Africans must always remember the importance of their heritage and be courageously active in promoting their heritage.  Elechi Amadi was instrumental as an exponent of African literature; this dimension was illustrated by his transcendent erudition that he displayed during colonial times and also in present time. He celebrated his 80th birthday in Port Harcourt, in 2014 releasing a souvenir edition of one of his plays, Isiburu to mark his 80th birthday.  His literary achievements must invariably continue to steer us as the living example that need to be emulated.  Rest in peace “Captain” Elechi Amadi!


Elechi Amadi's Works

    The Concubine (novel) - 1966 (London: Heinemann African Writers Series); Ibadan:
    The Great Ponds (novel) - 1969
    Sunset in Biafra (war diary) - 1973
    Isiburu (play) - 1973
    Peppersoup and The Road (plays, combined volume) 1977; Ibadan: Onibonoje Publishers
    Dancer of Johannesburg (play) - 1978, Ibadan: Onibonoje Publishers
    The Slave (novel) - 1978, Heinemann
    Ethics in Nigerian Culture (philosophy) - 1982, London: Heinemann
    Estrangement (novel) - 1986
    The Woman of Calabar (play) - 2002, Port Harcourt: Gitelle Press
    Speaking and Singing (essays and poems) - 2003, University of Port Harcourt Press
    Collected Plays (ed. Seiyifa Koroye) - 2004, Port Harcourt: Pearl Publishers

Saturday, June 11, 2016

LAOLU OGUNNIYI




Nigeria has produced quite a number of illustrious playwrights over the decades - like Wole Soyinka, Zulu Sofola, J. P. Clark, Femi Osofisan, Ola Rotimi among others.

The highly talented and charismatic Laolu Ogunniyi is however synonymous with the (small) screen more than any other playwright - with millions in west Africa enamoured with his work over the decades.

Laolu Ogunniyi obtained Graduate Diplomas in TV production and Cinematography from the Television and Film Academy of London. That was decades ago in his youth.

He would subsequently work in London University, University of Ibadan, Lead University, among otherss over the years. And in television he produced wonders!

Selected plays by Ogunniyi

Fateful Eclipse
Onibonoje Press
1975
87 pages

Riders on the Storm
Onibonoje Press
1975
71 pages

Candle in the Wind
Onibonoje Press
1977
75 pages

Better Days
Macmillan, Yaba Lagos
1982
73 pages


Secrets to be kept Forever
(broadcast on tv)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Anatomy of female power.. By Chinweizu





This is a controversial and provocative work; it is also a scholarly and intellectual contribution. The author apparently believes that women run the gauntlet of controlling and manipulating men. A plethora of eclectic references and allusions and comments are cleverly served up to convince us of the overt and covert powers of the fairer sex. Reality, sleight of hand, or 'bunkum' so to speak? Perhaps it depends on the reader, the race, society, class etc. As an African, I'd be reluctant to believe women are as powerful as this - the facts show that even in modern times most women are not only suppressed or oppressed in the continent but are actually cruelly treated, viciously raped, kidnapped, abused, especially in war-torn areas and in many rural communities. Polygamy is fairly common in Africa too, with many educated women finding themselves part of the harem of rich, powerful, and or even average men. Would one describe such women as having unbridled powers over their men; or that they are enjoying the situation they find themselves in? Or perhaps the author has western women and their ilk in mind; liberated women wearing the trousers at home? If only it were that simple - we tend to forget that even in the "civilized" world women were certainly at least second class citizens until comparatively very recently in world history. Africans perhaps who might doubt this can examine the themes of just two classics of literature in the western world. In The Mayor of Casterbridge (Thomas Hardy) a western man actually sells his own wife! Also consider The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte) where what seems simple now – a western woman "closing the door" on, and leaving a most debased, shocking husband was regarded as a revolutionary deed at the time! So yes, it has not been all roses for women, even if one concedes in our modern world that ladies are (in theory at least) every inch "equal" to men. The author here takes intellectual pains in explaining, delineating types of men and women, and how some women even gloat about their power over men! One suspects that all this is exaggerated and despite the physical attractions and allure of women, men cannot be such suckers...at least on a permanent level. But this is not to deny that women can be very powerful in their own way too; many men have fallen by the wayside because of the opposite sex, but it runs both ways. These days brazen, shameless female prostitution is multiplying in our societies, and can this by any stretch of the imagination be depicted as women manipulating or using men? Or are women victims; to a large extent hapless? On the whole, this work is intellectually intriguing and satisfying, a brilliant extended essay. But one has doubts about the conclusions the author apparently draws
- Malome