Tuesday, April 22, 2014


By O Bolaji

We were not particularly close when we were in the secondary school -
hence I was a bit surprised at his fulsome, effulgent greetings. He
more or less swept me into his arms beaming beatifically.    

"Seye Bolaji!" He screamed. "After over 20 years I am seeing you again
in the flesh!" He smiled. "I can see that even in your old age you are
still shy..." We reminisced about the old days which always seem

He went on: "I am so proud of you and your literary
exploits. To think an old boy from our school could have published 30
books and won so much praise across the board. But you know what
impresses me most - it was the tribute to your father...".    

At this stage somewhat to my embarrassment, he burst into tears! "Your
father, Eselby (Labanji) Bolaji was such a great good man," he said, wiping away
his tears. "It was good of you to immortalise his way in books -".

"But," I said, worried about his tears. "The book I published
on my father (The golden pen of Eselby) came out many many years

"I am not referring to that book," my old friend said. "I am referring to the publishing company you set up in
South Africa - Eselby JNR PUBLICATIONS. Named after your father. The
firm has published so many books over the years. I read all about it
on the internet..."

Ah, Eselby Jnr Publications! When I was much younger I used to
greatly admire the few black African publishers around - like
Aromolaran, Fourth Dimension and Fagbamigbe Publishers.  

Later in life I would indeed manage to orchestrate a small book
publishing firm, Eselby Jnr Publications. The firm over the years
would publish some of my own books.  

It would also publish other African writers - Maxwell Perkins Kanemanyanga from Zimbabwe, who has
released three works of fiction - all published by my firm. His latest
book is Chapindapasi (2013).  

 We were also very proud to publish the book, Promoting Quintessential African Writing written
by Ishmael Mzwandile Soqaga the well known South African essayist and

Not that the firm publishes only men! I found myself chuckling. I remembered publishing a book written by Julia Mooi, a charming intelligent literary activist.  

I must also admit that it pleases me no end that books published by Eselby Jnr Publications are stocked in many international universities - like Yale, Northwest University, the Library of Congress (America too),
University of the Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, Emory, University of the Free State, the British Library (England) etc.

I said to my old friend now: "Thank you. I suppose Eselby Jnr
Publications has tried a bit..."

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