By Leke Giwa
The delights of reading can be expressed when one comes across impressive books unexpectedly. Such was the case with the book of Aderemi Adegbola which I reviewed some time ago.
This would take place again this week when I had the opportunity to read the book, Ishmael Mzwandile Soqaga. I was already aware of this new book thanks to the internet but it was a pleasure to finally read it.
This is a book that celebrates literature, African literature. The enthusiasm of the author is endless, and it can be no coincidence that his comments and reviews are always positive.
Ishmael Mzwandile Soqaga (by the way, he is a South African essayist and literary critic) is interested in writers from all over the continent. In this book he refers a lot to a wide range of writers and authors.
Specifically in at least three separate essays, he writes about writers who have died in recent times: "the peerless" Chinua Achebe, Obi Egbuna and Apantaku. He even lists most of the works published by these writers, which is good.
This is how Soqaga concludes about Achebe: "To be honest as a young black South African, I am deeply proud of the colossal, mammoth, phenomenal and imperative literary contributions of the great Achebe!"
Soqaga himself has published a number of books, this latest one being the third, I believe. In the early parts of this work we see some essays and critiques on Soqaga's own work. Thereafter he reproduces many essays he himself has penned on a number of books/authors. His language is often colourful, ecstatic and adjectival. Some samples here.
Throbbing South African Black Literature (edited by C Mautjana) "This book is gripping and absolutely whets the appetite for going through it again and again. It is an anthology which contains profound, enchanting essays and reviews from different writers. The book is a panoply of literary appreciation which focuses on the growth of black literature in SA".
Secrets (by Matshidiso Taleng) "As we witness the great thriving moment for Matshidiso, simultaneously we must feel worried about women's conditions in Africa. Many women are experiencing predicament situation in their lives; they are constant abuse victims, rape, molestation and chances for them to blossom are thwarted by an unequal world where man is still predominant. Infelicitous misery and anguish that women are faced with in today's life are unacceptable..."
From "A Trio of Poets": "I really relished reading the poems of the three remarkable bards... They are quite interesting and they are intended to furnish imperative insights into our society...it is good to see African writers unequivocally raising these serious continental issues in their writings; this is necessary as it suffuses awareness about the demon of xenophobia..."
Also: "It will be injudicious for me to avoid mentioning that Thaisi and Mzamo in their poems also pay great tributes to the now late world icon, Nelson Mandela. I strongly believe that the time for our African people at grassroots level to familiarise themselves with literature is imminent..."