Wednesday, October 28, 2015


'How do we determine what is a 'classic' in any literature? In the western world works written by Mark Twain (eg Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn), Stevenson (Treasure Island, Kidnapped), Alice in Wonderland etc are stated to be classics as far as children's literature is concerned. Alas in Africa we often sell ourselves short, or even undermine ourselves in inane fashion, mainly due to a chip on the shoulder mentality, or inferiority complex. Happily enough, many African readers having read countless works published by both Eurocentric and African writers –  do not have such complexes. Nor the group of young readers at the time (of youth) who enjoyed such African works written by our African writers. Among such works for children The adventures of Souza will take pride of place - a magnificent, relevant book for young African readers. Pure entertainment and didactic to boot; a work which we read again and again during childhood,  even as we enjoyed our 'Enid Blyton's' too. Souza's adventures in this book are compelling, rooted in reality, in the cunning and confusion of blossoming African youths. The depiction of adventure, excitement, plot, planning, the bush, forest, the heat - and yes the horror and pain sometimes - made one break out in cold sweat intermittently... And it also propelled one to read the book again, and relish others of its ilk written by other African writers. An extraordinary work for African youth' - Malome

No comments: