Showing posts from March, 2011

A Day or Two Away

For sometime now, specifically from December 2010 to March 2011, I have updated my blog every Monday to Friday and occasionally on weekends. However, I always knew that my engagements would not allow me to carry this through fully. And this week is one of those. Currently, I am on the field in Juaboso and Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region of Ghana pre-testing a questionnaire. Thus, it might be difficult to keep my blogging schedules. I might therefore not blog until Saturday or Monday. However, I am still gnawing through Toni Morrison's Beloved. An enjoyable piece of work. The prose is unique. And I would let you know what I think.

Library Additions

I have been busy today but trying to squeeze in some time to share with you the latest members of my bookshelf that doubles as my library. I have been privileged to have received some books and I have also purchased others. Below is the list of books: Neo-Colonialism - The Last Stage of Imperialism by Kwame Nkrumah . It is not every time that presidents set their visions into books. Most presidents, instead of telling us their visions, writes about memoirs, in an attempt to justify a wrong doing and improve their standings. Most memoirs have been self-serving - explaining away the unexplainable; justifying the unjustifiable. From Clinton, to Bush to Blair and Rumsfeld, presidents and lawmakers have used this genre to improve their standings. However, this is not so for Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, overthrown in a CIA-sponsored coup. Most of us just talk about the man but have hardly read him. The reading of this novel begins my personal journey to read his work

Duality: Dickens in Lagos, and Asimov too

Last week,  Stefania of Books of Gold  drew my attention to a particular article by George Packer of Lapham's Quarterly , a magazine of history and ideas . Perhaps it was in the spirit of sharing ideas that Packer wrote his beautiful literary article aptly titled  Dickens in Lagos .  According to Packer, and you could read his article first, the present day reader in Bombay, Rangoon, Mombasa or Lagos is more likely understand the contextual works of Dickens, and Hardy, and Dreiser and Gissing and Balzac than the Western reader in New York or Los Angeles because in these Western countries, The conditions for Gissing’s version of unhappiness, and Hardy’s, and Dreiser’s (and, earlier, Balzac’s), no longer exist in the civilizations that produced their work. In the great cities of the West, the standard of living is too high, public life too rationalized, social taxonomy too fluid, and aesthetic taste too jaundiced, for a novel to turn on the main character’s frayed overcoat and mud

Proverb Monday

Proverb: ɔkoromfo wia ɔkoromfo ade a, Onyankopɔn serew Translation: If a thief steals from a thief, God smiles Context: No one minds if a bad man is paid in his own coin. God likes to see justice done. in Bu me Bε by Peggy Appiah et al.

Where Do they Come from?

Among people likely to change countries are writers. Today most writers of Indian descent are now either British or American Writers. In Africa most of the high-flying writers have stayed outside of the continent for so long that sometimes what they write about it could be described as either complete patronage or romanticisation. However, for some of these writers the flight from the country is the only means for survival. An example of which is Bessie Head , when she left South Africa for Botswana. For others such as Coetzee it was a personal decision. The question is how should such writers be classified in terms of their citizenship? Is Coetzee a South African or Australian? What about Bessie Head , Albert Camus , Doris Lessing?

Quotes for Friday from Ferdinand Oyono's Houseboy

Unlike Bessie Head 's A Question of Power , this book does not contain enough aphorisms that could be quoted. Or perhaps I failed to see them. Whatever be the case I would serve you with the few that I found interesting. Life, he says, is like the chameleon, changing colour all the time. Page 36 The elephant does not rot in a secret place Sophie, Page 41 Ah, these whites, she burst out. The dog can die of hunger beside his master's meat. They don't bury the goat up to the horns. They bury him altogether. Sophie, Page 44 They lamented 'the Martyr' as they called Father Gilbert because he died on African soil. Page 53 The river does not go back to its spring. Page 56 Truth lies beyond the mountains. You must travel to find it. Page 57 If I talk it is because I have a mouth. If I see, it is because I have eyes. The eye goes farther and faster than the mouth, nothing stops it... Page 60 Since when does the pot rub itself against the hammer? Page 62 Is the white

72. Houseboy by Ferdinand Oyono

Title: Houseboy Author: Ferdinand Oyono Translator: John Reed Genre: Novella/Anti-Colonialist Publishers: Heinemann (African Writers Series) Pages: 122 Year of Publication: 1956 (in French), 1966 (in English) Country: Cameroon For the Africa Reading Challenge This is a story by a Houseboy written in the first person and in the form of diary entries in two exercise books. It describes the relationship between French colonialists and native Cameroonians during the period of colonisation from a Houseboy's perspectives. The Houseboy, Toundi, escaped from Cameroon where he was wanted for an alleged crime - a crime he did not commit but has been framed up for his part of spreading the amorous and sexual encounters between his master's - the local Commandant - wife and the giant Prison Officer, M. Moreau. As a Houseboy, Toundi, saw a lot in the house of his master especially when his master's wife came to the household. And as innocent as he was couldn&

A Sense of Savannah Tales from a Friendly Walk through Northern Ghana by Kofi Akpabli

A new, witty, travelogue by CNN/Multichoice African Journalist for Arts and Culture, Kofi Akpabli, is about to be launched. The launch date is Wednesday March 30, 2011 . Writing in his very usual manner, Kofi warns at the back of the book Caution: For fear of emitting loud, embarrassing laughs do not read this book in public. Again, I quote what led to the writing of this book. From the back cover: When Kofi Akpabli was posted to the northern border town of Paga to do his national service he thought it was just going to be another 'national suffering.' But when he encountered love at first sight with the landscape and the people, he was soon to realise that something close to destiny tied him to the place. The author was welcomed to a world refreshingly different from the back streets of Accra and Cape Coast. He discovered the smell of dawadawa, the taste of pito , and the mystery of border towns. Over a period of seven years, Kofi criss-crossed the Upper East, Upper West and

Conversation with Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Author of Tail of the Blue Bird

Nii Ayikwei Parkes writes poetry, prose and articles. He is a former Poet-in-Residence at the Poetry Cafe and author of three poetry chapbooks: eyes of a boy, lips of a man (1999); M is for Madrigal (2004), and Shorter (2005). His poems have appeared in several anthologies. His latest novel Tail of the Blue Bird (2009) was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for First Best Book for the Europe and Asia Region Category (perhaps because he lives in Britain. Don't worry he's a Ghanaian). Parkes main areas of exploration as a writer are reinterpretation of language, micro-cultural conflicts and power. He's been influenced by several African writers including Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Kwesi Brew, Christopher Okigbo, Ama Ata Aidoo, Mariam Ba, Meshack Asare, Atukwei Okai, Ola Rotimi and others. He sees a future in writers and performers such as Mamle Kabu, Mutombo Da Poet, Elizabeth-Irene Baetie, Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond, Ayesha Haruna Atta, Lesley Loko, and others.  Parkes to

Dreamscape: A Poem to Celebrate World Poetry Day

I am breaking a tradition I have held for so long: I don't post more than two items in a day. However, all my posts today are time and day specific. For instance, today is Monday and so I would have to post the weekly Proverb Monday , a list of Literary activities for this month (beginning today) could only be posted today if I am to talk about today's event and, finally, today is World Poetry Day - can't leave without a poetry post. So do forgive me if I have made you visit my blog more than once today. So you think you know Death when at the point of divergence you took that path; when you submitted cruelly to his subtle cravings talking about the love he has not. Death has never been a destination we arrive at; Death has never had presence or an essence – in a sense Death has no existence – it plays pretence with reality. At transformation’s point the soul’s vibrations increases – that little tapings hidden on the borders of the soul – and the light shines in degre

Proverb Monday

Proverb: W'ani nkum a, na wose: "Mennya dabere" Translation: If you are not sleepy, then you say: "I have no place to sleep" Usage: (If you are really tired, you can sleep anywhere). If you really want to do something, you would get it done. No. 4316 in Bu me Bε by Peggy Appiah et al. __________________ Caveat: Text in red is my interpretation.

A Glance at Literary Activities in the Coming Weeks

Beginning today, there is a series of literary activities happening in Accra, Ghana. Here is a list of them and what they are about. World Poetry Day at PAWA House (Today, 21st March, 2011) Today, 21st March 2011 is World Poetry Day and to celebrate this day, the Ehalakasa TalkParty would be participating in a poetry performance at the PAWA House at 6 o'clock pm. This event is a collaboration between the Ghana Association of Writers and the Ehalakasa TalkParty movement.  However, currently taking place is a Street Performance/Flash Mob. This is to let the people know more about the Ehalakasa Poetry Movement and to ensure that poetry and spoken word, as art forms, become synonymous with Ghanaian life. From Ehalakasa's fan page on facebook : E HALAKASA!!! IT LIVES IN US! COME JOIN US TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL POETRY DAY IN A JUBILANT WAY! There will be street performances from Ehalakasa poets with unsuspecting members of the public as the audience.  We are meeting at Odo Rice

Quotes for Friday from Bessie Head's A Question of Power (II)

Last Friday when I brought you quotes from this novel , I promised that if the latter part of the book has as many deep aphorisms as I presented I would do a part two of this and this would have been the first time I am sampling from one book on two different Fridays. The promise was affirmed when I reviewed the book yesterday. In fact, I could quote the who novel if possible. Today, I sample from the part of the book which had not been read as of last week's post. When someone says 'my people' with a specific stress on the blackness of those people, they are after kingdoms and permanently child-like slaves. 'The people' are never going to rise above the status of 'the people'. They are going to be told what is good for them by the 'mother' and the 'father'. Page 63 When people stumble upon magic they study it very closely, because all living people are, at heart, amateur scientists and inventors. Why must racialists make an exemption of t

71. A Question of Power by Bessie Head

Author: Bessie Head Genre: Fiction Publishers: Heinemann African Writers Series Pages: 206 Year of Publication: 1974 Country: South Africa/Botswana For the Top 100 Challenge  and the Africa Reading Challenge It seemed almost incidental that he was an African. So vast had his inner perceptions grown over the years that he preferred an identification with mankind to an identification with a particular environment. And yet, as an African, he seemed to have made one of the most perfect statements: 'I am just anyone.' (Page 11) This is the statement that introduces us to the bizarre world of Bessie Head 's A Question of Power. This novel runs parallel with the author's life and perhaps documents the tragic and traumatic life of one of Africa's unrequited and most ill-treated author: leaving South African on an exit visa with the clause of never to return, it took about fifteen of years of being stateless in Botswana before Bessie was granted citizenshi