Monday, March 23, 2009

Debut Novel by Yungsi Ernest Kiyah

Yungsi Ernest Kiyah. To Immigrate Or To Live Happily Ever After? AuthorHouse. 2008, 316pp

Product Description
Dave is denied a visa to the USA twice, but this only heightens his dream to immigrate. He turns to the au pair program but 9/11 springs an ugly surprise on his plans.An employment opportunity takes him to China, where Dave is puzzled by the lives of an interesting group of foreigners around him. Why does Spencer, who believes in online romance despite the worldwide influx of internet scammers, know so much about Dave's country? When will Randal learn that "because I am black" is not the only answer to his problems in China? Dockie, the con man gets his reward but does Annette, the ex-internet scammer get off too easily?As the puzzles unravel, Dave's dream is about to come true, but there is a catch... He falls in love! An Armenian man's secret past catches up with his daughter, to whom Dave is about to propose. Dave therefore has to choose between Immigrating to the USA and marrying Araisha.

About the Author
Yungsi Ernest Kiyah is a writer, journalist and teacher who won two prizes in the BBC Network Africa Short Story Competition with his stories "First Visit" and "Nature's call," respectively.He presently teaches English as a Second Language (ESL)in China."To Immigrate or to Live Happily ever After" is set in two countries, one where the author was born and the other where he presently lives.A holder of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication and a Minor in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Buea, Yungsi Ernest Kiyah blends journalistic style with an in-depth understanding of social phenomena to create a story that makes you want to know what will happen next, every single step of the way.Born in Cameroon, the author runs a website on which he publishes short stories and poems at

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Oriki'badan by Emmanuel Fru Doh (Poetry)

Emmanuel Fru Doh. Oriki'badan. Langaa publishers, 2009.

ORIKI'BADAN, is an entertaining, revealing, and equally didactic poem in which Doh, through an enchanting metaphorical backdrop, recaptures a memorable era-rich, diverse, challenging, yet gratifying-in the life of a distinguished institution-the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Characteristically bitter about those in power and the socio-political state of affairs on the African continent, this is a rare shot of Doh paying glaring tribute to his alma mater along with the distinguished faculty and student body that gave Ibadan its character during his days there as a student.


"ORIKI’BADAN, is a poetic river of wisdom, thoughts, and meditative recapitulation of the poet’s epic, historic baptism of fire in the academic genius of his alma mater, the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier university (a.k.a. “First and Best”) during her second glorious phase of intellectual genius of the ‘80’s when she paraded a set of the world’s best faculty. The diction is lucid and the narrative nostalgically captivating in its pictographic chronicle of events and personages, all of which challenges our sense of history, memory, and dialogical imagination!"
Nelson O. Fashina, Senior Lecturer, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
"With this lyrical narrative on the experiences of one acolyte in the company of others being led through a sacred grove of learning by the most accomplished high priests, Emmanuel Fru Doh reaffirms the premier place of the University of Ibadan in creative modern African writing and thought. In Doh's hands, theory meets practice, orature meets literature, Cameroon meets Nigeria, literacy interfaces with orality, and through all this, the home of oríkì welcomes a highly accomplished practitioner as Doh renders to Ibadan a most moving panegyric while showing himself to have been an extraordinarily keen initiate. No greater sign of love and gratitude can a person accord his alma mater. We have here the best of the University of Ibadan as depicted by one of its proudest and most appreciative pupils."
Professor Adélékè Adéẹ̀kọ́, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Pilgrimage of no Retreat by Larry Bate Takang (Poetry)

Larry Bate Takang. Pilgrimage of no Retreat. A&A Printers, Florida, 2009. 86 pgs.

The poems in this collection though philosophical, deep and at times abstract, are incredibly appealing even to the non-poetry lover. The language is simple but the messages are very thought provoking and powerful. Listening to the poems of this author being dramatised keeps you literally speechless. The messages hit you hard, but then you are too touched and dumbfounded to react immediately, as if wondering why the narration came to an end.

His poems give you the feeling of being one of the first to read masterpieces that you know will be read and talked about for generations to come.

“Pilgrimage of No Retreat” is made up of a collection of 50 poems covering a wide range of subjects e.g love, nature, politics, death, life, education as well as abstract poems that touch on the unknown. It is a collection that reveals the inner thoughts of this Rotterdam based poet and unveils the beauty, elegance and uniqueness of his style of poetry. 'Pilgrimage of no Retreat' is a must read book.

Order a copy to understand why.

Bird of the Oracular Verb by Wirndzerem G. Barfee (Poetry)

Wirndzerem G. Barfee. Bird of the Oracular Verb. 2009

Wirndzerem G. Barfee's poetry is very exciting and seems to be developing in all sorts of very interesting ways... he possesses a very strong and highly individual voice and style, the work is very ambitious thematically and demonstrates very confident and imaginative uses of imagery with a sophisticated vocabulary... The poetry is also impressive in scope, quite accomplished in terms of the quality of the writing and extremely promising... I am very impressed by the work!
Brian McCabe, Scottish poet, author of Body Parts (Canongate, 1999).

Gods in the Ivory Tower - A Play by Bill Ndi

Bill F. Ndi. Gods in the Ivory Tower. Authorhouse, 2008.

A play set on a mythical hill, Ngoa and centred around Ngwa, the protagonist. Both mythic and contemporary, challenging and innovative full of accerbic social criticism, wisdom and political meaning, the culminating point in this play is when the protagonist is cast out of the scene and the Narrator alone on stage wonders and wishes the audience told him whether or not to “continue crying for the village, sadly or joyfully.” A turn which, in this captivating play, marks an arresting moment recalling the works of Strindberg in terms of character interaction, entrances and exits as well as the works of Ibsen in terms of its philosophy.

(Poetry) Words Lost in the Wind by Ndzdemo Romauld

Ndzdemo Ngong Romauld. Words Lost in the Wind. Red Room, 2008.

In words lost on the wind, we enter into a world of beauty and love and mystery where everything is recognized and given its significance. The author leads his readers from page to page, with vivid images drawn from day-to-day life encounters with people and situations to that startling discovery that beneath the reality of suffering, poverty and solitude there is an instance of song where beauty reveals itself in the things we caress or break or things that touch or break us. It is poetry of love, of beauty, of passion, of encounter but above all, it is a call to an awareness that immerses us into the joys of life. Dzemo makes his readers dream, laugh, think, pray and fall in love. It is an altogether enchanting world to enter in.

Mishaps and Other Poems by Bill Ndi

Bill F. Ndi. Mishaps and Other Poems, Authorhouse, 2008.

The poems presented in Mishaps are highly varied, impressively experimental, sensitive and reflective across an astonishingly broad range of experience, and deeply moving in the richness of their humanity. Through each of them, resonates Bill’s vision of poetry as a special annunciation and of the poet as seer, as spokesperson, recorder, analyst, adjudicator and above all, as the reminder to each of us of the best that is so easily lost to the deathly universe of habit and blunted perception, to both the deadening routines of daily life and domestic regimes and to the crueller hand of oppression, authoritarianism, and misused authority in all its forms, from the primitive imposition of will through brute power political gangsterism, corruption and ‘state-orchestrated perjury’, as he calls it in ‘Sights Along Abakwa Ring Road’, through to the often less identifiable and far more insidious regimes of international finance, World Bank, ‘Black Debt’, and the hidden swindlings of the international monetary system. A collection full of richness and diversity everyone should read in its entirety.

Michael Meehan (Writer & Critic, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Plantation Stories and Rhymes from Cameroon By Vivian Yenika

Vivian Yenika. Plantation Stories and Rhymes from Cameroon. iUniverse, 2007. 76 p.

In Plantation Stories, we participate in the daily rituals of family life as parents and children make the best that life has handed out to them. This compelling collection entertains as it exposes readers to the contradictions and tensions that are forever present on a colonial plantation. Set on one of the oldest oil palm plantations in Cameroon, West Africa, the stories tease and dare the readers to rethink their understanding of justice.

How far would people go in their quest for a "good" life? What are parents willing to sacrifice in order to provide basic necessities for their children? The stories in this collection address these issues and more as they force readers to gradually notice parallels between life on a colonial plantation in Africa and life on a slave plantation in the new world.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Tragedy of Mr. No-Balance by Victor Musinga

Kwo Victor Elame Musinga. The Tragedy of Mr. No-Balance. Edited by Roselyne Jua. Langaa publishers, 2oo8. Available at and African Books Collective

The Tragedy of Mr No-Balance spotlights corruption. Musinga skillfullyblends humour and simplicity to expose its depth in Cameroon.

Mr No Balance asks job applicants to either ‘throw water up’ or ‘oil my lips’.The playwright uses the illiterate Bih to expose his corrupt practices andto demonstrate that the downtrodden of the society can contribute to the fight against corruption. He proposes an effective police network and an impartial judiciary for corruption eradication.

This play is a must watch for anyone who is frustrated because of corruption and hopeless about its eradication.

Playwright, Dramatist, Stage Director and Founder of the pioneer English speaking Drama group, Musinga Drama Group, Cameroon, Kwo Victor Elame Musinga has written over thirty plays most of which have remained unpublished. Still engaged in writing and acting, he is a fount of resource to the student of Cameroon drama. He is currently assisting in the creation of drama clubs in secondary and primary schools all over the country and working on a TV series based on corruption titled Mr. Director.

Roselyne M. Jua holds a BA (Hons) from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a PhD from SUNY at Buffalo, New York. She teaches English and American Literature at the University of Buea, Cameroon. Her research interests are eclectic and recent essays have appeared in The Journal of Black Studies and The International Journal of Humanistic Studies. She is co-editor of Emerging Perspectives in Anglophone Cameroon Drama and Theatre 1, and with Bate Besong, of To the Creative Writer: A Handbook. Her first book of poems is entitled In My Father’s House. She is amember of WEEN, a women’s empowerment enterprise in Cameroon.

The Day God Blinked by Alobwed'Epie

Alobwed'Epie. The Day God Blinked. Langaa publishers, 2008. 116 p. Available at Michigan State University Press and African Books Collective.

The Day God Blinked x-rays the politico-economic and socio-moral life of a rich and resourceful country called Ewawa from 1982 to 2007. Th e country had been ruledby a dynamic and insightful miser known as the Old Man. But because he had been in power for too long, his citizens longed for change. It happened when nobody expected it. Th e old man died suddenly in his sleep and was replaced by his handpicked successor. Unfortunately, the successor whom everybody had expected would do better plunged the country into terrible economic and moral crises. Lucia, the protagonist, narrates her predicament. To her, Ewawa is rotten in all totality. There is nowhere to turn for salvation. The custodians of the economic, social, moral and spiritual values of the land are not up to the task. The country is without hope. Is all doomed?

“A most graphic narrative of a nation’s young and potentially highly productivegeneration set adrift in the scarlet waters of a sleepy and decadent society.”- Bole Butake, Professor of Th eatre Arts, Critic and Playwright,University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon

“An intensely moving account of severe personal suffering dictated by falsehoods, the banalities and the panoply of macabre intrigues by leadership that indicts virtue and celebrates crime. The author constructs the story with verve and skilful artistry, rendered with poetic force and cosmic irony.”- Nkemngong Nkengasong. Associate Professor of Literature, Playwright and Critic,University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon

“A highly thought-provoking tale about the way human beings chart out their lives, some in grinding destitution and others in the splendour of opulence, in this putrid African country.”- Nol Alembong, Associate Professor of African Literature, Poet and Critic, University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon

Alobwed’Epie, author of The Death Certificate and The Lady with a Beard, was born at Ngomboku in Kupe-Muanenguba Division, South-West Province, Cameroon. He studied at the Universities of Yaoundé and Leeds, and teaches Creative Writing at theUniversity of Yaoundé 1 Cameroon.

No Turning Back: Poems of Freedom, 1990 – 1993 by Dibussi Tande

Dibussi Tande. No Turning Back: Poems of Freedom, 1990 – 1993. Bamenda, Cameroon: Langaa Publishers. 2007. 72 pages.

No Turning Back relives the tumultuous beginnings of Africa’s democratization experiment in the early 1990s. The main theme of the collection is an investment in hope and in the resilience of Africans. The poems are loud and clear in their castigation of dictatorship and its miseries. They celebrate the mass resolve and thirst for democracy by Africans for whom there is ‘No turning back’!

Editorial Reviews
"A lucid and truly memorable collection of poems. Dibussi forces us to turn back and look at the pivotal volcanic moments in Cameroon’s history between 1990- 1993... As a student activist and budding journalist during this historic period, Dibussi captures cadences of this struggle eloquently… The poems are very accessible and despite Dibussi’s admiration for the prolific playwright and poet, Bate Besong’s “Soyinka style” of poetry, Dibussi instead fits into the poetic school of another prolific poet, Niyi Osundare."Joyce Ashuntantang – Ph.D. Department of English University of Connecticut, Greater Hartford, USA

"If the poet is the conscience of any given nation then Dibussi is the conscience of his generation. A generation who’s coming of age coincided with Cameroon’s coming of age, as a political entity, a resultant of the so-called political wind of change, democracy strewn to its wings, which blew across the continent...In fact it is an important document chronicling, through verse, the events of an era in a given space with unmitigated passion." Kangsen Wakai – Poet, author of Asphalt Effect - Houston, Texas, USA

"…a subtle yet unapologetic critique of Cameroon’s chequered history of predatory governance. The poems provide succor to a people besieged first by the unrealised dreams of a political (mis)marriage and then a false promissory note on which their democratic development is written.
With poets like Dibussi, the nation is reminded that writers shall always dream at a time when politicians snore and contrary to contemporary political thought, writers and politicians can both sing songs of hope if they both use truth, social justice, endogenous development agendas and indigenous political foresight as templates for nation building." George Ngwane - Chair, National Development Council, Cameroon

"Dibussi makes poetry look refreshingly simple but vision-packed. His language departs from the hermetic forms associated with mentors like Bate Besong and precursors such as Christopher Okigbo. Through Dibussi, the poet has elected domicile at the marketplace. He is no longer a wizened seer; remote from society. Dibussi is a skilful language resource manager: short powerful lines and a constant/unbroken rhyming pattern." Canute Tangwa – The Post Newspaper (Cameroon)

"[No Turning Back] is truly the consecration of ceaseless efforts at raising the Cameroonian mass unconsciousness from its usual state of lethargy to one of real freedom and conscious creative self-determination. It comes at the right time when Cameroonians are at the crossroads entailing self-critique and reappraisal of our options and orientations, in order to best carve out a befitting destiny for our people..." Ilongo Fritz – poet, novelist, author of The Four Pillars of Time

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Profile: Oscar Chenyi Labang

Oscar Chenyi Labang is a native of Nsei Village, Ndop plains, in the Ngoketunjia Division of the North West Province, Cameroon. He attended Government Bilingual High School Ndop and the University of Yaounde I, where he is currently carrying out research for a PhD. He holds an MA in Modern British Poetry and a DEA in Modern Anglo-American Poetry.

He is former President of the Yaounde University Poetry Club (YUPOC) and winner of the Bernard Folon Poetry Competition (2005). He is contributing poet to Imagination of Poets: Anthology of African Poems (2005) and Contributing Editor of Emerging Voices: Anthology of Young Anglophone Cameroon Poets.

This is Bonamoussadi by Oscar Chenyi Labang

Oscar Chenyi Labang. This is Bonamoussadi., 2008, 60 pages.

This is Bonamoussadi gives insight into the imagination of a remarkably sensitive poet. This epic-scale poem constitute a chaos of ideas in a synthetic consciousness; a network of disconnected sensibilities that indict the triumph of evil and greed, bad leadership as well as hypocrisy and fraud not only in the filthy cityscape of its title but in Cameroon and Africa as a whole. Stylistically it reveals a radical experimentation in form, including a breakdown in generic distinction - poetry and prose and poetry and drama -; in short it is a postmodernist celebration of the liberation of genre.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Profile: John Nkemngong NKENGASONG

John Nkemngong NKENGASONG (Novelist, Fiction Writer, Poet, Playwright) is a prolific writer and literary critic whose work ranges across genres and disciplines. He has published two novels (most recently The Widow's Might (2006), and Across the Mongolo, 2004), one play (Black Caps and Red Feathers, 2001), and his poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies throughout Africa and the United States.

He has staged four of his unpublished plays (most recently A Madding Generation, 2005) in the cities of Kumba and Yaoundé. Nkengasong has held weekly columns in the Cameroon Post and The Post newspapers and has penned dozens of scholarly articles on topics in African, American, and British literature. His critical volume, W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot: Myths and the Poetics of Modernism, was published by Presses Universitaires Yaounde in 2005. He is currently Associate Professor at the University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon.

Selected Bibliography


“Letters to Marion” and other poems. In Journal of New Poetry 4. Morrisville: Lulu Inc., 2007.


The Widow’s Might. Yaounde: Editions CLE, 2006.

Across the Mongolo. Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited, 2004.

Published Play

Black Caps and Red Feathers. Bamenda: Patron Publishing House, 2001.

Staged Plays

A Madding Generation. Yupoc, prod. University of Yaounde: Amphitheatre 700, 2005. Ancestral Earth. The Royal Spear Theatre, prod. GTHS Amphitheatre, Kumba, 1999.

Bakassi Soldier. The Royal Spear Theatre, prod. Catholic Mission Hall, Kumba, 1998.

The Call of Blood. The Royal Spear Theatre, prod. Catholic Mission Hall, Kumba, 1996.

Black Caps and Red Feathers. The Royal Spear Theatre, prod. Catholic Mission Hall, Kumba, 1995.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Barn. Three Plays by Victor Elame Musinga

The Barn. Three Plays by Victor Elame Musinga. Edited by Roselyne N. Jua. Langaa Publishers, 2008.

As a veteran playwright and actor, Kwo Victor Elame Musinga is more than just a pioneer in popular theatre. His simple but profound messages demonstrate a depth of understanding and insight into human nature and the nature of society. The texts he crafts are universal and timeless in their content and appeal, even as the themes and situations that inspire them are localized in specific places, experiences and histories.

The Barn is a collection of three topical plays. Njema captures the predicament of love in a context where innocence and trust are preyed upon by deceit, dishonesty, promiscuity, waywardness, callous indifference to human life, the reckless abandon of parental authority and wisdom by youth in a hurry to celebrate sexuality, irresponsible manhood with or without the connivance of girls/women, and HIV/AIDS and its terror.

Invitation to God addresses elitism and fair-weather friendship even among believers.

In Moka, the theme of friendship is explored through the simple act of dishonesty and greed, especially to those with whom one should be nothing but virtuous, open, generous and kind. In these plays Kwo Victor Elame Musinga explores the virtues of being human, while addressing the dark side of humanity.

K'cracy, Trees in the Storm and other Poems by Bill Ndi

Bill F Ndi. K'cracy, Trees in the Storm and other Poems. Langaa Publishers, 2008. 124 pages.

“K’cracy, metonym for the reign of kleptocracy-cum-Kakistocracy, is the poet’s macabre hymn in denunciation of a clime characterized by passionate love-hate, hate-love, love-hate-hate, and hate-hate-love relationships. The poet summons us all to an examination of conscience. This collection deserves to be read in its entirety.”
Peter Wuteh Vakunta, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

“Different streams of poetic inspiration energise this collection of poems: the power of the writer’s pen to ‘sing liberty’; the political present; the political past; the family and the child; and what I would call ‘the humanist vision’. This collection could take us on a path from political despair to humanist hope.”
Beornn McCarthy, Literary Studies, University of Melbourne/Deakin University

About the Author

Dr. Bill F. NDI, poet, playwright & storyteller was born in Bamunka-Ndop, the North West Province of Cameroon and educated at GBHS Bamenda & Essos, the University of Yaoundé, Nigeria: ABSU, Paris: ISIT, the Sorbonne, Paris VIII & UCP where he obtained his doctorate degree in Languages, Literatures and Contemporary Civilisations. He has held teaching positions at the Paris School of Languages, USC, UQ and currently teaches in Media, Communication and Literary Studies at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Verdict of the Gods by Janet Ekaney

Janet Ekaney. Verdict of the gods. Cameroon, Buma Kor Publishers Ltd. 2008, 208 pages.

The book Verdict of the gods tells in lurid detail and with lyrical description how royalty, custodians of the traditions of the Bakossi people embraced Christianity.

The 208 page novel divided in 26 chapters tells the story of Chief Elome II’s vision for his people that ended in tragedy because he defied tradition and embraced the Whiteman‘s education. In spite of the lustrous academic performance of his heir abroad, he ends up in sheer disaster because the mystical forces of the village elders pursue him there....

The controversial end of the Novel depicts the triumph of evil and the forces of retardation over good and progressive forces. The story shows the triumph of superstition and witchcraft over modern religion and science, the triumph of darkness over enlightenment, and the triumph of self – destruction over self-construction.

About the Author

Janet Ekaney, a senior English Language tutor in Government Bilingual Practicing High School Yaoundé and wife of the recently appointed Cameroon High Commissioner to Britain, Nkwelle Ekaney, is a among the few female literary luminaries in Cameroon. Her recently published novel Verdicts of the gods is one of the highly appreciated books in the Cameroon writers series.

Click here to read complete review.

Click here for an interview with Janet Ekaney.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Lemonade Street by Bernice Angoh

Bernice Angoh. Lemonade Street. Publish America, 2007. 200 pages

Intense, real, obsessive, heart-wrenching and shameless are just a few words to describe Lemonade Street. With no reservations, poems like “For Daddy,” “Would You,” “Fly Away,” “Forgotten,” “Songbird” and countless more will strike a cord with the strings of your heart. Others like “Secret of Life,” “Could It Be,” “Dear Love,” “The Wedding Chant,” “Mother’s Hands” and many more will uplift and inspire you.

Click here to go to the Lemonade Street website.

Profile: Bernice Angoh

Bernice Angoh was born in Buea in Cameroon, West Africa and came to the United States of America in 1999. Bernice has a four year old daughter, Nina and, together with her husband and business partner, Rick Lakota, operates and runs, part of Langoh International which is a proud sponsor of the Easter Seals Charity and Breast Cancer Society. She is also the Editor-in-chief of Ladies’ Success Magazine, located at Her articles and writings have enjoyed rave reviews.

The eldest of five children (Georgette, Dion-Albert, Sharon and Daryl) she claims being a big sister can sometimes be intimidating. Her mother, Diana Ara, she says, has been the most influential person in her life and the best mother anyone could ask for. Bernioce’s role models and mentors are Bruce and Debbie Taylor, Campbell and Diane Haigh and most especially Larry and Pam Winters. Others who’ve inspired her are Oprah Winfrey, Mother Theresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Khalil Gibran, Robert Frost and her most beloved poet Sara Teasdale. Bernice is an aspiring photographer, a novelist, children’s book author and a songwriter. She enjoys dancing, exercising, singing, watching movies, decorating, making hand-made cards, traveling (her dream is to visit the River Jordan) and spending time with family and friends.

Bernice has been writing since age 10, yet even her earliest works are full of wisdom and a maturity that surpasses her. She started out writing and illustrating short stories for family and friends. Her inspiration comes from very interesting and tumultuous life experiences, some very traumatizing. “Sometimes it’s as if the words were being whispered into my ears for me to write them down. I sometimes write five poems simultaneously. I write my songs and music that way too. It is called being in the zone, I suppose.”

Bernice’s book of poems, Lemonade Street, was published in 2007.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

House of Falling Women by Rosemary Ekosso

Rosemary E. Ekosso. House of Falling Women. Cameroon. Langaa Publishers, May 2008. 328 pages. Available on, African Books Collective and Michigan State University Press.

House of Falling Women is the story of a young woman with quixotic ideas about improving the lot of women who finds out that that the crusader’s cloak is an uncomfortable one.

Martha Elive, armed with a university education and a substantial legacy from a Dutchwoman she meets while studying abroad on a scholarship, decides to create an institute for the empowerment of women, only to find that the contradictions to be resolved are more firmly anchored in her psyche than elsewhere. In addition to her unexorcised ghosts and the legacies of a chequered love life, she has to contend with recalcitrant public opinion and moral inertia, the opposition of old-guard reactionaries, and the incomprehension of her small-town parents.

House of Falling Women is a poignant, often hilarious story of the search by a group of women for a new place in society in a world where women are dissatisfied with the old values and bewildered by the new.

"At once shrewd and compassionate, funny and inspiring, Rosemary Ekosso's first novel is both a devastating critique of prevailing attitudes to women in her native Cameroon, and a recognition of the universal sexual interdependency that makes the struggle for equality so complex. Sympathetic characters and an intriguing plot make this an essential read for those concerned with women's aspirations both within and outside Africa."
Susana Mitchell

"House of Falling Women is a powerful story about the oppressive weight and irrationality of tradition, gender and class inequality, a desperate yearning for freedom and dignity, and a journey of self discovery, empowerment, and redemption."
Dibussi Tande

Rosemary Ekosso is a Cameroonian translator and court interpreter. She lives and works in the Netherlands. She blogs at

Friday, May 16, 2008

Their Champagne Party Will End! Poems in Honor of Bate Besong

Joyce Ashuntantang, Dibussi Tande. (eds).Their Champagne Party Will End! Poems in Honor of Bate Besong, Langaa, 2008, 76 pp.

Bate Besong was Cameroon’s most vocal and controversial poet, playwright and scholar, who died in March 2007. The poems in this collection are a tribute to the man and his work, and provide a snapshot of the mood that prevailed after his death. Bate Besong ushered in a new kind of nationalist “fighting” literature in Cameroon, unapologetic in its defense of Cameroon’s Anglophone minority and scathing in its denunciation of postcolonial African dictators and their foreign collaborators. These poems defy Bate Besong’s death by affirming that his impact as a writer lives on. 34 poems are included from 30 poets.

“Moving and tellingly generous, these tributes attest to the value of Bate Besong as humanist, artist, and patriot; the ‘Inextinguishable Flame’ of his inspiration; the triumph of his life over the pain of his departure. Here is a resonant celebration not only of the brief but boisterously bright fire of one of our bravest writers, but also of the unbreakable chord of our common humanity. The refrains in these elegies are anthems of hope. The ink in their lines will for ever stay aglow.”
Niyi Osundare
“These poems put into perspective the essence of that Anglophone Cameroon literary icon, the fearless “Obasinjom Warrior” with the bemused smile, who once upon a time, was called Bate Besong.”
Ba’bila Mutia, University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon

Coils of Mortal Flesh by Ba'bila Mutia

Ba'bila Mutia. Coils of Mortal Flesh. Langaa, 2008. 84 pp.

The diverse voices in the poems in this collection are unified in the single voice of the omnipresent persona who appears to be searching for a collective voice, some kind of order or rhythm that would impose meaning to life. Reading the poems constitutes an individual journey. This poetic journey from Awakening that takes the reader to Moonlight Spells & Wreaths and leads her/him through Laments to the Epilogue is a continuous movement in the search for humanity's existence. As a metaphor of self-discovery, the poetic quest is both an expression of, and a search for mankind's elusive self - that single, unbroken umbilical cord that is firmly rooted in the African experience and identity.

Green Rape: Poetry for the Environment by Peter Vakunta

Peter W. Vakunta. Green Rape: Poetry for the Environment. Langaa Publishers, 2008. 80 pp.

Green Rape: Poetry for the Environment is an anthology of poems written in strong support of environmental literacy. Each poem is the poet's cry of protest against the rape of natural and built environments. The anthology examines a wide range of issues including the clash of global capitalism with environmental activism. It takes a close look at the major themes in international discourse on environmental degradation, climate change, renewable energy sources, global warming, Gene technology, biodiversity and more. The poet dispels a number of myths, notably the existence of an inexhaustible bank of natural resources at the disposal of Man. He attempts to provide a solution to the abusive and unbalanced utilization of scarce natural resources. In a unique way, the poems contribute to the fostering of environmental awareness that would contribute to the sustainable management of natural resources.

The poet invites us to look beyond the doomsday rhetoric about the state of the environment and to commit more of our resources where they will do the most good to lifting the world's population out of poverty. The significance of this anthology to environmental education resides in its contribution to the debate on global sustainable development, especially efforts to protect the environment and eradicate poverty.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fire On The Mountain by Mathew Takwi

Mathew Takwi. Fire On The Mountain. Bamenda: NAB VENTURES.2008

When Takwi published Fire On The Mountain, the fiery bowels of Cameroon's socio-economic and political volcano were already churning and grumbling with discontentment and resentment. By the time he was launching it in Buea, a vent had ruptured, fulfilling the prophecy of an implosion vividly sketched in his fiery poems.

Fire On The Mountain appeals to all classes and to all types of minds - the sacred and the profane. In purple patches of lyric beauty and intensity, Takwi captures a morally decadent society entangled in its own transgressions.

He manipulates bubbling imagery and cutting-edge metaphor to good effect to re-awaken the consciousness of the readers to harsh realities of environmental degradation, greed, selfishness, individualism, the death of morality (When We Were Young, pg 72), human (woman) rights abuse (Arrest pg 82) and the like.

He sweeps through satire - human parasites satirized in The Fore Runner pg 86) and pleasantly swings your mood from immorality to a world of concupiscent bliss, which sets your pulse racing and keeps your adrenaline boiling (Capped Fruits pg 78).

The book takes place at a time when evil has taken the better part of society hostage, with Cameroon a living example. Like Dr. George Nyamndi says in the Introduction, Takwi has a knack for dragging societal evils by the "ear or by the stomach or by the penis or by whatever part of its metaphorical tentacles" and ripping them apart on paper.

The poetry in Fire On The Mountain depicts an eroded morality and mentality, and singles out, for the benefit of Cameroonians, the cyclical nature of suffering through hypocrisy in (Dancers pg 28), plunder and disenfranchisement perpetrated by politicians and armed highway robbers (Beret Boys pg 21).

Takwi manipulates his characters and plots; fodder provided by disaffection against a repressive regime, to stimulate thought and possible reaction. His characters are dissipated and immoral; his villains are villainous, his stooges absolute and his hypocrites are whole time hypocrites. They are like a plague of locusts taking the country to the brink of ruin.

When you are done reading some of the poems, you will begin to wonder why Cameroonians haven't picked up the gun yet or why God is taking too long to turn a good eye upon the good old country.

Nonetheless, Takwi has his tender moments like all warriors. A "fanatic of truth and justice", he invokes Nwie-ngong-nekang (God) for inspiration and strength. Rev. Andrew Nkea, in the blurb, summarises the poet as "a political critic, a cultural conservative, a moral reformer, a social analyst…" who is not altogether too pessimistic.

Takwi, however, warns of a brewing storm and a lurking fire whose flames would soon devour the arcane society and seeds of sanity would sprout in its place.

Manna of a Life and Other Stories by Eunice Ngongkum

Eunice Ngongkum. Manna of a Life and Other Short Stories. Yaounde: Éditions CLÉ, 2007, 116 pages.

And very much like Chaucer who uses the strategy of the coincidental convention of diverse pilgrims at an inn to recreate late medieval life in all its colour, Ngongkum in Manna of a Life and Other Short Stories effects a sweep of the Cameroonian society at the twilight of the third millennium, the years of the ebbs of post-independence dystopia, crystallised in the much tambourined Renouveau.

Thus the thematic motif that ties together her compacted narratives is misery for a populace, pauperised by the unbridled obscenities of a vision-voided leadership.

Manna of a Life and Other Short Stories then are ten verbal frescoes that capture the breadth and pulse of the life of the average Cameroonian in the New Deal era, from the rustic folk eking out their existence in this hope-voided clime, to the melting pot that is the capital, Yaounde, that paradigm of the morally bankrupt country, where saints, conmen and the kleptomanic Mammonites of the Renouveau coalesce to produce a sordid world where spirited juvenile dreams end in calamity; where post-independence dystopia is engraved in the social topography of the city, where glorified Renouveau robbers of state money:

Walked the streets in broad daylight and nothing was done to them. In some instances they were hailed as best managers and given juicier positions where they could demonstrate recognised heroism … (75 - 76).

Eunice Ngongkum teaches at the Department of African Literature, University of Yaounde I.

Click here for the complete review

Precipice by Susan Nde Nkwentie

Susan Nkwentie Nde. Precipice. Langaa Publishers, 2008. 192 pages (paperback). Available from

Madam Essin stood watching the young people holding each other. She looked at the young man who was her son. How handsome he looked. When he smiled he had that elusive curve on his lips that reminded her of her husband. She had been unable to resist that curve of the lips even after eight years of marriage. When her husband smiled she had the feeling he was looking down on her in amused condescension. This used to annoy her but she could not resist the charm he exuded. Now here she was an abandoned wife with an estranged son. Her thoughts roved as she watched them, plunging into the past, the present and the future. The girl brought back the past. She wished she could obliterate that past from her life and her son's.

In Precipice, Susan Nkwentie Nde, in her first novel, has a way of weaving past intrigues and present emotions to keep all guessing about what will be. She opens up her characters for the reader to enter and inhabit their minds and bodies in a compelling story of love and estrangement, happy accidents, quest and survival.

Friday, March 14, 2008

NTARIKON: Poetry For the Downtrodden By Peter Vakunta

Peter W. Vakunta. NTARIKON: Poetry For the Downtrodden (Paperback). AuthorHouse. 96 pages (February 17, 2008). $10.49. Available from

Ntarikon is a non-poem that speaks to everyone and to no-one. Throughout life, from the cradle to the grave, we store information culled from our personal experiences; from the experiences of others, and try in some way to make sense of it all. When we are not able to make sense of the things that occur in our lives, we often externalize the information through writing. By doing this, we are afforded a different perspective, thus allowing us to think more clearly about the things that have happened in our lives.

Poetry is one of the ways in which I externalize my thoughts. Versification is arguably a passionate art form. It has provided me with an outlet for exploring my innermost thoughts and emotions. Poetry allows me to communicate issues that I might not be able otherwise to openly discuss. It affords me the opportunity to re-evaluate myself, my relationship with others, my station in life, and the world around me. Poetry can be therapeutic, allowing us to work through issues in our lives to find solutions, clarity, comfort, and peace of mind. It provides a vehicle of expression for diverse attitudes and fresh insights.

The poetry within Ntarikon is from every point on the spectrum: every topic, every intention, every event or emotion imaginable. It is important to keep in mind that each verse in the poem is the voice of the poet; a piece of a mind that yearns to bring sanity to a world gone topsy turvy, of a heart that feels the effects of every moment in this life, and perhaps of a memory that is striving to surface. Recalling our yesterdays gives birth to our tomorrows.

Times and Seasons by Dipita Kwa

Dipita Kwa. Times and Seasons. Cook Communication, 2008. 275 pages. Available from $15.98

How does it feel to live without an identity, without a deeper meaning of the word me because you know nothing about you? How can you measure the intensity of the pain you feel down there in your soul when you face the horrible prospect of totally losing the chance of eternal happiness in the loving arms of a man because of a dark past you don’t know?Dipita Kwa invites you to take this thrilling ride with Ewande Tikky, a deeply distressed, honest and courageous young woman in love, into the heart of the village of Mukunda – the land of mysteries – where is lurked the dark home containing the hideous memories of her birth. It is a bumpy ride through a series of disturbing, heart-rending, soothing, amazing . . . stories, each of which slowly opens old abandoned windows with creaking rusty hinges to focus a narrow beam of light into those buried and forgotten gruesome and often delighting aspects of her roots. In fact it is a unique collection of eclectic stories held in place by a mother piece that will keep you on to a final breath-releasing last page.Dipita Kwa’s novel Times and Seasons blends the cutting-edge wisdom of live and let live with the traditional and omnipresent notion of the spiritual invisible hand. It is the book the literary family needs.

Dipita in his own words

Born in Tiko, Republic of Cameroon, I was raised in the village of Mondoni Native where I did my primary education and equally absorbed a great deal of material on human society that now seeps gracefully into my works. I developed a passion for writing in Form 3 and carried it along to the University of Buea where I won a silver trophy in short story writing during the second edition of the University Festival of Arts and Culture (UNIFAC2001), and didn’t forget to grab my B.Sc in Economics. I taught Commerce & Finance and Economics at Regina Pacis College Mutengene before moving to my present job at Maersk Cameroon.

I am indebted to my regular mentor Mbella Sonne Dipoko, who saw in me a promising writer and never relented in suggesting ways of bringing this dream to life through wide and consistent reading and the striving for excellence.

Source: Crossing Borders Magazine, Issue 5

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Titabet and the Takumbeng" by Kehbuma Langmia

Kehbuma Langmia. Titabet and the Takumbeng. Langaa Publishers, 2008. Available on and African Books Collective. $16.95.

The unprecedented political upheaval of the 1992 first ever-multiparty presidential elections in Cameroon is relieved in this play. Following the controversial elections, Bamenda - the stronghold of the main opposition party, the Social Democratic Front (SDF) - was plunged into a tense and intense civil disobedience campaign. The violence which ensued pitted SDF militants who claimed their victory was stolen against regime loyalists. The government reacted by imposing a curfew on Bamenda. The army that was dispatched to keep the peace committed ferocious kidnapping, rape, theft and torture, driving women, children and men into the arms of terror. Titabet the protagonist emerges as the leader of the oppressed. He and the sacred women's cult of Takumbeng were the only hope for the people. The sacred cleansing cult and Titabet's courageous resistance apparently brought an end to what would have been too devastating a tale to narrate.

About the author

Kehbuma Langmia teaches courses in Mass Communications, Broadcast Journalism and Media Studies at Bowie State University. With previous degrees in fine arts, television and film, he earned his PhD in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Howard University. He also has an MA degree in theatre arts from the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon; and is a graduate from the Television Academy in Munich, Germany. Dr. Langmia writes, produces and directs independent productions, and serves as executive producer for students' television projects at Bowie State University.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Man Pass Man and Other Stories by Ndely Mokoso

Ndeley Mokoso. Man Pass Man & Other Stories. London, England: Longman Publishing Group. 1988, 112p.

" Ndeley Mokoso represents a fresh and original voice in African Literature. He has a telling but unobtrusive eye for detail and writes with a profound understanding of contemporary West African Society. These are short stories to enjoy alongside the finest in the world."

Longman publishing House

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Souls Forgotten by Francis Nyamnjoh

Francis Nyamnjoh. Souls Forgotten. Bamenda, Langaa Publishers. 2008, 360 pages

One day, Mama Ngonsu told her son: "Normally, a child grew up and stayed around to help his parents. The world has changed, and things are no longer as they used to be. Things must not be normal all the time, otherwise life would not be life." When Emmanuel Kwanga gets a University scholarship, he travels from the lake and hills of Abehema to the Great City. Everyone in the village has invested in him their hopes for the good life. When the life they've imagined is cut short by the University guillotine, Emmanuel Kwanga must struggle to make sense of what the good life means - for himself and for Abehema - in a world where things are no longer as they used to be.

This novel is about coming of age and coming to terms in Mimboland. It is also about the fragility of life and the strength of the human spirit. The filth and screaming splendor of the city and the perplexed tranquility of the village are juxtaposed, as the tension and conviviality between tradition and modernity are lived and explored. Roads and drivers, dreams and public transport link different geographies. Faltering along or speeding away, these spaces of risk, frustration and solidarity are filled with popular songs as vehicles for understanding events and relationships. With every crossing of the Pont de Maturité the story flows, and its mysteries surge. In this novel, the worlds of the living and the dead intermingle, as do the natural and the supernatural, the visible and the invisible.

Grassfields Stories from Cameroon by Peter Vakunta

Peter W. Vakunta. Grassfields Stories from Cameroon. Bamenda, Langaa Publishers. 2008. 104 p.

Grassfields Stories from Cameroon is an anthology of short stories. It comprises animal trickster tales, bird survival tales, and human-interest stories. The compendium is a reflection of the mores, cultures, and value systems of the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Province of Cameroon. It is motivated by the author's keen interest in the preservation of Cameroonian oral traditions in written form. These stories deal with the day-to-day life of the sedentary and the globe-trotter. Each story is sufficient onto itself.

The author has intentionally avoided chronology in the order of presentation of the stories. Whether you read the stories in the order in which they are presented or dart about as your fancy dictates, you will feel the abundance of richness and entertainment the book contains. The didactic value of this collection of short stories resides in its suitability to readers of all age groups. The uniqueness of the volume lies in its universal appeal.

Peter Wuteh Vakunta was born and raised in the village of Bamunka-Ndop in Cameroon where he worked as senior translator at the Presidency of the Republic before immigrating to America. He is an alumnus of Sacred Heart College-Mankon. Vakunta obtained his Bachelor degrees in Cameroon and Nigeria; MA and MSE degrees in Cameroon and the U.S.A. At present, Vakunta and his family live in Madison, U.S.A. He teaches in the Department of French and Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is also completing his PhD dissertation titled: Translation in Literature: Indigenization in the Francophone Text.

Vakunta is poet, storyteller and essayist. His published works include Better English: Mind Your P's and Q's, Lion Man and Other Stories (short stories), Brainwaves (poems), Pandora's Box (poems). African Time and Pidgin Verses (poems), Square Pegs in Round Holes (essays) and It Takes Guts (essays). Vakunta's literary works have earned him several awards in the U.S.A, U.K and Africa.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tale of an African Woman by Jing Thomas

Jing Thomas. Tale of an African Woman. Bamenda. Langaa Publishers. 332 pages. December 2007. Available on

The village of Yakiri has been cursed by ancestral wrath because of the treatment of Yaa, the first girl who wrestled her male goatherd peers to earn the right to be initiated into the society of manhood. Her struggle is taken up generations later by Yaya, the granddaughter of Tafan and Wirba.

Orphaned like her forebear, Yaya becomes a star student in the village's primary school and promises to go far. But, ask the villagers, is it right to invest in an education for an African girl who may become the property of another village? An educated woman will abandon the farm where she is needed, wear high heels and try to order men around!

In the midst of it all, one Irish missionary, living in Africa and for the most time with Africans, literally wiggles his way into hearts and minds. With his intervention, Yaya leaves the village to school in the city, but her troubles as a woman have not really begun.

Yarns of cultural borrowing, indigestion and transcendence reveal the simple and complex ways in which community matters are confronted and decided. This happens in shrines where seers are consulted and cowry shells thrown, in palm wine houses, but also around the school and presbytery. The untold stories and perspectives of girls and women burst through in illuminating and uplifting ways. Quarrels, squabbles, near collisions and mutual conversions give way to innovative traditions.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Namondo. Child of the Water Spirits by Ntemfac Ofege

Ntemfac A.N. Ofege. Namondo. Child of the Water Spirits. Bamenda, Langaa publishers. November 2007. Available from Michigan State University Press and

Chaos reigned in the firmament, until the ageless spirit Ovase Lova breathed and created dawn. Stars from his fingertips jewelled the heavens and newborn planets radiated throughout the vast universe. The river gods now dispatch Namondo, a liengu-la-mwanja or water spirit, to the land. The child of the water spirits, alongside her twin brother, has come to purge the land of an evil cult. Namondo uses her magic ring to accomplish her task, but disaster strikes. The fearsome ring of the water spirits must return to her son. Ntemfac Ofege weaves a tale combining yesterday and today, the living dead and the living, tradition and modernity, scoundrel and righteous deities.

This mythological narrative is rooted in that uproarious extravaganza called Africa – land of vicious serpents and elephant-doubles. Ripe with transfigurations and transformations, this novel promises to be a spirited and lingering read for all those who navigate multiple cultures, languages, times and geographies.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

John Ngong Kum Wins First EduArt Literature Award

The winner of the 2007 EduArt Awards for Cameroonian Literature written in English has been announced. John Ngong Kum is the winner of the highly contested Bate Besong Poetry Award (for poetry published in 2006) for his poetry collection Walls of Agony. According to Tanure Ojaide, renowned poet and Distinguished Professor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who headed the panel of judges,

“Ngong’s Walls of Agony is superior in its use of English and poetic language. It has consistency of imagery in the symbolic “wall” that permeates the poet’s vision of life, society, and politics as he explores personal and public concerns… Ngong also has a strong sense of form, which shows on the pages of his book. Most of the poems are in regular stanza and that gives the impression of organization and good craftsmanship. There is a sense of evenness in his work. As they stand, Ngong’s Walls of Agony is the best in language, unified vision, and form. He deserves the poetry prize.”

Prof. Ojaide also commended the runners up, Mathew Takwi for his collection On their Knees and Kamara Kimvala’s (A. F. Ndangam) Tears of Rage and described both volumes as exuberant.

The award ceremony will take place early in 2008 in Cameroon at which time the 2009 EduArt awards will be launched. The cash award for the winner originally advertised as 200.000 Francs CFA has been increased to 500.000 Francs CFA. The winner and runners up will all receive recognition plaques.

It should be noted that the Rufus & Jane Blanshard Award for Fiction had no winner this year because there were no entries for fiction published in Cameroon for 2006. The Victor E. Musinga Drama Award also received no winner because only one entry was submitted and this did not make for a credible competition. To allow for more entries, the EduArt Awards for Literature will now be held bi-annually. They will include a category for finished but unpublished manuscripts, and an award for the best Anglophone Cameroon literary text published in the Diaspora irrespective of genre.

EduArt Inc, a non profit organization founded by Dr. Joyce Ashuntantang, launched this competition earlier this year for works written in English by Cameroonians and published in 2006 in Cameroon or anywhere in Africa. Dr. Ashuntantang hopes that the Bate Besong award for poetry will not only keep the late poet-playwright’s name alive, but that the EduArt awards in general will encourage the production of more creative writing by Anglophone Cameroonians while boosting publishing in Cameroon as well.

To learn more about the awards and EduArt Inc, visit or email

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Profile: Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi AKA "Makuchi"

Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi was born and raised in Cameroon. She was educated at the University of Yaounde, Cameroon, and McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She uses the pen name Makuchi, and is also literary critic. She is currently a professor of English at North Carolina State University, Raleigh. She is the author of Gender in African Women’s Writing: Identity, Sexuality, and Difference and a book of short stories Your Madness, Not Mine: Stories of Cameroon. Her fiction has appeared in Callaloo: A Journal of African-American and African Arts and Letters, The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad, Crab Orchard Review, Thamyris, Worldview and Asian Women. Her many scholarly publications include book chapters, articles, and essays in journals. Her work has been reprinted in such anthologies as The Anchor Book of Modern African Stories, Canadian Woman Studies: An Introductory Reader and African Gender Studies: A Reader.

The Sacred Door and Other Stories: Cameroon Folktales of the Beba by Makuchi

Makuchi. The Sacred Door and Other Stories: Cameroon Folktales of the Beba. Ohio University Press. (January 1, 2008), 176 pages

Book Description
The Sacred Door and Other Stories: Cameroon Folktales of the Beba offers readers a selection of folktales infused with riddles, proverbs, songs, myths, and legends, using various narrative techniques that capture the vibrancy of Beba oral traditions. Makuchi retells the stories that she heard at home when she was growing up in her nativeCameroon.The collection of thirty-three folktales of the Beba showcases a wide variety of stories that capture the richness and complexities of an agrarian society’s oral literature and traditions. Revenge, greed, and deception are among the themes that frame the story lines in both new and familiar ways.

In the title story, a poor man finds himself elevated to king. The condition for his continued success is that he not open the sacred door. This tale of temptation, similar to the story of Pandora’s box, concludes with the question, “What would you have done?”Makuchi relates the stories her mother told her so that readers can make connectionsbetween African and North American oral narrative traditions. These tales reinforce the commonalities of our human experiences without discounting our differences.

About the Author
Makuchi is a professor of English at North Carolina State University, Raleigh. Her publications include a book of short fiction, Your Madness, Not Mine: Stories of Cameroon, and Gender in African Women’s Writing: Identity, Sexuality, and Difference.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What God Has Put Asunder by Victor Epie Ngome

Ngome, V.E. (1992), What God Has Put Asunder. Yaounde: Pitcher Books. Ltd.

We will begin our analysis of the Cameroonian plays with Victor Epie Ngome’s What God Has Put Asunder. At a literal level, it is the story of Weka, a child brought up in an orphanage under Rev. Gordon and Sister Sabeth. When Weka reaches nubile age, two suitors ask her hand in marriage: one of them is Mr. Miche Garba, and the other Mr. Emeka who grew up in the orphanage together with Weka. Despite Emeka’s solid claims over Weka as a childhood friend, Mr. Garba has his way, but Weka accepts him reluctantly. Their marriage is solemnised by Rev. Unor, probationally, without the matrimonial rings.

The couple will live together and study each other for ten years at the end of which period if they still desire to be husband and wife, then the official ceremonies of the wedding will be conducted. But during the probational period Weka discovers that Miche Garba is no good. He maltreats and neglects her. He exploits the rich cocoa farms left by her father and squanders the money on his concubines. He does not tolerate Weka’s questioning attitude.

When she can no longer stand Garba, Weka escapes with her children back to her father’s compound to rebuild his dilapidated house and their shattered lives. Garba pursues her there threatening to forcefully take them back to his house. Once more the matter is brought to the court to take a decision on. And the court’s decision is that the couple will live in physical separation although united in a ‘simulated wedlock’, and that the marriage remains subject to the confirmation by husband and wife only, to the exclusion of any other parties; that the marriage will become null and void once any of the two parties objects to it; that until the confirmation is carried out under the supervision of the court, the couple will continue to live under physical separation but to show decency and decorum towards each other in order to avoid an unfortunate intervention by the court.

Here is part of the court’s declaration: And finally, given that, the final confirmation of the marriage following the compatibility test, voices other than that of the concerned party were enlisted, and that these voices influenced the outcome of the consultation; the court decides as follows: One, that the marriage remains subject to confirmation between husband and wife — on a one-to-one basis , and to the total exclusion of all other parties. It shall become void once any one of the two partied concerned objects thereto. (Ngome: 1992 58)

The main theme emerging from the play is the incompability of the couple Garba and Weka. Theirs is an uneasy union: at best it is a precarious marriage; at worst, an unworkable one. Weka cannot put up with Garba’s philosophy and philandering life style. The other theme is economic exploitation. Garba seems to have married Weka largely out of economic interest. For he takes over and exploits the cocoa farms left by Weka’s father, deriving enormous wealth from them without ploughing back some of the profit to develop the farms. At another level of economic exploitation, we find Garba feeding fat on the wealth of the cooperative society, the wealth of the nation. He is the unconscionable General Director of the Cooperative Society. With cheques to this or that girl, with mounting hotel bills to settle in support of his sensual lifestyle, Garba dips his hands into the cooperative funds with reckless abandon, eventually draining them dry of cash.

But within the Cameroonian context the play and its themes have a greater symbolic significance. For instance, the marriage metaphor relates to the political union of Anglophone Cameroon and its Francophone counterpart. Hence, Weka stands for the former Southern Cameroons, and Garba for La République du Cameroun. Weka’s parents represent the British government that relinquished responsibility over Southern Cameroons; Rev. Geodon and the orphanage stand for the U.N. trusteeship mandate over Southern Cameroons; the Louis mentioned in the play is France; Emerka is Nigeria, etc. Garba’s neglectful but exploitative attitude towards Weka represents the attitude of the Francophone leadership towards Anglophones in present day Cameroon, a behaviour that has come to represent the central grievance in what Anglophone Cameroonians have identified as the “Anglophone Problem in Cameroon.”

Now if one transfers the literal themes discussed above to the symbolic level, they will constitute an important aspect of the Anglophone problem. The ultimate social relevance of What God Has Put Asunder to the Anglophone Cameroonian community lies in the fact it has contributed in no small way to the overall education of the Anglophones. Of course, it may be too much of a claim to suggest that the present state of the critical consciousness of the Anglophone Cameroonians is the work of a single play alone. The play is only one part, albeit an important part, of a large process that came in with the limited freedom of the press.

Culled from Cameroonian and Kenyan Writers in Politics by Shadrach A. AMBANASOM

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Princess of Kaya by Dorothy Atabong

Dorothy Atabong. The Princess Kaya. Sadorian Publications, 2002. 300 pages

Dorothy A. Atabong’s debut novel, THE PRINCESS OF KAYA is a unique and daring triumph. A large cast of 36 mobile characters of African decent drive this novel. With a complex action-packed and fast-paced plot, it is a wonderful journey into a strict society of West African culture and traditions.

Young Princess Kaya is torn between a destiny governed by tradition and a forbidden passion. She is pledged to marry Prince Anthony of Bashir to form a political alliance, but she is passionately drawn to Aadil, a patriot, born into the very kingdom that she is sworn to destroy. There is an endless resurfacing of lies and secrets from the shores of the Belabo Island, and it would have to take more than a beautiful, innocent and naïve Princess Kaya to rectify the bad blood between Kaya and Tekland and finally restore peace.

"Atabong has given us a beautiful tropical setting in which she does a wonderful job of introducing us to the traditions and history of West Africa. We also see the importance of traditions and the proceedings of those of royalty. Atabong's description of West Africa along with the dialogue put me in mind of an actual movie. I'd love to see this as a full-length movie or film" - The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

"An emotionally weighty story that will not be easy for readers to choose sides" - The Chattanooga Courier

Chopchair by Linus Asong

Linus Asong. Chopchair

A quick-tempered and extremely irritable Fuo Akendong II learns with utter disappointment that his favorite wife had conceived twins—both boys. To avoid his wrath, his councilors conceal the birth, sending away one of the boys to grow in hiding. When the truth is revealed fifteen years later, the prince in hiding kidnaps the palace prince and demands his full share of the Kingdom.

About the author
Linus T. Asong was born in Lewoh in 1947. He attended St. Joseph’s Sasse and CCAST Bambili before enrolling at Cape Coast University in Ghana. He graduated with a degree in Education. He taught in French speaking Cameroon for a few years before entering the University of Windsor in Canada where he did a terminal degree in Creative Writing. He would eventually earn an M.A. and a Doctorate in Comparative Literature at the University of Alberta. He currently teaches literature at E.N.S Annexe, Bambili, a branch of the University of Yaounde 1.

His novels include, Stranger in Homeland, The Crown of Thorns, No Way To Die, Salvation Colony, A Legend of the Dead and Akroma File. He has also compiled two books of jokes: Laughing Store Pt. I & II

Not Yet Damascus by Emmanuel Fru Doh

Emmanuel Fru Doh. Not Yet Damascus. Langaa Publishers, 2007. Available from Michigan University Press and

Not Yet Damascus celebrates a tumultuous era without patriotic leaders willing to transform their national wastelands into thriving bastions. The collection salutes and queries: a panoramic collection intended for the sensitization of all, hence the simple yet evocative approach.

"Poetry can be therapeutic, allowing the poet to work through issues in life; to find solutions, clarity, comfort, and peace of mind. It provides a vehicle of expression for diverse attitudes and fresh insights. Emmanuel Fru Doh has achieved this feat in this collection of poems Not Yet Damascus. He speaks in a confident tone of prophetic utterances: advising, warning, denouncing, protesting and chiding. His poetry has the twin virtues of relevance and simplicity of diction. He has eschewed the obscurantist ineloquence and syntactic jugglery of traditional poets. Passion, energy and cutting irony are the hallmarks of the poems in the anthology" - Peter Wuteh Vakunta, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

"This is the passionate poetry of a patriotic son of Cameroon. Here is a contemplative, sensitive soul that watches and registers on his emotional meter, and in potent imagery, the terrible damage done to his people, country, and continent." - Shadrach Ambanasom, Professor of Literature, University of Yaounde I (E.N.S. Annex Bambili), Cameroon

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Real Mothers by Vivian Sihshu Yenika

Vivian Sihshu Yenika. Real Mothers. iuniverse, 2006

This novel chronicles the experience of a woman in a contemporary West African country who must constantly struggle for respect from members of her community.

Book Description
In this breath-taking story we read through the struggles of three women and how they balance between their roles as mothers and breadwinners in a hostile community. Set in Kumba a town in Cameroon, West Africa, the story chronicles their domestic and professional experiences also showing readers how children can enrich and complicate women’s lives.

About the Author
Vivian Yenika-Agbaw is Associate professor of English Education at Bloomsburg University, where she teaches children’s and young adult literature.

A Royal Turmoil by Ngwa J. Niba

Ngwa J. Niba. A Royal Turmoil. ANUCAM Publishers, 2005

This book, the latest in Ngwa J. Niba's collections after Manka'a and The Golden Arrow, opens with a symbolic storm, lightning and thunder in the heart of the dry season: a prediction of the stormy plot the story assumes.

The symbolism is two-faceted: preceded by an equally prophetic dream it announces the death of a noble and the troubles that would dog the palace after his departure. The fire flaming on the branches of the sacred tree crowns the Fon's suspicions and fears.... Ngwa's excellent prose style, peppered with first-hand anecdotes, draws you into a brief history of Northwest succession rites.

In a village where there is no regular police or judicial court, order still reigns supreme. The Fon, assisted by his noblemen, is the embodiment; the incarnation of law and order. He is sacrosanct. ...
The work of Ngwa would stand at the forefront of an ever-richer tradition of Grassfields traditional political and social organisation that transcend the binary oppositions - African versus European initiative; African fetish practices and Western religious orientation that have beset African history
Sympathetic to the plight of heirs and polygamous homes without being sentimental, Ngwa maintains a good pace; you'll be reluctant to put the book down.

Click here for full review

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Battle for Survival by John Ngong Kum Ngong

John Ngong Kum Ngong. Battle for Survival. Editions CLE Yaoundé, 2006, 87 pp

John Ngong Kum Ngong's play is set in an imaginary African country called Inayeh.

It deals with the subject of satanic, blood-sucking practices as a means of achieving political and material prosperity. The play foregrounds the Scarlet Star Booster Club, a demonic cult which has as its exclusive members, the military, political and bureaucratic elite.

Once you access this club, you can consider all worldly sufferings over: promotion, wealth, power and material possessions come easily. Once in it, you may well say, 'suffer done finish' as the world knows it.
Written in verse which lends concreteness and seriousness to its subject matter, Battle for Survival is situated within conventional, realistic drama. It is structured in six scenes and essentially a drama of conscience wherein Wujwab is pestered by his former friend, Wazwoh who has since joined the ranks of the members of the Scarlet Star Booster Club.

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Tikum Mbah Azonga Launches Three Books

Originallly published in The Post newspaper

Three news books have found sanctuary in Cameroon's library. The Wooden Bicycle, a collection of short stories, Sighs and Whispers, a collection of poems and Modern Cameroon Poetry Book 3, an anthology of poems were written by a translator and CRTV journalist, Tikum Mbah Azonga. He co-authored Modern Cameroon Poetry Book 3 with Foudo, a university lecturer in America and Ben Young Junior, the Principal of GBHS Fundong in the Northwest Province.

All the three books which treat themes of everyday life; experiences, joys and pains, focus on the curriculum for Cameroon schools and are used in classes I to III, respectively. Speaking shortly after the launching, Tikum Mbah said in "Sighs and Whispers" he is putting across the message that poetry is an overflow of emotions; that this message is deeply embedded in the poem called 'Afo-Akum'.

In short, the message is that life is what you make it. According to Tikum, the short stories as well as poems should interest everybody. "Somebody, everybody has to learn something from the books," Tikum said.

Click for an interview with Azonga (in French)