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.

Click here for complete review

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)

The Four Pillars of Time by Ilongo Fritz Ngale

(Originally published in EDEN newspaper, Wednesday 31-Monday 05,June 2006 pg.5)

The literary critic, poet and playwright, Dr Bate Besong, BB, praised the author for “constructing an intellectual arsenal for the liberation of the country and the decolonization of the mind ”. He pointed out that IIongo Fritz Ngale’s “anti-hero King Lak is a pastmaster at the art of discovering the most ingenious methods of torture and brutality ,unleashing a reign of terror and suffering on the innocent people of Suna”.

BB argued that the relevance of IIongo’s novel is the extent to which he “explains the past, understands the present and predicts the future ”. BB used the book launch to criticize the Cameroonian intellectuals who “instead of fulfilling the expectations of the people they are supposed to serve, they are more concerned about the personal material gains that comes with privilege and power ”, BB said amidst thunderous applause that “Intellectuals decode , unmask, condemn , and refute” but the Cameroonian intellectuals are “inert ,amorphous , mute … politically sterilized!”

Click here for a detailed review of Four Pillars...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Fragmented Melodies by Kangsen Wakai

Kangsen Feka Wakai. Fragmented Melodies. Bamenda, Langaa Publishers, 2007

"Fragmented Melodies is a seminal, introspective work of exceptional freshness and contemplative diction transmitted in an enriched style that immediately grasps the reader's attention. Between Part I (Medusa's Spell) and Part IV (Homebound) the reader is instantly immersed into a multifaceted poetic universe that is both enigmatic and mystifying, reminiscent of Jared Angira's Silent Voices. Wakai's personae are inimitable and diverse, oftentimes imbued with passionate sensuality, despondent lives, and brutal nostalgia-the nostalgia of prison walls, defeated idealism, and incarcerated voices yearning for release behind blood-smeared prison walls.

From Ethiopia to Brazil, Kigali to Bamenda, from the smoked-stained vocal cords in Soweto to the clanging steel doors of the Kondengui maximum security prison in Yaoundé, Wakai's poetic voices resonate the sound of traditional drums, the cacophony of jazz, the isolated acoustic notes of guitar strings, and the suffocating stench of the dictator's funeral pyre. The diverse voices in the poems are unified into a single poetic journey of desolation, hope, idealism, lamentation, exile, and freedom."
Babila Mutia, Professor of Literature, ENS, University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon

"Kangsen Wakai's poetic landscape in Fragmented Melodies encompasses all that is human as well as all that defies humanity. The poems cascade from the passionate songs of his heart, through defiant rhythms of resistance to songs in distant lands 'beyond our desecrated shores' but in the end Wakai's poetic compass is homebound to... amongst common places and common people who affirm the human zeal for music of truth and peace. Yet, it is Wakai's imagistic canvass which confirms the birth of a compelling poetic voice in this season of waiting."
Joyce Ashuntantang, Department of English, University of Connecticut, USA

"With poems like these that are crafted to sound like music to the ears, no reader can afford to leave the dance floor. This is indeed the trademark of a new writing that has come to stay." Mwalimu George Ngwane, writer and Chairman of National Book Development Council, Cameroon

"...a leading voice in the ongoing renaissance of Anglophone Cameroon literature in the Diaspora." Dibussi Tande, USA based Journalist and Poet

"Kangsen Feka Wakai subscribes to Salman Rusdie’s pronouncement that “a poet’s work is to name the unnamable, to point at frauds, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.” In his collection of poems “Fragmented Melodies”, music becomes a quest for the authentic self; love serves as opium imbued with the power to transform weakness into strength, despair into hope. A bittersweet potion, these poems echo the defiant voice of a son-of-the-soil at odds with a world gone topsy-turvy" - Peter W. Vakunta— University of Wisconsin-Madison, U.S.A

Sunday, November 25, 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

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Woman Who Ate Python & Other Stories by Sammy Oke Akombi

Sammy Oke Akombi. The Woman Who Ate Python & Other Stories. Nyaa Publishers, Yaounde, 2006. 118 pages

Lucidly and economically written, the book gives you just enough of everything so that you have some sense of context, yet never feel that the author is rambling or becoming mired in the tangential.

He treats a number of themes, none of them strange to the African, especially the Cameroonian - machoism or, if you like, male dominance, which is partly the first story's theme. But Ebenye's inquisitiveness and stubbornness demystifies the 'gastronomic restriction,' one of the rules of conducts imposed on the Bonakunda women folk to ensure their loyalty.
The belief that women should not eat python meat, reserved only for men of a certain class, deprived the women of Bonakunda of a much-cherished delicacy.Akombi goes through the theme of poverty, corruption, determination, perseverance and love.
Sprinkled with some misspellings and a few repetitions, and despite the imaginary people names and names of places it is obvious that the stories are set in various places in Cameroon, ranging from the foot of Mt. Fako through Manyu into Nigeria and back to a place like Yaounde.

Click here for a full review

Walls of Agony by John Ngong Kum Ngong

John Ngong Kum Ngong. Walls of Agony. Editions CLE Yaounde, 2006, 60pp.

Walls of Agony is a collection of 40 poems which has as its general subject matter the post-colonial Cameroonian society which the poet criticizes and educates. Cameroon emerges from the poems as a society composed of people of various cultural and ethnic background. But instead of this cultural multivalence becoming a source of strength and a potential for positive change, it translates into a narrative of national anomie, an occasion for the construction of walls of incomprehension and misery.

The poet's anger is directed against all those who erect these polyvalent tribal walls of division and misunderstanding between the superior Self and the inferior Other. His ire is aimed at those who fan the flames of tribal Manicheism ('The Battle continues', 'Powerless').

The Cameroon that the poems examine is a country blessed with many natural resources which are unfortunately mismanaged by a few privileged citizens to the detriment and misery of many. The poet pictures the country as having been ruined and destroyed by the profligate few but one that needs to be rebuilt by real patriots.

It is in the dimension of reconstruction that the poet situates his role and that of genuine nationalists. On the whole the poet is pre-occupied with familiar themes like exploitation, deprivation, marginalisation, cruelty, insatiable greed, corruption, indecency, injustice and exclusion etc.
Written in free verse and accessible language, Walls of Agony is very readable. In it the poet effectively exploits sonal services, especially the use of alliteration. His poetic style is economical, his poetic line very tightly controlled, with no unnecessary words and expressions.

The poet's sentiments are mature and sincere, and his moral intentions for his country, honourable. The social relevance of this collection resides in the fact that it is a soulful, patriotic appeal for the rebuilding of a beloved and richly endowed country ruined by all kinds of petty-minded people who privilege mean projects and pursuits and divisive, egotistic tendencies above concern for the commonweal and love for the fatherland.

Click here for a detailed review

On their Knees By Mathew Takwi

Takwi's poetry echoes a society's cry for justice, peace and love which to the poet are hallmarks of better gains ahead, reason why in the poem "if I Could Love Only A Little" he shows the extent to which love could change the face of the world, in fact could change the corrupt society in which even he the speaker finds himself entrapped. One of the stanzas is telling:

If I could love only a little,
I will slightly right the wrongs in a glee,
And moon the dark clouds of human vicinity,
Like full bloom pink rose,
In green, green orchard.

The poems in this collection are weaved in potentially poignant diction that on their own, carry the message across with clarity and concision. To read Takwi's collection of poetry is to stamp one's imprint on the unspoken and unwritten history of literature's struggle to affirm itself into the mainstream of history's attempts to understand and justify its own judgment on the collective effort towards self-assertion and individual and collective liberty. If we do not read Takwi, then sincerely, I do not know what else we will read.

Click for a detailed review of On Their Knees

Profile: Victor Elame Musinga

Dramatist and actor (1944-)

Musinga draws inspiration and material for his writing from the urban experience of his native Cameroon. His plays deal with the common people lost in the conflicting mix of urban and traditional values which characterize city life. Musinga's theatre has very much in common with that of other African popular artists, but especially the plays of the Zambian Kabwe KASOMA.

Apart from a similarity in theme, their theatrical style reflects the syncretism of urban life and experience, an indiscriminate amalgam of dance, music, dialogue and other elements drawn from traditional and modern sources.

Musinga has written and acted in The Tragedy of Mr. No-Balance, Night Marriages, and Accountant Wawah. The key feature of Musinga's dramaturgy is a certain sensitivity to the theatrical possibilities of the English language through creation of a range of registers for his characters.

Culled from Who's Who in Contemporary World Theatre By Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe (2000), pp. 211-212

Click here for more on Victor Musinga

Profile: Sankie Maimo

On the eve of independence, 'Sankie Maimo (b. 1930) had managed to publish at his cost a 50-page, I am Vindicated (2nd ed. Kraus reprint, 1970) in which inveighing somewhat heavily against tribal witchcraft and championing Western medicine. This was followed by a novelette, Adventuring with Jaja (1962) which was firt issues in Nigeria before being republished in revised form but again privately (1976).

Meanwhile his second play, Sov-Mbang the Soothsayer (1968) had become the only English book ever to be published by C.L.E. The uncommonly hyperbolci blurb contended that Maimo had "attempted to do for Cameroon what Wole Soyinka and Uli Beier has done so successfully for Yoruba society."... Sov-Mbang the Soothsayer was of some merit as a firstlin and as a token that Cameroon might avail itself of its peculiar linguistic status to become a crossroads between the francophone and anglophone trends in African literature.

Sankie Maimo lived in Nigeria from 1949 to 1962 and like a number of Cameroonian writers who have also published poems in Nigerian and Ghanaian journals without acknowledgement of their nationality, has more than once been been mistaken for a Nigerian writer by cataloguers and critics.

Culled from European-language Writing in Sub-Saharan Africa By Albert S. Gérard (1986), pp. 800-801

Click here for more on Sankie Maimo.

Profile: Mbella Sonne Dipoko

Novelis, poet, painter (b. 1936)

The Cameroonian Anglophone novelist, poet, and painter Mbella Sonne Dipoko represents the first generation of Anglophone Cameroonian novelists and is still considered, along with Kenjo Jumbam as one of the foremost writers of Anglophone Cameroonian literature.

His novel, Because of Women (1968) is one of th ebest known Cameroonian novels written in English, and is certainly his signature work. The novel details the tribulations of a fisherman who has difficulty choosing between two potential wives, ultimately gaining neither in a series of tragic events borne of his inability to fathom his true desires and needs. The novel has been the subject of controversy, first when British publishing house Heinemann initially balked at publishing a novel containing explicit sex in its famous African Writers Series, and then from accusations that the text was mysogynist.

His other novel, A Few Nights and Days (1966), is set in France and follows the lives of four students, including an interracial couple, and investigates African-European relations. Dipoko has also published a volume of poetry, Black and White in Love (1972). One of the poems, "Our Destiny," is frequently anthologized.

Source: Enclopedia of African Literature (2002) by Simon Gikandi, p. 148

Abebooks- Because you read.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Profile: Babila Mutia

Cameroonian born Babila Mutia is a widely travelled short stories writer currently lecturing African written and oral literatures in the English department at the Ecole Normale Superieure in the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon.

He earned his BA in English from the University of Benin in Nigeria, his MA in Creative Writing from the University of Windsor, Canada and a PhD in English from Dalhousie University, Canada. He has been a visiting Fulbright scholar in Western Washington University.

He is a professional story teller whose short story The Tiger Trail was broadcast on the BBC in 1979. His best known published work includes; The Miracle, Whose Land, and Before this Time Yesterday.

The Dance of Scorpions by Lloney Monono

"The poems in this anthology serve as snapshots in time, revealing both the poet's thoughts and experiences over a period of sixteen years. They are categorised into Love, Life, Lust and Living. From shy lines on encountering love in ‘First Encounters Of A Different Kind’ to uninhibited lusty lines in ‘An Hour With Consuela’ and from desperate depths of ‘Dementia’ to the wicked world of war in ‘Eighth Plague’ this collection of a hundred plus poems promises quite a thought provoking read"

In The Dance of Scorpions, Lloney Monono, who is part of the emerging third generation of English-speaking Cameroonian writers, successfully bridges that supposedly irreconcilable gap between the “literature of songs” and the literature of protest. In this impressive anthology of over 100 poems spanning a 17-year period, Monono masterfully navigates the political, social and private spheres without losing the essence of his muse
The Dance of Scorpions is a veritable literary tour de force which takes us on an exciting and eventful journey into the past, present and future. It is unarguably one of the finest and the most complete poetry collections to come out of the ex-British Southern Cameroons; one that not only tells the story of a people, a country and a continent, but also that of an individual – his hopes and fears, his successes and disappointments, his triumphs and tragedies.

In this anthology, Monono demonstrates that he is a renaissance man with a solid grasp of a broad array of subjects. His world is one where Zeus the supreme deity, Eros (god of love) Aphrodite (goddess of lust and beauty) Ares (god of Savage war, vengeance, and anger), Athena (goddess of wisdom), Nyx (goddess of darkness) and Socrates the philosopher, all live harmoniously under the same roof.

Click here to read complete review by Dibussi Tande

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Reapers & Freed into Jail by JK Bannavti

A school environment rife with teachers trading grades for sex, tears down a student couple's life, and tips the parent's marriage overboard.

Book Description
The Reapers is an enthralling cautionary tale which tackles hot-button issues of our times such as rumor-mongering and destructive innuendo, love and broken trust, infidelity and revenge, powerlessness and the arrogance of power, sexual libertinism and sexual coercion. It is a no-nonsense look at what happens on college and university campuses; from the temptations and challenges faced by students to the rapacious behavior of lecturers who prey on helpless students.–Dibussi Tande, Summit Magazine

The Reapers epitomizes love which is sandwiched by such elements as reason, irrationality, fidelity and falsehood, and innocence and guilt. ... [It] exposes the plight of students - male and female alike - vis-à-vis their lecturers, as well as marital problems and 'temporal' adultery. –Cameroon Tribune

What is wrong in this family saga is not the supposed infidelity of Asui or the anger of Maimo, rather it is the lack of logic and reason which frames their actions. It is the same lack of logic and reason which catapults the larger society to a morally bankrupt quagmire...and the question which looms at the end of the play is not why it happened but how can the mess be cleaned up; this question extends to the larger society as well.–Joyce Ashuntantang, Ph.D., Professor of English, Univ. of Connecticut, Greater Hartford, Founder & CEO, EduART Inc.

The Reapers is a great effort at conscientization for parents, teachers and students. It is a very pungent satire–Kehbuma Langmia. PhD, Professor of Media Communications, Bowie State University, MD

Asphalt Effect By Kangsen Wakai

Cameroon’s troubled history has provided Feka Wakai with the content of several of the poems in this first, outstanding collection. These poems couched in the authentic rhetoric of social and political protest, hymn the desperate orchestrations of the poet of exile with sardonic impassivity. The poems are highly assertive, combative and partisan - Bate Besong

Great poets make great reading. Kangsen Feka Wakai's collection of poems ASPHALT EFFECT is exhilirating, prying, hopeful, contestatory and ironic. An illustrious son of Africa once said that "the world is like a dancing mask, if you want to see it well, you do not stand in one place."(Achebe).
Like the Igbo masquerade, Kangsen has darted around the horizon and focused his prying gaze on climes beyond his cradle;taking issue with the festering wounds of Africa and the world at large: "A procession of bleeding women with gashes and wounds heads my way/ Blood from their foreheads splashes on the floor."(37)

A reading of this anthology leaves one with a feeling of hoping against hope: " Maybe I would look forward to dawn /If I didn't dread facing an angst ridden face/Wringled by allegorical essays of revolt." (15) Like Shakepeare's Caliban, the poet unleashes a linguistic warfare against cultural assimilation: "Hence I have chosen to use the curse of this language [English] to transform tragedies into blessings." (11) This then is a piece of writing that does more than just entertain. It takes us to task.

Peter Vakunta - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Your Madness, Not Mine: Stories From Cameroon by Juliana Makuchi

"Women's writing in Cameroon has so far been dominated by Francophone writers. The short stories in this collection represent the yearnings and vision of an Anglophone woman, who writes both as a Cameroonian and as a woman whose life has been shaped by the minority status her people occupy within the nation-state."

Your Madness, Not Mine is a book of short stories written by Juliana Makuchi (1999). The stories explore the lives of women in modern Cameroon and the trials they face as they struggle for survival and empowerment in postcolonial Cameroon. The struggles come both from without and from within as the traditional patriarchal society continues to oppress them physically, and their minority status in their nation state oppresses them socially. The stories are often heartbreaking and intense. Makuchi writes with a rebellious force determined to bring the inequities faced by the women of Cameroon to the surface. In an interview Makuchi states "I am interested in looking at the people who were forgotten -- especially the women and children, and how they empower themselves."

About the Author
Makuchi is professor of English and Comparative Literature at North Carolina State University, Raleigh.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Why a Blog on Cameroon Anglophone Literature?

Is Cameroon Anglophone Literature non-existent? Or is there a thriving litarary community in the former British Southern Cameroons which is simply not known on the national and international scene?

This blog will try to answer this question by profiling novelists, poets and playwrights from that former British trust territory, most of whose works are not available out of Cameroon, and have only limited distribution within Cameroon.

The blog will also focus on the emerging third generation Anglophone writers in the Diaspora who are part of what is increasingly being referred to as the Anglophone Cameroon Literary Renaissance.