Wednesday, November 28, 2007

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.

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