Tuesday, September 23, 2008

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

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