Saturday, November 24, 2007

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

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