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 Amazon.com, 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 http://www.ekosso.com/

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.