Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Tragedy of Mr. No-Balance by Victor Musinga

Kwo Victor Elame Musinga. The Tragedy of Mr. No-Balance. Edited by Roselyne Jua. Langaa publishers, 2oo8. Available at amazon.com and African Books Collective

The Tragedy of Mr No-Balance spotlights corruption. Musinga skillfullyblends humour and simplicity to expose its depth in Cameroon.

Mr No Balance asks job applicants to either ‘throw water up’ or ‘oil my lips’.The playwright uses the illiterate Bih to expose his corrupt practices andto demonstrate that the downtrodden of the society can contribute to the fight against corruption. He proposes an effective police network and an impartial judiciary for corruption eradication.

This play is a must watch for anyone who is frustrated because of corruption and hopeless about its eradication.

Playwright, Dramatist, Stage Director and Founder of the pioneer English speaking Drama group, Musinga Drama Group, Cameroon, Kwo Victor Elame Musinga has written over thirty plays most of which have remained unpublished. Still engaged in writing and acting, he is a fount of resource to the student of Cameroon drama. He is currently assisting in the creation of drama clubs in secondary and primary schools all over the country and working on a TV series based on corruption titled Mr. Director.

Roselyne M. Jua holds a BA (Hons) from Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, a PhD from SUNY at Buffalo, New York. She teaches English and American Literature at the University of Buea, Cameroon. Her research interests are eclectic and recent essays have appeared in The Journal of Black Studies and The International Journal of Humanistic Studies. She is co-editor of Emerging Perspectives in Anglophone Cameroon Drama and Theatre 1, and with Bate Besong, of To the Creative Writer: A Handbook. Her first book of poems is entitled In My Father’s House. She is amember of WEEN, a women’s empowerment enterprise in Cameroon.

The Day God Blinked by Alobwed'Epie

Alobwed'Epie. The Day God Blinked. Langaa publishers, 2008. 116 p. Available at Michigan State University Press and African Books Collective.

The Day God Blinked x-rays the politico-economic and socio-moral life of a rich and resourceful country called Ewawa from 1982 to 2007. Th e country had been ruledby a dynamic and insightful miser known as the Old Man. But because he had been in power for too long, his citizens longed for change. It happened when nobody expected it. Th e old man died suddenly in his sleep and was replaced by his handpicked successor. Unfortunately, the successor whom everybody had expected would do better plunged the country into terrible economic and moral crises. Lucia, the protagonist, narrates her predicament. To her, Ewawa is rotten in all totality. There is nowhere to turn for salvation. The custodians of the economic, social, moral and spiritual values of the land are not up to the task. The country is without hope. Is all doomed?

“A most graphic narrative of a nation’s young and potentially highly productivegeneration set adrift in the scarlet waters of a sleepy and decadent society.”- Bole Butake, Professor of Th eatre Arts, Critic and Playwright,University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon

“An intensely moving account of severe personal suffering dictated by falsehoods, the banalities and the panoply of macabre intrigues by leadership that indicts virtue and celebrates crime. The author constructs the story with verve and skilful artistry, rendered with poetic force and cosmic irony.”- Nkemngong Nkengasong. Associate Professor of Literature, Playwright and Critic,University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon

“A highly thought-provoking tale about the way human beings chart out their lives, some in grinding destitution and others in the splendour of opulence, in this putrid African country.”- Nol Alembong, Associate Professor of African Literature, Poet and Critic, University of Yaoundé 1, Cameroon

Alobwed’Epie, author of The Death Certificate and The Lady with a Beard, was born at Ngomboku in Kupe-Muanenguba Division, South-West Province, Cameroon. He studied at the Universities of Yaoundé and Leeds, and teaches Creative Writing at theUniversity of Yaoundé 1 Cameroon.

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

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Profile: Oscar Chenyi Labang

Oscar Chenyi Labang is a native of Nsei Village, Ndop plains, in the Ngoketunjia Division of the North West Province, Cameroon. He attended Government Bilingual High School Ndop and the University of Yaounde I, where he is currently carrying out research for a PhD. He holds an MA in Modern British Poetry and a DEA in Modern Anglo-American Poetry.

He is former President of the Yaounde University Poetry Club (YUPOC) and winner of the Bernard Folon Poetry Competition (2005). He is contributing poet to Imagination of Poets: Anthology of African Poems (2005) and Contributing Editor of Emerging Voices: Anthology of Young Anglophone Cameroon Poets.

This is Bonamoussadi by Oscar Chenyi Labang

Oscar Chenyi Labang. This is Bonamoussadi. Lulu.com, 2008, 60 pages.

This is Bonamoussadi gives insight into the imagination of a remarkably sensitive poet. This epic-scale poem constitute a chaos of ideas in a synthetic consciousness; a network of disconnected sensibilities that indict the triumph of evil and greed, bad leadership as well as hypocrisy and fraud not only in the filthy cityscape of its title but in Cameroon and Africa as a whole. Stylistically it reveals a radical experimentation in form, including a breakdown in generic distinction - poetry and prose and poetry and drama -; in short it is a postmodernist celebration of the liberation of genre.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Profile: John Nkemngong NKENGASONG

John Nkemngong NKENGASONG (Novelist, Fiction Writer, Poet, Playwright) is a prolific writer and literary critic whose work ranges across genres and disciplines. He has published two novels (most recently The Widow's Might (2006), and Across the Mongolo, 2004), one play (Black Caps and Red Feathers, 2001), and his poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies throughout Africa and the United States.

He has staged four of his unpublished plays (most recently A Madding Generation, 2005) in the cities of Kumba and Yaoundé. Nkengasong has held weekly columns in the Cameroon Post and The Post newspapers and has penned dozens of scholarly articles on topics in African, American, and British literature. His critical volume, W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot: Myths and the Poetics of Modernism, was published by Presses Universitaires Yaounde in 2005. He is currently Associate Professor at the University of Yaounde 1, Cameroon.

Selected Bibliography


“Letters to Marion” and other poems. In Journal of New Poetry 4. Morrisville: Lulu Inc., 2007.


The Widow’s Might. Yaounde: Editions CLE, 2006.

Across the Mongolo. Ibadan: Spectrum Books Limited, 2004.

Published Play

Black Caps and Red Feathers. Bamenda: Patron Publishing House, 2001.

Staged Plays

A Madding Generation. Yupoc, prod. University of Yaounde: Amphitheatre 700, 2005. Ancestral Earth. The Royal Spear Theatre, prod. GTHS Amphitheatre, Kumba, 1999.

Bakassi Soldier. The Royal Spear Theatre, prod. Catholic Mission Hall, Kumba, 1998.

The Call of Blood. The Royal Spear Theatre, prod. Catholic Mission Hall, Kumba, 1996.

Black Caps and Red Feathers. The Royal Spear Theatre, prod. Catholic Mission Hall, Kumba, 1995.