English in Africa - Volume 32, Issue 1, 2005
Volumes & issues
Volume 32, Issue 1, 2005
Source: English in Africa 32, pp 7 –19 (2005)More Less
This special issue presents for the first time a range of sustained scholarly engagements with third generation Nigerian writing. The idea of a collaborative work of this nature on new Nigerian writing started one evening in March 1998 when we met for the first time at the Johannesburg home of the South African poet, novelist, and literary historiographer, Stephen Gray. We discovered our shared interest in the writing that was coming out of Nigeria and produced by emergent writers who had acquired a creative identity markedly different from that of second generation writers such as Niyi Osundare, Femi Osofisan, Festus Iyayi, Abubakar Gimba, Zaynab Alkali, Odia Ofeimun, Tunde Fatunde, Bode Sowande, Tanure Ojaide, and Wale Okediran.
Author Remi RajiSource: English in Africa 32, pp 21 –35 (2005)More Less
In the 1960s and the early 1970s, Ibadan was acclaimed as the meeting point for the main actors of the cultural renaissance of postcolonial Anglophone Africa. It was the hive of high literary culture for Nigerian and African writers and artists. After the first political impasse and the Biafran War of 1967-1970, and as the Nigerian nation underwent acute structural adjustment to self-imposed aridity, the image of that glorious hub of creativity shrank and literary readings and performances became limited to the University of Ibadan. I enrolled at the University of Ibadan at the turn of the flamboyant decade. The narrative that follows here is the impression of the rise as well as the dispersal of a generation of writers and scholars.
Author Maik NwosuSource: English in Africa 32, pp 37 –50 (2005)More Less
As a marker, 1988 highlights the significant emergence in print of Nigeria's 1960s literary generation. One of the signal events of this year was the publication of Voices from the Fringe, an anthology of poems by hitherto-unpublished 'young' Nigerian poets. This publication was facilitated by the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), with Odia Ofeimun as its secretary-general, and edited by Dr Harry Garuba. Earlier, Uche Nduka had edited the path-breaking volume Poets in their Youth, an anthology with the same tenor as Voices from the Fringe but less comprehensive in its representational scope. Beyond anthologization, 1988 was the year in which the ANA eased the publication of the Update Six - individual collections by six new Nigerian poets, published by Update Communications Ltd. Until then, the outlets for writers of the 1960s literary generation had mostly been readings at ANA meetings or conventions and the pages of ANA Review, the annual journal of the Association of Nigerian Authors.
Author Harry GarubaSource: English in Africa 32, pp 51 –72 (2005)More Less
Even at the most propitious of times, when a convergence of historical events and a creative ferment of the imagination appear to announce their evidence, literary periodization remains a messy business. The happy coincidence of history and the foregrounding of particular thematic and formal preoccupations in literature is often one such moment when a period or school seems inevitably to come into being. But this inevitability is deceptive, masking the constructedness of the category we devise for framing our understanding of it and the time-lines we draw to mark it. For, once time-lines are drawn and writers and writing are placed within them, the intuitive clarity of the lines blur, as writers who should be within the period by the nature of their preoccupations and styles fall outside and others within very clearly pronounce their unbelonging in their work.
Author Heather HewettSource: English in Africa 32, pp 73 –97 (2005)More Less
Habila's story about a young writer's coming of age captures the plight facing an entire generation : just as they came of age, their country disintegrated around them. During the 1980s and 90s, an oil bust, economic collapse, devaluation of the currency, the closing of Nigerian publishing houses and the evaporation of book markets exacerbated the country's political troubles and heightened the sense of isolation felt by many Nigerians (Griswold 69). Pius Adesanmi limns an all-too-familiar portrait of murderous dictators and corrupt politicians whose misrule, intimidation, and violence served to waste "a span of sixteen years in the lives of these young intellectuals" ("Re-Membering" 14). Some writers (such as Ogaga Ifowodo, Akin Adesokan, Kunle Ajibade, and Ken Saro Wiwa) were imprisoned and tortured, and their incarceration deeply affected writers throughout the country. The sum total of all these events - the political imbroglios, the collapse of the nation's infrastructure, and the attendant decline of opportunity - has led Adesanmi to coin the term "dismembered present" to describe postcolonial Nigeria (15).
Author Chielozona EzeSource: English in Africa 32, pp 99 –112 (2005)More Less
In Chinua Achebe's Arrow of God, we are presented with an intriguing character, Ezeulu. In many instances, Ezeulu is portrayed as being ahead of his time. Among his special qualities is the ability to recognize, very much like the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, that reality is in constant motion; the only thing that is stable is change. For Ezeulu, "the world is like a mask dancing. If you want to see it well you do not stand in one place" (45-46). The typical African mask performance is a display of different masquerades in the village square during festivals. In contrast with conventional Western theatre in which characters perform on stage and the members of the audience are seated, African masquerade performance involves movement of both actors and audience.
Source: English in Africa 32, pp 113 –125 (2005)More Less
It is no cause for satisfaction that over the last half-century Africa has produced such a substantial body of prison writing, nor that the provenance of this work is so wide-ranging, extending from Algeria to South Africa, with notable examples hailing from (amongst other countries) Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire, Malawi and Nigeria.
Author Odia OfeimunSource: English in Africa 32, pp 135 –141 (2005)More Less
Almost at the end of Maik Nwosu's Invisible Chapters, Prinzi, a writer perennially in pursuit of the great Nigerian novel, finally gets the opportunity to present his book to the newly wed Ashikodi, his eternal friend and soulmate. "There was only one copy" of the book, "a special wedding present to a special couple on a special occasion in the life of New Maroko, the seemingly invisible chapters of dreams at work.
Identity and Narrativity in a Postcolonial Context
Arrows of Rain, Okey Ndibe
A Squatter's Tale, Ike Oguine : book reviewAuthor Wumi RajiSource: English in Africa 32, pp 143 –148 (2005)More Less
Beside the Nobel Prize won by Wole Soyinka, perhaps the next most important development in the Nigerian literary scene in the year 1986 was the publication of Chinua Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah. Up till that time Achebe's most recent novel had been A Man of the People, published in 1966 and focusing on Nigeria's First Republic. In this highly satiric novel Achebe exposes the corrupt practices of the political leaders of the period, ending up by predicting the invasion of the nation's political landscape by the military.
Source: English in Africa 32, pp 149 –152 (2005)More Less
Waiting for an Angel is Helon Habila's first novel, although by the time it appeared in print its author's name was already in the public gaze. Awarded prizes for his poetry in the late 1990s, Habila had then won the 2001 Caine prize for African writing for his story "Love Poems" (later to form the first section of Waiting for an Angel). A Commonwealth prize followed for the completed novel. Now resident in the UK, Habila has announced a second novel, tentatively titled Measuring Time, for publication in 2005.