Manual Africa and the Novel

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Check out our summer newsletter to learn more about our record-setting year, and see what BFA has been doing as we work to end the…. Featuring a keynote speech from His Excellency Dr. Paul, Minnesota warehouse. Books For Africa A simple name for an organization with a simple mission. This shipment of , books is part of a new Books for Africa initiative in… Read Story. These dynamics are further complicated, or sometimes instigated, as the focus shifts from the bed to the uterus, and the guilt and desperation as women will their bodies to produce the one thing — often the only thing — that will legitimise both their marriage and their femininity: a child.

He heaved and hoed, poured his water into me and collapsed onto my breasts. Despised and ultimately feared by the other wives who try everything — including murder — to get rid of her, Bolanle struggles to conceive. He is my first son, Yejide. We had dodged the bullets of Amin, Obote, all the coups, the economic war, exile and return, and here we were on the road to success.

Through the story of one family — Hailu, the doctor, his two sons, the religious Yonas and the rebellious Dawit, their partners and neighbours — we see the disintegration into a reign of terror. The depiction of individual acts of morality and resistance — both major and minor, futile and fruitful — as a society descends into brutality and conformism is arresting even if all the characters except Hailu feel one-dimensional.

Unlike many black British novels, which often have a fractured timeline, only a few of those I read Zeina , Kintu , The Memory of Love shift between past and present. Philosophically the authors of these books feel more comfortable in their skin than their diasporic counterparts in Europe and the US, who often work through their issues of belonging, discrimination and minority status through their fiction. That sense of confidence evaporates the longer they stay outside Africa. Mustafa is one of just four from an original contingent of who survive the journey after some are lost, others killed and a handful eaten by their fellow explorers.

As the expedition proceeds, with all the brutality and arrogance such an imperial adventure entails, the numbers dwindle and the hierarchy between slave and master breaks down, threatening to reassert itself when the four finally find their way back to other Spanish colonists.

'African Samurai': The story of Yasuke — black samurai and warlord's confidant | The Japan Times

And I would do whatever it took in order to right mine. In a regular year my fiction choices are very hit and miss. I read non-fiction primarily for work and fiction for pleasure. Occasionally, prompted by reviews and more often by recommendations, I yank something off the shelf and give it a go. I come late to pretty much everything. Sometimes I try to improve myself with something I think I should have read — a classic Russian novel or recent prize winner — which rarely works out.

Indeed one of the most delightful was Welcome to Lagos , by one Chibundu Onuzo. It follows Chike Ameobi, a military officer, who deserts the Nigerian army with his subordinate of few words, Yemi, after refusing to fire on civilians in the Niger delta. As they flee they bump into Fineboy, a slick character who fought with rebel groups; Isoken, a year-old girl whom they rescue from being raped by Fineboy and his fellow rebels; and Oma, on the run from an abusive husband.

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Having found each other, this unlikely band of travellers sticks together through a series of adventures during which they sleep rough, squat in an apartment, imprison a corrupt minister, redistribute stolen money to schools, and eventually make a life for themselves in a beautifully spun yarn that I could not put down. Discovering these writers, new and old, who were hiding in plain sight has been a bit like coming across a new word — suddenly they pop up everywhere and you realise that somehow their presence never registered.

Somebody come ast about Cudjo! Published by Amistad Press.

My father he name O-lo-loo-ay. He not a rich man. He have three wives. My mama she name Ny-fond-lo-loo.

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She de second wife. He got nine by de first wife and three by de third wife. In de compound I play games wid all de chillun. We see which one kin run de fastest. We clam de palm tree wid coconut on it and we eatee dat, we go in de woods and hunt de pineapple and banana. One day de chief send word to de compound.

He want see all de boys dat done see fourteen rainy seasons. First de fathers elders takee de boys on journey to hunt. Dey got to learn de step on de ground tracks. De fathers teachee us to know a place for de house camp site. We shoot de arrows from de bow. We chunkee spear. We kill de beastes and fetchee dem home wid us. He make us strong so nobody doan make war on us.


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Four, five rainy seasons it keep on lak dat, den I grow tall and big. I kin run in de bush all day and not be tired. De King of Dahomey, you know, he got very rich ketchin slaves. He keep his army all de time making raids to grabee people to sell. The town had eight gates, intended to provide various escape routes in the event of an attack. Derefore, dey come make war, but we doan know dey come fight us. Dey march all night long and we in de bed sleep. It bout daybreak when de people of Dahomey breakee de Great Gate. I not woke yet. I hear de yell from de soldiers while dey choppee de gate.

Derefore I jump out de bed and lookee. I see de great many soldiers wid French gun in de hand and de big knife. Dey got de women soldiers too and dey run wid de big knife and dey ketch people and saw de neck wid de knife den dey twist de head so it come off de neck. I see de people gittee kill so fast! Everybody dey run to de gates so dey kin hide deyself in de bush, you unnerstand me.


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  • I runnee fast to de gate but some de men from Dahomey dey dere too. I runnee to de nexy gate but dey dere too. Dey surround de whole town. One gate lookee lak nobody dere so I make haste and runnee towards de bush. But soon as I out de gate dey grabee me, and tie de wrist.

    'African Samurai': The story of Yasuke — black samurai and warlord's confidant

    Dey take him in de bush where de king of Dahomey wait wid some chiefs. Why you doan come in de daytime so dat we could meet face to face? I born a king in Takkoi where my father and his fathers rule. I not be no slave. One woman soldier step up wid de machete and chop off de head of de king, and pick it off de ground and hand it to de king of Dahomey. I no see none my family.

    All day dey make us walk. De sun so hot. De king of Dahomey, he ride in de hammock and de chiefs wid him dey got hammock too.

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    Dey tie us in de line so nobody run off. In dey hand dey got de head of de people dey kill in Takkoi. Some got two, three head.

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    I doan lak see my people head in de soldier hands; and de smell makee me so sick.