Recently in African novels and stories Category
HON. WALE OKEDIRAN, the immediate past President of Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, has just completed a fictional account of his tenure as a member of the Federal House of Representatives from 2004 to 2007. Titled Tenants of the House, it was originally conceived as a biography but had to be fictionalised in view of its very sensitive and potentially explosive contents. In this interview with Sumaila Umaisha, he discusses the book and its public presentation at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos.
NNW: What is Tenants of the House all about?
Hon. Wale Okediran: It is a fictional account of my stay in the House of Representatives from 2004 to 2007. It traced the experience of the main character Hon. Samuel Bakura while in the National Assembly and depicted his challenges, frustrations and achievements as an idealistic young politician.
You stated in the press material that Tenants of the House is politically explosive. How will this explosiveness help heal Nigeria's checkered political experience?
The way it will help will depend on how people react to it.The writer's job is to write and not to prescribe. My aim is to sensitise the public about the challenges and frustrations of governing this country from the perspective of a former insider, albeit in a fictional way. The story will also let the public know that contrary to widely held belief, the problem in our governorship does not solely lie with the politicians, but also to some extent with some of the electorate who expect too much from their elected representatives, and by so doing, put them in difficult positions.
It is my hope that with this understanding, the electorate will be more vigilant in electing the right people into office and monitor them more closely while in office. In addition, more credible people will be willing to go into politics and increase the critical mass of those who want to change the country for good.
We however still have a long way to go in the area of Libraries which are still non existing in many parts of the country. One is looking forward to a situation where every Local Government Area in the country will have a functional library. It is not too much for philanthropists to also set up libraries.
vendredi 5 février : la bande dessinée africaine : réalités et perspectives
Sous la coordination scientifique de Christophe Cassiau-Haurie, conservateur de bibliothèque, spécialiste de la BD du sud (Afrique, Océan indien, Caraïbes...) qui sera le modérateur de la journée.
introduction : état des lieux de la BD africaine par Christophe Cassiau-Haurie
- Robert Wazi, éditeur de bandes dessinées
- Alix Fuilu, auteur et éditeur (Afrobulles)
- Serge Diantantu, auteur
- Christophe Ngalle Edimo, scénariste
- Sabri Kasbi auteur et enseignant
- Jean-Louis Couturier, rédacteur en chef des revues Planète Jeunes et Planète Enfants (Bayard Presse) : revues diffusées en Afrique
- Alain Brezault, journaliste, scénariste et écrivain
- Joost Pollmann, et journaliste de BD au quotidien Volkskrant, commissaire de l'exposition Picha,
Of course, the real critics have their very interesting observations that make me wish I had pursued that line of work... "The nature of the Igbo traveling identity-its cosmopolitanism, transborder claims, and new metropolitan tropes-permits us therefore to fully comprehend the nature of Nigeria's contemporary cultural production as well as its implication or significance in shaping modern, postcolonial Nigerian identity and the direction of its narrative of the nation." That from Nwakanma Obi, "Metonymic Eruptions : Igbo Novelists, the Narrative of the Nation, and New Developments in the Contemporary Nigerian Novel" Research in African literatures , 2008, vol. 39, no2, pp. 1-14.
Anyway, for your amusement, Akpan mentions a song by Awilo Longomba, from Congo called Coupe Dibamba. Not my preferred style in African music (though I like Kassav'), but definitely you can hear this blaring out of the boits de nuit de Ouagadougou!
I found myself very immersed in the characters until mid-way through, when the sister disappears and Chester goes off to Nigeria... a trip the reader anticipates weith dread... it turns out as bad as one expected, but somehow there is no emotional cost to Chester or the reader... somehow Emecheta disengages the intensity- like I said, good for high school, but not compelling for the experienced reader.