Deji Toye

Reading Àjàlá in Modern Times


To a generation of Nigerians, the character Àjàlá might as well be an urban legend. Fictionalised in film, memorialised in music and romanticised in folklore, Ajala has become a common noun, a term in popular Nigerian usage for something part Don Quixote and part Don Juan. Over the last few decades, Olabisi Ajala’s legend has […]

Theorising the ‘Loud Nigerian’: A Review of Nigerians… in Theory


     By merely looking at the cover of the book Nigerians… in Theory by Joe Abah and Yemi Adesanya, one might immediately place it within a certain tradition of Nigerian long-form commentary. For one, its sub-title ‘Our Quirks, Habits & Idiosyncrasies’. For another, its choice for cover art: cartoon characters illustrating the familiar scenario of […]

The Raft, the Rift and the Reconciliation – J.P. Clark among his Peers


One of the iconic photographs in Nigerian literature shows the poet John Pepper “J.P.” Clark Bekederemo – together with the novelist Chinua Achebe and the playwright Wole Soyinka – going to visit the military dictator Ibrahim Babangida sometime in 1986. Their mission was to plead for the life of Mamman Vatsa, a military General, who […]