Arts/Culture

Flat-lining and the Buzz

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You don’t send out invites to these things. So obviously no RSVP’s in return. It’s all guess work. There’s a metaphor somewhere in there. I’ll work it out in a minute.  – Aduke Gomez There is, among the Bambuti of the Ituri forest in the Congo, the impossible music of the bamboo flute. This flute […]

The AKO Caine Prize: What’s in for us in 2021?

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When you enter the world of Rémy Ngamije’s ‘Giver of Nicknames’, you’re probably not thinking of how teenagers perceive injustice. To reduce the story set in a Catholic school in urban Namibia to this one theme is to do injustice to the writing. The shortlisted stories in the 2021 AKO Caine Prize For African Writing […]

[REVIEW]: Meron Hadero’s Sense of Hope

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This is the second time Meron Hadero, the Ethiopian American writer, has been shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. She made the shortlist in 2019 with her heartbreaking story “The Wall,” though Lesley Nneka Arimah, the Nigerian American, would win the prize with “Skinned,” a riveting, eerie story about gender inequality. Hadero is […]

[REVIEW] Bound by Grief, Bound by Love

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‘Like a hum in the forest’, these words are swirling around in the deep recess of my mind asking to be let out. It took a while but it finally found an exit – these winged words set a flight reading The Separation by Iryn Tushabe. They make their unhurried way out of my mind, […]

[REVIEW] On Nicknames and the Ringmasters

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“We were clowns, children, things….” So starts Rémy Ngamije’s The Giver of Nicknames, where readers are launched into the mind of a hyper-literate narrator who recounts his teenagehood at a private Catholic School in Namibia. From the beginning, Ngamije’s sets out to make the reader aware of the title character’s deft use of language, more […]

How Anthony Azekwoh is Creating a Future of Myths

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“Is your VPN on?” asks Anthony Azekwoh. We’re on the now-familiar Zoom app, attempting to get into a meeting together. Days before our call, the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari declared an unconstitutional ban on Twitter, forcing millions of Nigeria-based users to access the social platform through a VPN interface, which is able to bypass territorial […]

[Review] Baingana’s Memories of War

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“Lucky,” by Doreen Baingana, is a historical-memoir short story that addresses the subject of war and its devastating effects on human society. The immediate allusion to “Gulu District, West Nile” paints in the reader’s mind the impression of the 1980 insurgency⎯which occurred after Idi Amin was toppled a year earlier⎯and places the story perfectly to […]

[REVIEW]: Writing Rejection in This Little Light of Mine

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My encounter with Troy Onyango’s story in Origami was love at first sight. Struck by the story’s opening sentence: First, he plucks a small part of himself and folds it in half; I surrendered to the intimacy of those words that pronounced Onyango as a writer that cares about the efficiency of a sentence. But […]

Chimamanda’s Bag of Fucks is Empty

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is deeply and unapologetically Nigerian. You get reminded of it when she laughs and her whole shoulders shake. When she speaks Igbo in that fast, accentuated clip you never look far for the Nigerian in her; it’s there, as apparent as the fabric on her neck. When she tells Ebuka Uchendu in […]

[INTERVIEW] “I am a child of the 80s.”

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Cheluchi Onyemelukwe’s debut novel, The Son of the House, won the award for Best Fiction Writer at the 2019 Sharjah International Book Fair. Uche: Congrats on The Son of the House—a heartrending novel dealing with rape, teenage pregnancy, treachery, and female oppression. What was it like writing it, and how did it start? Cheluchi: Thank […]