My Top 5 Most Favourite Novels By an African Author

Reading is the life-blood of knowledge. When we read we learn, when we read we understand, when we read we… evolve. And naturally, as with everything else in life, reading – or the creation of materials to be read – is not limited. Pretty much every country, or custom, or religion has a certain type of literature they conceive and appreciate. Now I’m a reader. I wouldn’t go so far as to use the term ‘Avid’ with myself, but I think I do well enough for a modern day teenager. And like any other reader who reads for the sole purpose of pleasure, I’ve… read a lot of stuff [most of which I honestly regret]. And that lead me to reading African literature. Now I’m not going to go into the “pros and cons”/history of African literature because I honestly feel like you don’t care about that. So I’m simply going to move on with the listing.

PS: This is not a countdown, neither is it a list of ‘Suggested Reads’. This is simply me sharing my opinion with you and hoping you find it entertaining and, well… educating.

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Title: The Trials of Brother Jero

Author: Wole Soyinka

Publication: Nigeria, 1963. But first produced in April 1960.

Synopsis: The Trials of Brother Jero is a light satiric comedy that takes aim at religious hypocrisy in the form of a charlatan, or fraud, named Brother Jero, who preaches to his followers on Bar Beach in Lagos, Nigeria. Jero is a master of manipulation and keeps his followers in a subservient position because he understands what they long for—money, social status, and power—and convinces them that they will soon be able to fulfill these materialistic desires. For their part, they are gullible enough to believe him. The vitality of the rogue Jero makes him a popular figure with audiences, and this rambunctious, humorous play is one of the best-known and most frequently performed of Soyinka’s early works.

Extracted from Encyclopedia.com

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The reason why I love this book so much is because of the comedy. I mean I couldn’t help but have this stupid grin on my face while reading this [it was that good]. Although I’ll admit I didn’t quite get most of the dialogue – because of the time and place it was set in, what I did get however, ensured the book turned out to be a satisfying read.

The Trials of Brother Jero can be purchased here for about $9.00 I think.

 

 

Asare-KonaduTitle: A Woman in Her Prime

Author: Samuel Asare Konadu

Publication: Heinemann, 1967.

Plot: Compared to the brilliance and brashness of so much Nigerian literature, the quieter literature of Ghana may seem in danger of being overlooked. A Woman in Her Prime is a good example of what a mistake that would be.

Like its heroine, A Woman in Her Prime is modest, balanced, calm, and understated, but with a charm and quiet beauty that prove captivating. It centers on a domestic drama that can be stated simply: Pokuwaa would like a child, but her prayers have not been answered.

The opening chapter skillfully draws drama from this simple situation. It is the appointed day for sacrifice to the god Tano, but Pokuwaa is running late. She washes herself, rubs her skin with shea cream, and purifies herself with white clay powder, then looks for the black hen she means to sacrifice. She finds only a post in the ground and a broken string. The hen has escaped! She asks some children if they have seen it, and when one child admits to having thrown a stick at a stray black hen she sees that he is a fetish child — the product of prayers and sacrifice like the child she wants for herself. Rather than being harsh with him, she enlists him and the other children to search for her hen. They find the hen in the bushes, about to be swallowed by a snake, but Pokuwaa is just in time to pin down the snake, rescue the hen, and make her sacrifice.

In a few pages we learn a lot about Pokuwaa: about her courage and resourcefulness, her faith, the strength of her desire for a child, and the fact that she is good with children and able to gain their trust.

Pokuwaa has divorced two husbands, apparently with little fuss, when they prove unable to give her children. (Oddly, there is little suggestion than the villagers think the fault is with her.) She becomes the second wife of a kind man named Kwadwo, and in less than a month she shows signs of being pregnant. She loses the child, though, and a medicine man chides her for not making the proper sacrifice. Pokuwaa’s mother, who had pressed her to leave her second husband, seems nearly as concerned about that lack of a child than Pokuwaa herself. Kwadwo’s first wife also resents her husband’s attention to Pokuwaa. But Pokuwaa and Kwadwo have a gentle, teasing relationship, full of goodnatured humor. Pokuwaa has good friends, too, and a thriving farm. Her wish for a child doesn’t prevent her from enjoying her life.

Another small drama arises when Pokuwaa discovers a dead body in the forest. Not wanting to draw attention to herself, she tells only her mother and keeps quiet as the villagers search for the missing man. Her feeling of guilt comes out in her tears at the man’s funeral, causing Kwadwo to suspect she knew the dead man better than she admits.

Perhaps because finding the body has caused her to think more deeply about life and death, or perhaps because she has simply had enough of endless rituals and sacrifice, and her mother’s nagging, Pokuwaa finally says, “I think I am going to have peace at last. I am going to give up crying inside me for that which I cannot get. I am not going to sacrifice any more.”

There are many African novels that tell of violence, betrayal, and cruel disillusionment. There are few that express the sweetness of village life. With its loving descriptions of the rituals, routines, and gossip of a small community, A Woman in Her Prime expresses how disappointment may be balanced by tenderness and peace — and how we sometimes get the thing we want only after we have stopped striving for it.

Extracted from Geoffwisner.com

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A woman in her prime in my opinion is a beautifully-crafted work of art. To put it simply, its the best Ghanian book I’ve ever read.

 

Okay folks, this is where we’ll be ending the list for now. I know I said five but, well this post is getting a little bit too wordy so I’ve decided to break it in two. Never fear though, for the second installment will be coming up in a couple of days. Till then, live life to the fullest.

EXTRATERRESTRIAL LIFE: PROBABLE FACT OR PURE FICTION?

Warning: This article is not about UFO sightings.

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Sorry to those of you who thought it was, but its not. The aim of this article is not to prove whether UFOs are real or not, rather it’s to understand if the concept of alien life is a logical one.

 

Though let it not be said that I do not believe in UFOs. Because, ‘If Enough People Attest to the Same Bizarre Experience, Then it is Less Likely a Lie Than Truth’.

 

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The universe is humongous, everyone knows that. No one knows exactly how large, but most have a better perception of its size than others.

 

And for anyone with the slightest inkling of the magnitude of the universe, the knowledge that there are more planets in space than could probably be counted is no mystery.

 

Also is the fact that; since we live on a planet that’s capable of sustaining life, then there has to be at least one other planet out there that possesses the same capability.

 

With that out of the way, let’s now move on to the point of discussion: Is Alien Life Probable Fact, or Pure Fiction?

 

I will be discussing the topic from two aspects, namely; religious and scientific.

 

RELIGIOUS ASPECT:

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The human race practices tons of religions. Most of them weird, most of them scary, and more of them than I would prefer, just plain stupid – from the logical point of view anyway.

 

And lots of these religions teach that, the universe and everything in it was created by some supreme being/s.

 

And after studying a fair amount of these religions, I’ve come to realize that none of them actually affirm alien life.

 

Sure, they talk about spirits, and angels, and Asgardians, stuff like that. But I’ve never seen any that talks about Kryptonians, or the Loric [perhaps because both races are nearly extinct].

 

Also, even though they sometimes mention the cosmos, and the myriad of planets in it, the only planet they wound up discussing is Earth.

 

But you see, those facts up top are what begs the question; Why would an all-powerful being go through the trouble of creating a universe so vast it could hold countless organisms, then for some reason pick just one planet from the quintillions of others and decide to populate it with life?

 

Some people will say it’s because the human race is special, but most don’t agree. Because that in no way explains why the universe is so large.

 

After all, the universe is so large that if only one planet in every galaxy sustained life, then there would be billions of planets out there with life on it.

 

Now, I’m not saying that religion as a whole is wrong, neither am I saying that alien life is real, despite the fact that no religion so far supports the theory [as far as I know anyway]. What I’m saying is that, just as there are no known religions that supports the theory, so also are there no known religions that discount it. So keep an open mind.

 

SCIENTIFIC ASPECT:

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Science teaches many things, the most noteworthy of which is evolution.

 

Unlike religion which often talks about a creator, science teaches that life evolved by chance. Me, you, the earth and the entire universe all came about by chance and billions of years of continuous evolution.

 

And as you can imagine, that is very stable ground on which to place the foundation for alien life. Because if we live on a planet that sustains life, then is it not logical that there will be other planets out there that can do the same?

 

Most people though still argue that even if the human race had evolved by chance, that doesn’t mean that beings as advanced as us could have done the same elsewhere.

 

That may be. It’s likely [though not very] that there is no life out there as developed as the human race, but I really don’t think that matters.

 

The thing is, most people when they hear the term extraterrestrials tend to imagine little green men with flying saucers and advanced technology and such. They fail to realize that even a plant can be counted as extraterrestrial life.

 

But like I said, I don’t think any of that really matters. What I believe matters is that extraterrestrial life is far less illogical than many people make it seem.

 

Sure we may not find any aliens, any time soon [maybe not even in the next century].

 

But one thing’s for sure, until we scan the entire universe, planet by planet, and fail to discover any other form of life, there will definitely be those who will continue to gaze at the stars asking: Are there others out there?

 

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So, now that you’ve heard what I’ve got to say, what do you think?

Is extraterrestrial life probable fact, or pure fiction?

Joke #2

A drunk leaves a bar and decides to take a shortcut through a graveyard. It is raining heavily and very dark. The drunk fails to see an open grave and falls into it. He tries to climb out of it, but it is too deep and the rain has turned the dirt to mud making it too slippery to climb. He gives up after a while and decides to spend the night there. A while later, another drunk leaves the same bar and decides to take the same shortcut through the graveyard. He too, falls into the open grave and tries to climb out but the mud is too slippery. The first drunk is still sitting there and watches as the other drunk tries but fails to get out. The first drunk stands up, taps the second drunk on the shoulder and tells him, “You’ll never get out!.” He did.