Stalled vehicles honked in the yellow glow of the midday sun. Their drivers, the ones with no air conditioning, stuck their necks out to spew forth words peppered with profanities. Some turned off their engines, quietly seething behind their steering wheels. Exhaust belching Okadas tried in vain to wind their way through the confusion. Some drivers, unable to contain their exasperation, spilled out of their heated vehicles and surged towards the source of the gridlock. But then they already knew what the problem was – motorists had gotten wind of the arrival of a petrol tanker at a nearby filling station, the first to come in three days. So they had been left with no option but to clog up the streets in their search for scarce fuel. The acrid smell of petrol and burning rubber filled the air
Not too far from the gas station, near a record store with a monstrous speaker blaring afro beats- some Fela wannabe – a great babel of pedestrians poured in and out of the food market. There were trudging load carriers, groaning under the weight of bags of foodstuff, sweat washing down their bodies, their guttural voices telling people to get out of the way. There were cart pushers carrying piles of farm produce from the market; handicapped beggars on wheel-fastened boards, impostors feigning disability, and hospital reports, speaking of ridiculous afflictions; yellow skinned mendicants from Niger shuffling after their prospective benefactors, stubborn as leeches; truant school boys pooling away their pocket money at gambling points and barefoot hawkers, trays balanced on their heads with high-pitched voices calling out to prospective customers and hard, sun beaten faces. Theses ones milled about, hoping to benefit from the jam, dangling whatever they had to sell. There were traders with makeshift stalls lining the road, measuring out bowls of grains while their grimy tots lapping at their bone-dry breasts.
Read more HERE
Famished Road by Ben Okri
Famished Road, in my opinion, is one of the best novels to have come out of the Africa. The 1991 Booker winner is the story of Azaro, an abiku who is constantly coming and going between our world and the spirit-world thus returning to the world of the unborn months or years after birth. Azaro struggles against the collective wish of his spirit companions and stay on in the physical form, drawn by the wonders of the earth. He still maintains his connections with the spirit world and oscillates dangerously between the two worlds. His companions try to bring him back to their world. The language in this novel is incredibly rich, the imagery superb and the characters so memorable. I love the fact that the story brings to life the Yoruba mythical tradition in a distinctive brand of magical realism and captures the chaos, poverty and violence of post-colonial Nigeria
Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee
Another Booker Prize winning novel, Disgrace tells a story of Professor’s affair with a student and its repercussions. I was drawn by Coetzee’s skillful, highly economical writing style and fluid plot. A melancholic book, Disgrace is full of the moral complexities such as it is found in the real world.
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
This page-turner is about a young boy’s clandestine love affair with an older woman, and what happens to them both when the secrets in her past are revealed. The book is easy to read and deeply moving and I love its connection with the Holocaust.
1984 by George Orwell
George Orwell’s classic 1984 is a very descriptive novel. It conveys horrifying but important truths in a calm voice. It’s about the dangers of creating a utopian society. I totally love this book!
The Beautyful Ones are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah
I remember laughing all through! I was amused by the corruption, the poverty, the resilience of the human spirit. It’s the story of a nameless man who struggles to remain clean when everyone else around him has succumbed to ‘rot’. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
see link here
Monday, 18 June 2012
Samuel Kolawole, author of a collection of short stories The Book of M, writes about what it means to be a published writer. He was at GCLF for the first time in 2009; since then, it has been an annual pilgrimage for him. We will publish an excerpt of his work-in-progress next week.
Read the complete piece here
The goal of Short Story Day Africa is to celebrate African short fiction. Amongst other things, it seeks to highlight the outstanding short fiction Africa has to offer. My story “How fortune smile on Fortunatus” featured there. Enjoy!
Jungle Jim is proud to announce that our very own Constance Myburgh has been shortlisted for the prestigious CAINE PRIZE, Africa’s leading literary award, with JJ’s in-house detective, HUNTER EMMANUEL (Issue 6, 2011).
The news was announced today by Ben Okri, and the 5 shortlisted stories can be read on the Caine Prize’s website. And of course, accompanying Hunter Emmanuel are illustrations by Hannes Bernard!