Posted in Blog collaborations, Book Reviews 📖

A Tale of four books by female authors

Hiya!

This is the last Wednesday of the Women’s month and I decided to host the ever beautiful and Phenomenal Racheal Kizza who is the Project Coordinator at African Writer’s Trust to share some of the amazing Afro literature by powerful African Women which she has done so beautifully and I can’t wait to indulge in each of these books. She is a passion and lifestyle blogger and blogs at rachealkizza.com

At the start of this week, the Times Newspaper headlines describing the acting President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu, as a mother of four in the headline, sparked an outrage from the general African community at large asking whether she had no name and whether they described male leaders as fathers.

This emphasized the sad state of affairs with regard to the recognition of women achievements globally and to be precise, African women achievements.

Thus, hosting Racheal to expound on her favorite black female authors on the blog is no better way to celebrate the brilliance and commendable prose of the African feminine community on the literary scene.

I hope you do enjoy and indulge with the books in her review and I pray that we will be more appreciative and recognitive of the achievements of fellow Africans and specifically, female writers on the scene.

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In Daughters Who Walk This Path, Aunty Morenike tells Morayo, “some women collect shoes, I collect books’’ when she questions her new bookshelf crammed with new books.

I like Aunty Morenike have been collecting books more than anything lately. Books are my companions. I carry them wherever I go and I catch myself longing for them on dreary days but also sunny days. They are an all-season kind of companion.

Today I share with you some of my favourite novels that are on my to be read again list, to-own list, my children’s must-read list, hehehehe…. I could go on and on. It is safe to say that they are on my every list.

Daughters Who Walk this Path by Yejide Kilanko (2012)

Source : Google

Daughters Who Walk This Path is a coming of age novel by Yejide Kilanko. It explores the life of Morayo who is forced to harbour a shameful secret when she is sexually abused by a relative. The novel elegantly dissects three decades of her life after this traumatic experience, revealing the multi layered transformation she undergoes. Morayo`s baby sister Eniayo is born an albino and the blame is placed at the feet of Bisoye. The author shows the role of superstitions in African society. The myths people believe that encourage abuse and pain. In the case of Morayo`s mummy-Bisoye, she is told that because of her disobedience to her mother in law, bad luck visited her child.

“`During the pregnancy’’-she paused and turned to Mummy, catching her breath-“did you walk outside when the sun was up in the sky?’’

“Yes, Ma,’’ Mummy said quietly.

“Bisoye, did I not warn you that mischievous evil spirits walk about at noontime, looking for a body to occupy? Now, see what you have caused!’’ “Your disobedience has brought bad luck to this poor child and to our entire family.’’

Morayo struggles with guilt, pain, silence and emotional distress when she is repeatedly raped by the `relative’. She is scared to tell her mother who in the past has behaved riotously to simple queries about sex like most African mothers do. But she eventually informs her mummy and daddy who treat her like many African parents have done when their children report such cases. “Mummy was kneeling beside Daddy`s feet, tugging at his trousers, silently pleading for her nephew. In that moment, my anger towards Mummy reignited. She should have been worried about me! She should have been worried coming after me!

Aunty Morenike is the one person who understands what she is going through, having experienced the same fate herself. She admonishes her to come out of the shadows and live life again. Aunty Morenike is the guiding light to Morayo`s dark road. She holds her hand as she navigates the pain and shame of rape.

 “Aunty Morenike, Bros T… He raped me.’’ He did not just “touch me.’’ He did not just lift up my skirts. I said it again: “He raped me.’’ Aunty nobody understands how much it hurts.’’

She whispered the words in my hair. “Morayo, I do.’’

 The novel explores Aunty Morenike`s experience with rape by a close family friend and how her grandmother was her source of strength. She had thought her life was over because of that experience but the grandmother told her otherwise. “You, my dear child are no coward. What you`ve survived in this past year requires great courage.’’

She finds a sisterhood in the older and younger women of Omu. Kilanko proves that having a balanced circle of older and younger women is gainful for any woman. The wisdom they both bring to the table is second to none. The book also reinforces the fact that African traditions and family serve to uplift and guide.

Aunty Morenike armed with this wisdom, is the perfect ally for her niece. She becomes her safe haven, her light, confidant, constant friend. Morayo finds safety and healing and vows to break the oppressive web of silence for her children.

When Morayo has a baby of her own she promises her this, I promise that for you, there will be fewer secrets. I promise to talk about whatever causes you pain. I promise to listen even when I do not understand. I promise because you are worth it.’’

Yejide Kilanko through this beautiful book demonstrates the need and power for a safe space filled with women you can be vulnerable with as you go through life, women who have been where you are going and can walk with you through your process

Original post- https://rachealkizza.com/book-tales-august-edition/

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (2018)

Source: Google

The first book of a planned trilogy, the author weaves a tale of a world where people are suppressed for being different. Zélie, a heroine, attempts to restore magic to the kingdom of Orïsha, currently ruled by Kosidán. Kosidán brutally suppresses the magic practitioners that Zélie belongs to, the Maji.

The fear is real but so is courage for taking back what was stolen from the Maji. The book was an instant sensation in the US and now I understand why. The book harbours themes that have taken centre stage today; colourism, discrimination in all its forms, etc.

I enjoyed book one and I had to get book two immediately, Children of Virtue and Vengeance.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi (2019)

Source: Google

Children of Virtue and Vengeance is book two of the Tomi Adeyemi trilogy. It was overwhelming. Zélie and Amari succeed in restoring magic to the land of Orïsha, but something goes wrong with the spell! The enemy is now as powerful, and yet Zélie struggles to unite the Maji. Her problems are bigger than that; there is a looming civil war. Zélie finds herself in a dilemma. The tension is everywhere but the Maji must unite to win the civil war. Betrayal and love bloom in both camps. Will love conquer all things?

The ending of the book is one of the best cliff hangers I have experienced. The tension didn`t let up until I was on the last page. One of my favourite characters, Inan reminded me of Professor Snape from Harry Potter, right from book one (Harry Potter fans will understand this). The ending of the book had me in a moment of silence. I look forward to book three. 

In my view, both books (Children of Blood and Bone and Children of Virtue and Vengeance) revealed the state of affairs majorly in the US and the world. People have to fight for their freedom and when they almost have it, it’s taken away again. The war for freedom never ends.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 

Source: Google

Homegoing is a story about the lives of two sisters who are separated, one remains at the gold coast, the other is shipped off to America as a slave. Subsequent chapters track their lives and those of their descendants while revealing the sordid details of slave trade, the involvement of the African people and the White people.

This book brought to life my history class on the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and its effects on the people of Ghana. Back then, I never felt the weight of the trade on the natives. This book brought it to my doorstep. I was sad and angry at what the trade did to the people who stayed on the continent, those who were taken away and the children born out of the intermarriages between the White people and the Africans. They didn’t fully belong because they were neither white nor black-meaning they didn`t fully belong to either race.

The book is an evocative read packed with rich story and history but it was a difficult read too, packed with many characters. But if you have read Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, you will enjoy this book from Ghana. It is the Kintu of Ghana literally.


Posted in Poetry

POETRY REVIEW; No speaking Vernacular, Kagayi Ngobi; Don’t love me in English, Bridget Ankunda

Hiya!

Wasn’t sure whether to title this book review or poetry review but its all semantics. *smiles*

I’m super dupa excited that we were able to host a total of three guests reviewing their favorite Afrolit through out the black history month but as Uncle B said, black history ought to be celebrated every day. This was just to open up the plethora of literature that remarkable people our color have written, from across the continent and Globe. I do hope you are able to indulge.

As I conclude this series, one of the matters that kept resounding throughout this black history month to me was our traditional languages. I was super excited when I saw that Kitara Nation had a poetry series out on speaking vernacular.

If we communicate on a regular basis, you will notice that I prefer to have most of the communication with Luganda phrases here and there and most find this odd.

Growing up, I’d always been taught to believe that English was the language of the civilized and boy oh boy, how I wanted to be one of the civilized! I decided to embrace this, and it stuck. What made it easier for me was that my parents spoke to us in English and we never had to go to the village to interact with our grandparents, because well, they had already gone to be with the Lord.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve heard stereotypes about people who speak vernacular and how the Ugandan society perceives them. It’s such a hurtful sight. It is this very stereotype that made me realize that we have succumb to believing in the notion that everything related to our African traditions is archaic and so we have chosen to lean towards the safer and more acceptable option. Modernity with a culture that is polluted by profanity and immorality.

We forget that our identity will always be rooted in Africa.

Its no wonder that people who try so hard to imitate the western accent always throw in an ‘R’ where there’s supposed to be an ‘L’ and the reverse. This is evidence that within us, our true identity will never be shadowed by the façade we try to put up.

‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head, but if you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.’

Nelson Mandela

Less talk let’s get into the review.

But before we get into that, let’s not forget what Elnathan John told us in Becoming Nigerian.

Never, ever explain satire!

***

No Speaking Vernacular; A performance poem by Kagayi Ngobi

These poem seek to portray the miserable state of our education system, imposing punitive, demeaning and crude punishments to children for making the slightest utterances of vernacular. It’s a sad state of affairs I must say!

The irony is that the teachers themselves, do what is commonly referred to as direct translation of phrases from vernacular to English, but still emphasize that the students will become nothing without English.

You speak vernacular

You are a villager

You are a commoner

You are embarrassing

Civilization

Excerpt from Don’t Speak Vernacular, Kagayi Ngobi

Don’t Love me in English, Bridget Ankunda

This is a compilation of poems, centered around the theme of sexual harassment of girls around the streets of Kampala and in public taxis, pain and heartbreak, the essence of cultural oriented relationships and a tinge of Biblical prose.

I loved this because it put perspective to some of the pertinent issues in society that we tend to shy away from talking about. The shamelessness of men staring at girls, drooling with desire to the nitty gritties of the miserable state of affairs of the service delivery in our country.

You compared my smile

To a mid-summer rain

Me, who only knows about

  • Mud staining white clothes
  • Wind stealing iron sheets
  • Boda boda men tripling prices
  • Vendors sliding in black market mud
  • Susu from city trenches remixing oxygen
  • Kampala collectively struggling to think, breathe, to survive floods

How was I supposed to know?

The rain you meant was a dance

Of two lovers; droplets hitting skin

And skin saying thank you?

Kale if you had compared me to the last seat of

The last taxi

In the old park

At ten pm

On a cold Monday night,

I would’ve understood you.

Did you have to love me with a cliché?

Did you have to love me in English?

Excerpt from Don’t Love me in English, Bridget Ankunda

***

I’d love you all to get more in touch with your skin, your traditions, your Africanicity and love it. Don’t try so hard to portray and be who you are not.

In the words of Oscar Wilde; BE YOURSELF, EVERYONE ELSE IS ALREADY TAKEN!

Cheers and I wish you a happy new month!

Posted in Black History Month, Blog collaborations

Book Review; Jesse’s Jewel, Nick Twinamatsiko

Hiya!

The third guest on the blog reviewing her fave Afrolit book is the ever sweet and satirical, Mable Amuron. She is an amazing book reviewer as well and you definitely need to check out her blog at www.amuron.com. Follow her on her social media pages too @Mableamuron on Instagram, @mablees on Twitter and @MargaretAmuron.

Before I hand over the blog to her, here’s something small to ponder on.

If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition and becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world and it stands in danger of being exterminated.

Carter G. Woodson

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Book Review: Jesse’s Jewel

Author: Nick Twinamatsiko

Publisher: Pilgrim Publications.

Pages: 176

Synopsis: Condemned by the adults in the village as an eccentric child likely to grow into a lunatic, terrified 6-year old Jesse Yesiga learns, under the influence of 16 year old Helen that he isn’t eccentric, but unique and destined, not for lunacy, but a peculiar purpose. Helen, whom Jesse loves platonically but profoundly, soon dies amidst the siege of Mbarara Town by Museveni-led rebels. Later in life Jesse bases his choices in career and romance on societal conventions, and pursues them with the passion of a poet. But after he reaches every school boy’s dream girl, and enrols on every student’s dream course, the culminating disappointment revived the illuminations of his childhood. But can he find himself again?  And can he find a girl that can stir his affections the way Helen did? His flight from conventionality, inspired by a jewel bequeathed to him by his heroine, turns out to be perilous but worthwhile.

Review: The first question I’ll ask is, why is Nick Twinamatsiko not as well known!? This man is a genius. No, I’m not exaggerating, I don’t need to. This man is a serious, absolute genius.

This book, on its own, is one of the sweetest and cutest books I’ve ever read. No kidding.

I very much admire and envy his ability to shift the reader from one mood to the next. From elation to sadness. His descriptive powers are out of this world… From the way the book begins, with philosophical wondering on what memory really is and how it affects our lives right to the satisfactory ending.

The language in this book is not hard to understand and the simplicity in writing style makes it even better. The book is hilarious and has an introspective nature to it. The story is told with honesty that can be best described as innocent. I enjoyed how much he mixes the spiritual and reality.

From the outlandish characters to the ones we recognise in the pages. I’m not a child of the 80s, the era in which the book is set, but I recognised many of the characters in the book. The village gossip, the ‘prophet’, the teacher that loves his cane a little too much, nicknamed Mr. Bend.

The other wonderful surprise in this book was the beautiful poetry that was featured throughout the book. Each poem was inspired by an event happening to the protagonist.

In a world where we are made to admire a standard of life that is somewhat out of our reach, finding our true authentic selves is usually frowned upon. This may be because our true selves and what we are passionate about may be unsavoury to society and it’s standards.

Before I give away much of the book’s plot, again I ask, why is Nick Twinamatsiko not as well known? This is a page-turner.

 I think in my case, I’m way past the point of just being a fan. I’m a disciple.

Buy buy buy this book!

Posted in Black History Month, Blog collaborations

Book Review: These Bones Will Rise Again, Panashe Chigumadzi; Manchester Happened, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and My Sister the Serial Killer Oyinkan Braithwaite

Hiya!

Super excited to host this series of amazeballs Afrolit books that you can’t miss indulging in lieu of Black History month. Today’s guest is an amazing book reviewer that I met on Instagram. Her page is a hive of sensational literature which will get you remarkable recommendations on good reads.

You can follow her blog on www.kweeninpages.wordpress.com and her Instagram is a booksgram at https://instagram.com/kweeninpages .

Before I hand over the blog to her, I’d like to quote what Billy Chapata said about black history month in an interview he had recently about his breathtaking poetry;

A month isn’t enough to quantify the impact of Black history. Black history has to be celebrated every day because its not celebrated enough, appreciated enough or nearly understood enough. But what Black history month does allow for me to do is to breathe, step back and appreciate all the strong, resilient and beautiful people of color who have paved the way for me and many others before me. It allows me to reemphasise my blackness in spaces that want to shrink it. It allows me to remember who I am, my magic and to remember that it goes beyond the color of my skin.

Over to Maya now. Thank you for allowing to review your phenomenal recommendations on the Resolute Scribbles.

***

THESE BONES WILL RISE AGAIN by Panashe Chigumadzi is an essay reflection/ memoir that critically analyses Mugabe’s ousting “coup not coup” of November 2017. Panashe brings forth the pasts and presents that are omitted from history.

The power of storytelling is a an assignment left to the living for those that have passed on and it’s no surprise that the death of Panashe’s grandmother woke up a sense of duty to find answers to questions that weren’t being asked, stories unheard and lost memories of the big and small women in the history of state making.

The book holds themes like power, memory, chimurenga, colonialism, state/family history and the formidable presence of women who are forcibly silenced as is the norm. when I say I annotated a lot while reading it’s not an exaggeration because there was such wisdom in the authors writing and a lot of reflection to be made for a lot of African states and how politics is tailored to accommodate heroes and not heroines. This book is beautifully written and a brilliant educator everyone should read it to learn and be enriched. I am going to quite while I am ahead before I spoil your reading experience. I will however share some breath-taking lines from the book that will hopefully nudge you and show you how worthy a read it is.

“…history is like water it lives between us, and comes to us in waves…”

“… we are always living in the tension between water’s tranquillity and its tumult…”

“…oral tradition tells us, history lives in the mouth, and so we must draw on memory and myth to craft these alternative pasts, presents and futures.”

“A person is a person through other.”

 So, let us all take up our places in the art of being human and share knowledge and stories that would not have been told.

Happy reading

MANCHESTER HAPPENED by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a short story collection that accounts stories of Ugandans in the diaspora and their homecomings. The book carries themes like love, loss, betrayal, extended family and then some.

There is something to be said about how Makumbi just really knows how to weave a story and captivate her reader. She slowly unpacks the delicate subjects of her characters and their experiences. She truly knows how to make an awkward conversation readable and who knew dogs could talk?

I can not pick a single story from the 12 as a favourite because I loved every single one of them and appreciated the research she puts behind her work because the accuracy was uncanny. Better yet, I love that Makumbi came to the international stage centring her home audience unapologetically. Trust a Ugandan to find humour to usher you through calamity, distress and all, I was tickled in this book occasionally I read a story twice and out loud because I was not about to miss the hilarity of it all. Dear reader if you have not read anything by Makumbi yet please be kind to your self and start with this short story collection and it will launch you into her other writing.

Don’t be saying I never heard or I never understood…(read with Ugandan English)

Happy reading

MY SISTER THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite is I do not know what kind of genre set in Nigeria and I found it both gripping and mind blowing. The book carries themes like beauty, sisterhood, social media, and love.

Two sisters one does the serial killing and the other does the cleaning up and the short punchy chapters just adventure through the dynamics of this relationship. Braihwaite, really does not wait for her readers to get distracted with character details, she quickly gets to the point which makes for a fast-paced read.

The authors poetic background does shine through her writing of the blog within the book, her words were very active which I found well done. And at the end if this I was convinced of the statement,

“blood is thicker than water”

The above has terms and conditions though so I’m not holding back on extraordinary circumstances (insert cheeky smile here)

If your looking for a change of pace and something new and haven’t already read it.

Happy reading.

If you do choose to read any of these books please let me know what you thought, because I can disclose that I have really held back on writing my thoughts away. And I love a good book chat honesty I could do book talking all day every day (insert song Monday paka Sunday).

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Cheers!

Posted in Black History Month, Blog collaborations

Fiction History and African Literature

Hi there!

Good to have you back for another read on here.

So, I’ve always wanted to do something like this on my blog when I started Reviewing various books for you to read and I’m glad I chose to do this during the Black history month. Well, everyday should be a space to celebrate the beauty and chaos that Africa is but these next two weeks on the blog, I’ll be hosting renown bloggers to review some of their favorite AFROLIT so that we get to know and celebrate African writers.

For so long, we have been taught to believe and have the perception that African writers don’t write as well as the rest, but we’re here to show the wealth of knowledge, creativity, ingeniousness and wit that flows so effortlessly within the African blood. That’s a trait that can’t be taken from us. Our prose.

The first guest is Uncle B from Zimbabwe and I’m honestly honored to have him on the blog to review some of his favorite African Literature. He went all out to recommend amazing reads for you all so please do feel free to indulge with the literature as well as on his blog.

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February is Black History Month (even though on this continent its black history month every day of the year as we embrace our roots) February is also the month of love (again even if you don’t have to wait for one day of the year to show someone you appreciate them)

In honour of the two I am going to share about my love affair with three books that unconventionally celebrate black history in the sense that they are fictionalized recollection of African History. If our history text books read like this, I bet I would have loved history class back in High School….

To quote the Aaron Brady From introduction of Kintu:

…History as it’s written down in books is one thing, but history as it’s lived is another.

how the past recedes into the background as we race irrevocably forward….

Kintu

Kintu is a novel by Jennifer Makumbi. Kintu is a story of Uganda and ultimately Africa, how the past has shaped what the present becomes following generations of Kintu’s bloodlines.

This multi-character tome sweeps across bloodlines following descendants of Kintu’s kin from the precolonial times to modern, giving a panoramic view of Ugandan history, culture and tradition. While the book is unashamedly Ugandan, it is very relatable to any country in Africa as we have travelled unerringly similar paths to get where we are.

review of  Kintu on BecomingTheMuse.net

The Old Drift

The Old Drift is a novelby Namwali Serpell and this gives a narrative of Zambia’s history and partly Zimbabwe with which it once shared the name Rhodesia and still shares the Kariba Dam and the Victoria Falls whose story is pivotal to how the plot plays out.

Once again this is a multi-character multi-generational story which not only spans continents it sweeps across time and genre, part history, part romance, part fantasy even part science fiction.

The blending of reality and make believe is so seamless that I am still down the rabbit hole of checking what really transpired and what did not and it has made me appreciate our history even personifying some moments which upto now have been footnotes in barely read history textbooks.

Review of The Old Drift on BecomingTheMuse.net

House Of Stone

House of Stone is a a novel by Novuyo Tshuma with a story whose backdrop is set in the Zimbabwean history, the struggle for independence and and the mostly untold, unwritten, unspoken and barely confessed about Gukurahundi Massacre.

Listening to the author comment on writing the book, they mentioned how difficult it was to research and get insights on this unfortunate period of Zimbabwean history as there is an unacknowledged trauma which people cant move on from something they cant talk about.

The story unfolds though one unreliable character who makes it possible for us to be a part of His story while being apart from the history yet witnessing the making of hi-story as the main character likes to call history.

And perhaps that just what history is the stories we tell about our past, real and imagined recollections of how things became the way they are ….

Review of House of Stone on BecomingTheMuse.net

Guest post on black history month and African literature by Beaton aka Uncle who writes about the beauty and chaos of the place he calls home on Becoming The Muse

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Please feel free to follow his blog and indulge in his musings.

Cheers.

Posted in Black History Month, Book Reviews 📖

BOOK REVIEW: At What Age Does My Body Belong To Me? Amanda Tayte-Tait.

Hiya!

Always a pleasure having you on here to read a few of my random thoughts and book recommendations to you.

This review has been a long time coming because I had the chance to read a pre-release copy from the author and to be honest, her words dug so deep that I found it hard to even try and regurgitate them to settle down on a review.

Amanda Tayte is a Zimbabwean author, blogger, TV Producer and tech-preneur who is dedicated to using media and tech to change lives. This is excitingly her first book release and I honestly can’t wait to read more of her. You can definitely follow her site on amandataytetait.com to see her other releases when they finally come out.   

***

‘The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations which we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep withing each of us, and which knows only the oppressor’s tactics and the oppressor’s relationships.’

Audrey Lorde.

Amanda quotes this in her first chapter, after her failed attempt at suicide.

Amanda was a victim of sexual and gender-based violence and throughout her book, she puts out hard questions to her family, society and relationships which expose the core and deep-rooted stereotypes that still surround sexual violence and the victims.

I can’t even begin to say that I comprehend what the victims go through because it is easy to be in the observer’s shoes and look from afar, directing what should and should not be done for their healing to suffice. It’s so easy to be quick to say that there is need to cover it up to protect the reputation of the oppressor and give no real justice to the victim. It’s easy to expect the victim to move past it after a few prayer sessions and visits to therapy.

But one thing that Amanda’s book has made visible is that the trauma never really leaves. Years down the road, therapy sessions and counselling efforts, the trauma never really leaves and different sights, smells, settings and even conversations, can trigger the victims.

Her courage in speaking out and just laying bare her struggles and experiences was extraordinary. Not even I would have the strength to re-live the moments of oppression as I scribbled down words to have my story heard. But she did it anyway.

I remember after reading the first 4 chapters of the book, I texted her and just had a strong desire to give her a big hug and to let her know that she will not have to go through this alone, again.

The sole essence for her book is to encourage victims to speak out and have others hold their hands. For so long, the silence around this sort of violations has protected numerous oppressors and diverted the attention of society to looking at the victim’s role in causing her molestation, which is absurd.

Victim-blaming has to stop because at the end of the day, we all have a choice to make and choosing to molest the body of another because of the lack of self-control or entitlement that one feels, is not justifiable AT ALL!

As I said before, it is not my place to re-tell Amanda’s story but to let you know, my dear reader, that this is a book you definitely do not want to pass you by this year. You can literally see, feel and experience her pain through her words and we need to have these tough conversations regarding such violations and what we can do as a community to protect the mental, physical, emotional and psychological health of these victims.

Please do head to her site and get yourself a copy of the book on amazon.

Let’s support an African author and her story.

***

PS: Resolute scribbles made 5 years last week! It has been an incredible 5 years of having to get out of my head and share a few intentional perks on life in general and I’ve loved every second of it.  

In light of black history month that is celebrated this month between 1st February-1st March, I’ll be hosting a number of amazing bloggers to give reviews on different African literature that they have read and enjoyed over time and this is to just celebrate black authors and the beauty of our African history and nature.

Can’t wait to have this place buzzing.  

Cheers and thank you for passing by.   

Posted in Book Reviews 📖

BOOK REVIEW: BE (COM) ING NIGERIAN A GUIDE: Elnathan John.

‘In the beginning, the British created the Northern and Southern protectorates. Now, the Nation was formless and empty, and darkness covered our collective identity. The British said “Let there be Nigeria,” and there was Nigeria.’

BE (COM) ING NIGERIAN A GUIDE: Elnathan John.

****  

The first time I read a book and laughed my heart out as I turned through the pages and the chapters was when I was reading Trevor Noah’s, rather sad but humorous narration of how he was Born a crime. I did not know that authors could actually make their readers laugh through their words. Of course, I’d read books where the author throws in a joke or two, but Trevor just had a way with his words that you couldn’t help but laugh as you read his somewhat sad story.

This is the second book I have read, that despite feeling attacked, I couldn’t help myself but laugh throughout the pages.       

It is a satirical piece about the state of affairs in Nigeria, but pretty much, Elnathan’s writing depicts the state of affairs in a number, if not all African countries.    

John dedicates this book to ‘all who feel personally attacked or offended by something in this book’. And he warns us to never, ever explain satire.

I’m slowly learning how to review books so that I don’t spill all the spoilers that won’t intrigue you to find and read the book by yourself but if you’re interested in the general state of affairs of your country and to understand how much of a joke our politicians have made of the system and of their followers, then this book is for you!

Using a lot of pun, John relays the sad situation of the law and enforcement sector, the politicking that happens, the working class, the spiritual and international relations to mention but a few. The mockery we make of the God we serve by dedicating all the bad and good actions to His name and the complacency in lying to the masses, is one of the masteries that our politicians have.

‘The Nigeria god loves elections and politics. After you have bribed people to get the party nomination, used thugs to steal and stuff ballot boxes, intimidated people into either sitting at home or voting for you, it is important to declare that your success is the will of the almighty god.’

John’s writing on the aspect of politicking, hypocrisy and the poor state of affairs with regard to the aspect of democracy and the games that politicians play on us was an utter depiction of the state of affairs in Uganda concerning the election violence and the utter desecration of whatever truth, beliefs and faith we had in the democratic system and the law at large.

In short, I know you will love this book.

It brings out the weaknesses in the human nature and the pretense we have to go through every day. Please read it and let’s talk.   

PS: SO to Mable Amuron who blogs at amuron.com for recommending and sharing the book. The review has been a long time coming.   

Cheers.

Posted in Of new beginnings.

Idealism Versus Realism amidst changing expectations: An end to 2020!

“Expectations are like fine pottery. The harder you hold them, the more likely they are to crack”.
Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings.


Hiya!


Always thrilling to share a few of my countless thoughts on here with you and I’m glad you constantly make time to pass by and read. I certainly don’t take it for granted and appreciate you.
At the start of this year, I remember sharing with you in my August blog, that I had an odd uneasiness that I couldn’t quite decipher.


2020 was the year that I had so much at stake: a moot court competition to win by the end of February, DC to visit in April, graduation to celebrate by June, probably a proposal in July wink, joining the Bar in September and commencing my Masters applications by October. Yes, I had everything planned out with the timelines set, because what could go wrong? Year in and out, I was confident of the set dates and times for which particular things would happen.


The concept of idealism or utopianism as it is referred to, is the school of thought that believes in perfection or the essential nature of reality lying in the consciousness or in reason. Simply put, idealists usually live in the state of knowing that things ought to be in accordance to their beliefs and projection of things.


Realism on the other hand, subscribes to the practice of accepting the situation as it is and being prepared to deal with it accordingly.


I decided to write about this in particular because the year 2020 came with a numeral shocks to all of us with the abrupt breakdown of the social and economic structure as a result of the lockdowns, loss of loved ones, closure of schools and distortion of ‘life as we knew it.’


Being an idealist, this came as an enormous shock to my belief system because it meant that everything I’d set out to achieve and accomplish this year was rumpled and distorted. Moving past that took a whole load of guts and courage. Embracing oblivion to be exact. That’s the reality of the world we live in.


King Solomon in Proverbs wrote that a man may make his plans but God has the final say. He knew that as mortals, the idealism that drives us to make and live out our plans would blur us from the greater picture of what God has in store for us.


One thing that this year has taught me is to be in touch with the present. The now. Not worry and fret over things that I have no control over but enjoy the sunrise today and the breeze of the trees as the light rain blows by my window.


These seemingly trivial moments that the soul captures are what made us ignore the fact that our bodies need time to recuperate and commune with nature, away from the busy and work-filled schedule.


Each day comes with its own different expectations. For some, it is to wake up, have a hot bath and cup of tea, kiss the kids goodbye, go to work and come back home in the evening. This is what ought to happen in an ideal/ utopian world. For another, the expectation could be to have at least one meal a day or just make it to the next day, alive. Yet in fact, the universe has other plans and prospects for each of us. I might kiss my kids goodbye in the morning expecting to see them in the evening, but get into a terrible accident and pass on.


All I’m trying to say is that, as we get into the New Year, as we make the different resolutions, let’s not forget that what is ideal for you might not be what the universe will realistically offer you. Besides, remember that every day comes with its own different expectations. Failed expectations breed bitterness which ultimately results into inefficiency.


Is that how you’d want you 2021 to be?
My two cents are that; we should all enter this year without expectations. Paul in Romans encourages us to have hope as an anchor to the soul, firm and secure. Idealism is great if we have the belief that God’s will be done in our lives. Realism can be a sham because our God works in mysterious ways. He definitely can change the statistics to be in your favour. It’s a hard but very necessary balance to strike.


My prayer is that this New Year will be your oyster. Allow God to write your beautify story each and every day as a new chapter. Don’t be limited by the changing expectations of this age or the varying ideals and realism.
I wish you all an amazing 2021 and I hope that you’ll live in the present. Let the light shine your path and let your aura be felt by the universe.


Cheers.

Posted in The Law✍🏾

International Human Rights Day; an Oxymoron!

It is with great happiness and deep appreciation that we celebrate this day every year. (Satire intended) Cheers to the United Nations for setting aside this day to emphasise the need to respect the rights that are inherent and for which each human being ought to be guaranteed.

‘If I fight for the human rights of random individuals or of enemies of the Lord but do not have loyalty to the benevolent dictator, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.’

Satirical excerpt from Becoming Nigeria by Elnathan John

***

I must say that since November 25th, with the celebration of the International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women that sparked off the 16 days of activism; continuing the conversation on ending sexual and gender based violence across the globe, a lot has been said in webinars and newspaper articles, but the real question is, have the responsible persons listened?

Every year, we celebrate days and embark on campaigns time and again, but the transformation is trivial. We sing about human rights violations and the need to put stringent measures for the respect of the same, but year in and out, we witness the same violations and the same celebrations happening. What an oxymoron!

Before I made the decision to join Law school, I was an idealist. As I shared in a guest post I had a while back about the dreams of Law school versus their reality, I had a dream to change the world. A dream to ensure that the rights of all persons are respected as guaranteed under the Law and that the perpetrators would be apprehended for the human rights violations. Little did I know, that my little world of idealism and a perfect judicial system would be crumpled the second I signed up to study the Law.

Over time, the realist school of thought has hit so hard, and now that I’m done with my undergraduate, I keep asking myself whether these battles can be fought without a whole army.

The dream to make an alteration in a system that has been so deep-rooted over the decades, needs a whole load of guts to step out and break. It took Nelson Mandela over 30 years of his lifetime to fight for the liberation of South Africa, it took Gandhi most of his lifetime to liberate India from British rule and it will take added insurmountable energies to break the system of human rights violations in African countries and to speak out on the same.

A futuristic image of myself amongst these great men!

See, when the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights was drafted in 1948, I’m sure the drafters objectives were to protect the freedom of existence of every human being and to protect their rights to access food, an education, right to vote and the right to basically have the bare minimum for a meaningful living and stay here on this planet, to be guaranteed by their governments and various state actors.

We have beautifully coloured and crafted Laws, Conventions and policies that lay out the various rights that each person is entitled to both nationally and on at the International level. The sad part is that they’re all written and not in practical. The idealist school of thought would believe that the mere existence of these Laws, would guarantee that each individual enjoys their right and the violation of which would lead to repercussions. And as the positivists believe that the violation of the Law always has consequences; a command backed by a sanction they say. But then again, that’s not the utopian state we live in. Not all people that violate the Law are punished.

The realism school of thought however proves that what is on ground is never what is reflected on those sheets of paper.

How many times has the state violated our freedom of speech through restrictions or communication breakdown? How many times have we been denied the right to freely vote and exercise democracy? How many times have we been pushed to the corner despite the fact that we were within our legal precincts?

I can’t put a finger to those number of times.

As we celebrate Human Rights Day, we need to have an assessment of whether as citizens of our different countries, our rights are being respected or trampled upon.

Do we even know what our rights are?

Have there been steps taken to enlighten you about your rights and are they being respected?

This is a call to all the stake holders concerned to not only live out the promises that were made in the preamble to the 1995 Constitution of Uganda, but to also respect the rights that the drafters of the Constitution as well as the signers of the International Conventions, saw as befitting for the wellbeing of their citizens to have a full and complete life.

It is not rocket science for us to arrive at an utopian state. We just have to definitely be the change we want to see.

Happy International Human rights day!    

Posted in Book Reviews 📖

BOOK REVIEW: FIRST WOMAN/ A GIRL IS A BODY OF WATER.

Hiya!

Always a pleasure to scribble a few things on here.

This review has been a long time coming but I’m glad that I’ve finally gotten round to doing it. I knew I had to do it around this time because of the 16 days of activism against Sexual and Gender Based Violence due to some of the recurring themes that Makumbi points out in her book especially regarding the myths surrounding very necessary conversations about empowerment, knowledge and access to information and education of the girl child.

Makumbi as always, has a way with words that gets you totally engrossed. Her prose and contextual application of her writings always makes me feel that more Ugandan literature needs to be explored. There’s so much unwritten and undocumented knowledge in our cultures and customs and in the minds of our ancestors that if not explored, will definitely be extinct by the next generation.

First Woman was published and released in September 2020 and has had remarkable reviews already. I couldn’t wait to have our own review on Resolute Scribbles.  

If you’re looking for raw, unfiltered conversation about culture, African Traditional Society and the life of a girl growing up in a highly masculine setting and trying to break the odds, this is your book.

****

‘Stories are critical Kirabo. The minute we fall silent, someone else will fill the silence for us.’

Nsuuta, one of the major characters in the book points this out to her ‘would be’ granddaughter, Kirabo.

Kirabo is the protagonists in this book and the setting predates to as far back as 1940, with the narration of her grandmothers life. Hers begins about 1975. Growing up as a raw, unrestrained and curious girl, Kirabo sets out on a quest to discover what it means to be an educated, independent and emancipated woman in a heavily patriarchal culture. As you can imagine, the road isn’t as smooth as she thought it would be.                                  

Makumbi’s narration of life in Nateeta, Bugerere and all the childhood discoveries and the love that Kirabo is surrounded with, depicts the actual Ugandan setting and the struggles that culture sometimes breathes into the children and the community. Makumbi’s vivid narration of the fear that was attached to living in the days of Amin and the repulsions that children had to go through, coupled with Kirabo’s strength and resilience was remarkable.   

Throughout the book, the narration of love and the sourness that cripples through over the years was relayed in the relationship between Sio and Kirabo as well as Nsuuta and Muka Miiro (Kirabo’s grandma). I love that Makumbi portrayed that love always wins in the end. The bitterness and the scars that are created with time, can’t mask under pain and hatred for long. In the end, love prevails.

The recurring theme of loss helped me process the fact that we can’t always seek to have our identity in things, people, communities, settings and environment. Kirabo, from the onset of her story, is shown to be in deep loss of having never met her mother and she spends the most part of the book looking for her mother, one who entirely wanted nothing to do with her, and it caused her nothing but pain, resentment, glumness and finally, rejection.  

Loss is a phase in life that we can’t get away from and sad as it may be, it happens when we’re definitely not ready to face it. Having the courage to face the giant and addressing the pain is very necessary to move past these situations. Covering it up and masking it will only pile up into unresolved bitterness and dejection, the same feelings that Kirabo struggled with for the most part of her growing up.  

Over and above, this book’s setting and historical context narrating the myths and stories that our fore fathers created concerning ownership of land by women in our different cultures, their gender roles and misconceptions of education and women, just went a long way in showing that there is still a lot of advocacy work that needs to be done concerning breaking the negative aspects of culture that we ought to do away with.

Regarding the seven days of activism against SGBV, I thought Makumbi’s triggering of this conversation was necessary to understand the deep rootedness of gender socialisation and the heavy dependency that women have on the male gender. In my opinion, there is need to empower the women who are stuck in these norms and are afraid to speak out against violations because they figure that their lives would come to a standstill once they do. In the various field visits and data collection processes that the organisation I work with carries out in multiple districts around Uganda, we find that most of the girls in rural areas are assaulted and forced to marry the perpetrators of their assault because their parents are paid off or they are persuaded to believe that these men did what they did out of love.

It’s on this basis that I believe these 16 days of activism has to address the myths surrounding gender socialisation and the need to ensure that women know they have the right to be protected through the justice system and by the police, from all these violations against them. But the community and society has a big role to play on this by having frequent conversation about the effects of these and the need to ensure the empowerment of these women.

In the last chapter, with the loss of her father, Kirabo realises that the women in her family, inclusive of her father’s wife, circled their lives around him and she actually states that they had made him a demi-god of sorts. She comprehended that the men in her culture were the cause of division amongst women. It was not the men’s fault per se, but it was the elevation that the women gave to the men that caused all this division amongst them. It’s no wonder that in the fourth part of the book; ‘I know why caged birds peck each other’ Makumbi explicitly narrates an engaging conversation of the characters on this very subject.

It shed more light on the deep rooted feud that most women face in the elevation of men in their relationships. The major take home from this is to ensure that as women, we ought not to find our identity in men and any other conceivable things, but in Christ alone. Because these earthly things fade away and the attention and satisfaction we crave from human beings can only be fulfilled by Christ alone.

*****

I’d say this was such a good read and it’s taken me over a month to conceptualize exactly what I’d review. But as I said, if you’re looking for raw and unfiltered conversations on things that affect women and especially young girls growing up in a rural setting, this book is for you.

I hope to get feedback from those who’ve read this marvellous book.

Cheers.