Edited by Ishmael Mzwandile Soqaga
I have reviewed work of Mr Soqaga before: this one I'd have stated definitely to be his best...but since there is now a sequel (Further Glimpses into African literature) I'd sheathe my sword a bit. But this book is rather impressive.
There is a fine Introduction to this work by Soqaga himself, which is heart-felt and moving. Inter alia, he writes "I have been a Pan-Africanist for years, hence my vision is not confined only to my own country, SA. I love reading about authors from all over our continent, and writing about them... "
The reviews here, re African authors, books date back to work that came out many many decades ago. How many modern readers in our continent know about Amos Tutuola and Peter Abrahams for example? In this work we can see that Abrahams ' early books were published not far from a century ago! Eg Dark Testament (1942) Song of the City (1945) and Path of Thunder (1948). As for Tutuola, his works include The Palm Wine Drinkerd (1952), My life in the Bush of ghosts (1954)
Here, we read essays not only on the likes of Tutuola and Abrahams; but also Okot p'bitek, Ola Rotimi, Flaxman Qoopane, Njabulo Ndebele, Asare Konadu, Pule Lebuso, and Grace Ogot.
Ogot is - was - a great East African female writer. In this work, we also get to read about another formidable African lady writer, this time from North Africa - Algeria's Assia Djebar.
I also found the short essay on Mbella Sonne Dipoko, the "erotic writer" (now late) to be very interesting. Apparently, this legendary writer from Cameroon was "a very good novelist and poet ".
All in all, this is an excellent small book that not only whets the literary appetite, but us unbelievably informative. It's wonderful that the book now has a sequel.
- Review by Leke Giwa