Saturday, 1 September 2018

JUJU. By Dillibe Onyeama

I first read this book as a young man and I thought it was a fantastic, African thriller still largely rooted in traditional life, customs etc – and I still feel this is an excellent work.

In this book, we are introduced into the world of “juju” (widely if crudely often interpreted as ‘black magic’) At the end, all the superstition, strange goings-on are explained. But make no mistake about it – the whole plot, ambience is permeated by juju (voodoo), including a frightening infestation of ants and termites.

Yet contrasted with the world of ‘evil juju’ here – is also symbolism of good, but this ‘good’ is also suffused with esoteric knowledge, clairvoyance, telepathy etc. The pertinent old “Pa” man here comes across as a very good sagacious man who overstretches himself whilst helping the beleaguered young ones. 

We see village life delineated, and encroachments on the city too…and as this work tapers to an end we are stunningly struck with the selfless sacrifice of the all-knowing Pa ...this after he has explained all the weird ‘juju’ goings on.

As I said earlier, I initially read this book as a young man and was pleasantly surprised to realize that the author was a young man when he wrote this fine novel. Here he displays uncanny maturity, wisdom, intelligence with a bewildering twist or even a double twist at the very end
-          K. Awoniyi


  1. Interesting. Interesting. I wonder whether in his youth Dillibe was rather influenced by Lobsang Rampa? Just a thought...

  2. The other day one was reading about the commendable longevity of the Kenyan writer, David Maillu. Similarly, Dillibe Onyeama deserves such great praise in this wise too. He began publishing internationally renowned works at around 21 - just after leaving Eton College, I believe. Then astonishingly as the decades unfolded he has published lots of fiction, biographies and autobiographies. He has also published works of sundry quotations, wit, wise saws and the like. Onyeama's vision is eclectic, though he is still very much an African. Ink has always run in his blood, as works like this show. His characters always come to life, and I don't think he can be accused of such subjective things like 'being episodic' , 'shallow ' etc - phrases which so-called critics resort to whilst unnecessarily trying to undermine fine works