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Editor: Gordon Collier
Besides searching book reviews, an interview with the writer Tijan M. Sallah, a full report on the 6th Ethiopian International Film Festival, and a stimulating selection of creative writing (including a showcase of recent South African poetry), this issue of Matatu offers general essays on African women’s poetry, anglophone Cameroonian literature, and Zimbabwean fiction of the Gukurahundi period, along with studies of J.M. Coetzee, Kalpana Lalji, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Aminata Sow Fall, Wole Soyinka, and Yvonne Vera.
The bulk of this issue, however, is given over to coverage of cultural and sociological topics from North Africa to the Cape, ranging from cultural identity in contemporary North Africa, two contributions on Kenyan naming ceremonies and initiation songs, and three studies of the function of Shona and Ndebele proverbs, to national history in Zimbabwean autobiography, traditional mourning dress of the Akans of Ghana, and the precolonial origins of traditional leadership in South Africa. Contributors: Jude Aigbe Agho, Nasima Ali, Uchenna Bethrand Anih, Aboneh Ashagrie, Francis T. Cheo, Gordon Collier, Abdel Karim Daragmeh, Geoffrey V. Davis, Nozizwe Dhlamini, Kola Eke, Phyllis Forster, Frances Hardie, James Hlongwana, Pede Hollist, John M. Kobia, Samuelson Freddie Khunou, Mea Lashbrooke, María J. López, Brian Macaskill, Evans Mandova, Richard Sgadreck Maposa, Michael Mazuru, Corwin L. Mhlahlo. Zanoxolo Mnqobi Mkhize, Kobus Moolman, Thamsanqa Moyo, Felix M. Muchomba, Collins Kenga Mumbo, Tabitha Wanja Mwangi, Bhekezakhe Ncube, Christopher Joseph Odhiambo, Ode S. Ogede, H. Oby Okolocha, Wumi Raji, Dosia Reichhardt, Rashi Rohatgi, Kamal Salhi, Ekremah Shehab, Faith Sibanda, John A Stotesbury, Nick Mdika Tembo, Kenneth Usongo, Wellington Wasosa.
Literature and Culture
Series:  Matatu, Volume: 40
Editor: Gordon Collier
This issue of Matatu offers cutting-edge studies of contemporary Nigerian literature, a selection of short fiction and poetry, and a range of essays on various themes of political, artistic, socio-linguistic, and sociological interest. Contributions on theatre focus on the fool as dramatic character and on the feminist theatre of exclusion (Tracie Uto-Ezeajugh). Several essays examine the poetry of Hope Eghagha and the Delta writer Tanure Ojaide. Studies of the prose fiction of Chinua Achebe, Tayo Olafioye, Uwem Akpan, and Chimamanda Adichie are complemented by a searching exposé of the exploitation of Ayi Kwei Armah on the part of the metropolitan publishing world and by a recent interview with the poet Jumoko Verissimo. Traditional culture is considered in articles on historical sites in Ile-Ife, witchcraft in Etsako warfare, and the Awonmili women’s collective in Awka. Linguistically oriented studies consider political speeches, drug advertising, and Yoruba anthroponyms. Performance-focused essays focus on Emirate court spectacle (durbar), Yoruba drum poetry in contemporary media, gospel music, indigenization and islamization of military music, and the role of the filmmaker. Contributions of broader relevance deal with Islamic components of Nigerian culture, the decline of the educational system, and the socio-economic impact of acquisitive culture.
Culture, Society, Literature, and Art: Occasional Prose 1957-1974
Volume Editor: Gordon Collier
During the same period in which Derek Walcott was pouring immense physical, emotional, and logistical resources into the foundation of a viable first-rate West Indian theatre company and continuing to write his inimitable poetry, he was also busy writing newspaper reviews, chiefly for the Trinidad Guardian. His prodigious reviewing activity extended far beyond those areas with which one might most readily associate his interests and convictions. As Gordon Rohlehr once presciently observed, “If one wants to see a quotidian workaday Walcott, one should go back to [his] well over five hundred articles, essays and reviews on painting, cinema, calypso, carnival, drama and literature,” articles which “reveal a rich, various, witty and scrupulous intelligence in which generous humour counterpoints acerbity.” These articles capture the vitality of Caribbean culture and shed additional light on the aesthetic preoccupations expressed in Walcott’s essays published in journals. The editors have examined the corpus of Walcott’s journalistic activity from its beginnings in 1950 to its peak in the early 1970s, and have made a generous selection of material from the Guardian, along with occasional pieces from such sources as Public Opinion (Kingston) and The Voice of St. Lucia (Castries). The articles in Volume 1 are organized as follows: Caribbean society, culture, and the arts generally; literature and society; periodicals; anglophone poetry, prose fiction, and non-fiction; African and other literatures; and the visual arts (Caribbean and beyond). The volume closes with a selection of Walcott’s mis-cellaneous satirical essays. The volume editor Gordon Collier has written a searching introductory essay on a central theme – here, a critical, comparative analysis of Walcott’s development as journalist against the historical background of press activity in the Caribbean, coupled with an illustrative discussion (drawing on Walcott’s newspaper articles) of his attitudes towards prose fiction and poetry.
Editor: Gordon Collier
The notion of ‘landlines’ intimates communication, and is a fairly safe bet as far as most of the writing offered here, critical and creative, is concerned. In a way, of course, the metaphor is a rearguard action, and blows up in one’s face, as it were, suggesting as it does a system of telephonic communication that is no longer typical of Africa, which is at the forefront of cellphone culture. On the more positive side, it is hoped that ‘landlines’ evoke traditional values, permitting the endorsement of communicative standards that are higher than those fostered by the ‘etherial’ chaos of cyberspace.
The essays included are overwhelmingly concerned with Nigeria (productive power-house of the continent), covering such writers as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Vincent Egbuson, Buchi Emecheta, D.O. Fágúnwà, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Femi Osofisan (two articles), Wole Soyinka, and Ahmed Yerima. The Nigerian novel (four articles) is roughly matched by studies of Nigerian dramatists (five articles). Also offered are three essays on fiction from outside Nigeria, by Alexander McCall Smith (Botswana), J.M. Coetzee (South Africa), and Marie NDiaye (France), and a treatment of the poetry of Jack Mapanje (Malawi). A further, wide-ranging essay, on cityscapes, discusses novels from Cameroon, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, and Kenya, as well as paintings from Equatorial Guinea and public placarding in Accra. Social awareness, a firm sense of history and traditional culture, the contemporary challenges of gender and identity-politics, and the perennial theme of endemic corruption are themes that underpin all of the contributions to Matatu 47.
Matatu has traditionally fostered the publication of creative writing, and the present issue is no exception, featuring as it does poetry from Trinidad, a play from Nigeria, and short stories from Burundi, Ghana, and Nigeria. The volume closes with in-depth reviews of books on Yorùbá proverbs, Chinua Achebe, and transnational literature.

Contributors are: E.B. Adeleke, Tony E. Afejuku, Sophia Akhuemokhan, Niyi Akingbe, Sunday Victor Akwu, Félix Ayoh’Omidire, Dele Bamidele, Gilbert Braspenning, Clare Counihan, Jane Duran, Summer Edward, Pelumi Folajimi, Fausat M. Ibrahim, Isaiah U. Ilo, Ayodele S. Jegede, Mahrukh Khan, Adele King, Adebayo Mosobalaje, Dorothy Odartey–Wellington, H. Oby Okolocha, Harry Olufunwa, Owojecho Omoha, Wumi Raji, Marie–Thérèse Toyi, Flora A. Trebi–Ollennu, Kenneth Usongo, and Lendzemo Constantine Yuka.


Style, Discourse and Narrative Structure in the Fiction of Patrick White
Author: Gordon Collier
Translation, Transcription and Identity in Post-Colonial Literary Cultures
Editor: Gordon Collier
Western Genres in African Literature
Series:  Matatu, Volume: 39
Editor: Gordon Collier
The coverage displayed here is predominantly on sub-Saharan literary production, and with a – perhaps systemic – focus on important aspects of political history and socio-political structures (including marxian analyses of the ‘public sphere’) and such crucial arenas as religious discipline, the tension between tradition and modernity, ecological awareness, family, and gender.
Most of the discussions are traditionally content-oriented, but there are at least two essays (on Soyinka’s Aké and on Amma Darko’s The Housemaid) that attempt to come to grips narratologically with the medium of prose fiction itself. A quartet of essays with a more general purview – including a refreshing demontage of exclusive obeisance to (Western) écriture – is followed by a section on poets, some canonical, others emergent: Ogaga Ifowodo, Jack Mapanje, Olu Oguibe, Tanure Ojaide, Okot p’Bitek, Wole Soyinka, Ladé Wosornu. Essays on fiction cover general topics (women’s fiction; political writing in Nigeria; the nightmare of Biafra), and landmark texts both anglophone (Chinua Achebe, Amma Darko, Festus Iyayi, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Wole Soyinka), francophone (Mariama Bâ, Mongo Beti, and Ousmane Sembène), and – a novum for Matatu – hispanophone (Donato Ndongo). The theatre section has essays on Ama Ata Aidoo, Zakes Mda, Anne Tanyi–Tang, Soyinka, and Ahmed Yerima, as well as Ngũgĩ and Mugo.
We are especially pleased to be able to offer accomplished original poetry, short stories, and a complete drama text. Four comprehensive essay-reviews (on literary criticism, cinema, graphic art, and traditional African society) round out this issue.
In: Matatu
In: Matatu
In: Matatu