Landlines in African Literary Studies
edited by Gordon Collier, Justus Liebig University, Giessen.
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.