SO LONG A LETTER

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Written by award-winning African novelist Mariama Ba and translated from the original French, So Long a Letter has been recognized as one of Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century. The brief narrative, written as an extended letter, is a sequence of reminiscences—some wistful, some bitter—recounted by recently widowed Senegalese schoolteacher Ramatoulaye Fall. Addressed to a lifelong friend, Aissatou, it is a record of Ramatoulaye’s emotional struggle for survival after her husband betrayed their marriage by taking a second wife.

This semi-autobiographical account is a perceptive testimony to the plight of educated and articulate Muslim women. Angered by the traditions that allow polygyny, they inhabit a social milieu dominated by attitudes and values that deny them status equal to men. Ramatoulaye hopes for a world where the best of old customs and new freedom can be combined.

Considered a classic of contemporary African women’s literature, So Long a Letter is a must-read for anyone interested in African literature and the passage from colonialism to modernism in a Muslim country.

Winner of the prestigious Noma Award for Publishing in Africa.

The Author

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Mariama Bâ (April 17, 1929–August 17, 1981) was a Senegalese author and feminist, who wrote in French. Born in Dakar, she was raised a Muslim, but at an early age came to criticise what she perceived as inequalities between the sexes resulting from African traditions. Raised by her traditional grandparents, she had to struggle even to gain an education, because they did not believe that girls should be taught. Bâ later married a Senegalese member of Parliament, Obèye Diop, but divorced him and was left to care for their nine children.

Her frustration with the fate of African women—as well as her ultimate acceptance of it—is expressed in her first novel, So Long a Letter. In it she depicts the sorrow and resignation of a woman who must share the mourning for her late husband with his second, younger wife. Abiola Irele called it “the most deeply felt presentation of the female condition in African fiction.” This short book was awarded the first Noma Prize for Publishing in Africa in 1980.

Bâ died a year later after a protracted illness, before her second novel, Scarlet Song, which describes the hardships a woman faces when her husband abandons her for a younger woman he knew at youth, was published.

The historian Nzegwu has contended that Bâ’s life was rich in events. Bâ was born in Dakar, Senegal, in 1929, into an educated and well-to-do Senegalese family where she grew up. Her father was a career civil servant who became one of the first ministers of state. He was the Minister of Health in 1956 while her grand father was an interpreter in the French occupation regime.

After her mother’s death, Bâ was largely raised in the traditional manner by her maternal grandparents. She received her early education in French, while at the same time attending Koranic school.

Bâ was a prominent law student at school. During the colonial revolution period and later, girls faced numerous obstacles when they wanted to have a higher education. Bâ’s grandparents did not plan to educate her beyond primary school. However, her father’s insistence on giving her an opportunity to continue her studies eventually persuaded them.

In a teacher training college based in Rufisque (a suburb in Dakar), she won the first prize in the entrance examination and entered the École Normale. In this institution, she was prepared for later career as a school teacher. The school’s principal began to prepare her for the 1943 entrance examination to a teaching career after he noticed Bâ’s intellect and capacity. She taught from 1947 to 1959, before transferring to the Regional Inspectorate of teaching as an educational inspector.

Bâ was a novelist, teacher and feminist, active from 1979 to 1981 in Senegal, West Africa. Bâ’s source of determination and commitment to the feminist cause stemmed from her background, her parents’ life and her schooling. Indeed, her contribution is of absolute importance in modern African studies since she was among the first to illustrate the disadvantaged position of women in African society. Bâ’s work focused on the grandmother, the mother, the sister, the daughter, the cousin and the friend, how they all deserve the title “mother of Africa”, and how important they are for the society.

Mariama Bâ felt the failure of African liberation struggles and movements. Her earliest works were essays she wrote while at the École Normale. Some of her works have now been published. Her first work constitutes essentially a useful method of rejection of the “so-called French assimilationist policy”.

Bâ advocated urgent consideration and reinvigoration of African life.

This consideration and reinvigoration is essentially founded on the social construct of the relationship between man and woman. Indeed, there is an unequal and unbalanced power in the male/female relationship. According to her, these facts can help us become aware of Africa’s needs for societal change, a change more political than merely making speeches.

As a divorcee and “a modern Muslim woman” as she characterized herself, Bâ was active in women’s associations. She also ardently promoted education. She defended women’s rights, delivered speeches, and wrote articles in local newspapers. Thus, her contribution is significant because she explained and described the disadvantaged position of women in general and especially married women.

Bâ also had vision and determined commitment. She felt African people should reduce the deleterious impact of their culture. Women are plunged both psychologically and financially in a sensual indulgence and complete lack of regard for the consequences of men’s actions on families. They are completely blind. These facts led Bâ to believe in her mission to expose and critique the rationalisations employed to justify established power structures.

She thought that distortions of cultural thought and institutions are made to demonstrate masquerades as “tradition” and “culture”. Men and Women have been seduced into accepting the continuation of these “customs”. People should be “persuaded of the inevitable and necessary complementarity of man and woman”.

Bâ wrote many books openly sharing her thoughts and feelings, including: So Long a Letter (1981), Scarlet Songs (1986), and La fonction politique des littératures Africaines écrites (The Political Function of African Written Literatures) (1981).

http://www.amazon.com/Mariama-Ba/e/B000AP5I02

Life Worth More Than Silver And Gold : The Reason I Forget I’m An Author

Israel 3Sick World: Would you be happy to see a child manhandled in this way if you have children?

If you are someone that loves nature, appreciates life in every way and cares about our environment, society and the future of your children, you’ll never be satisfied with the havoc, destruction, crime, racism, terrorism and violence tearing our society apart today.

One of the strategies both experienced and new authors used to promote and attract readers to their websites, is to blog or share friendly or interesting articles. Unfortunately, I haven’t  lived up to the standard of writing friendly articles for readers to be interested in my books, because I’m more worried about the menace destroying our society, than the money to go into my pocket.

Everyone is after money, ignoring the dangers lurking in our communities. School children carry guns to schools, killing students, but only few people show concern. Africans are plagued with Aids, Ebola and Lassa Fever and those that responsible for the medical crimes are enjoying life with impunity today.

Those medical crimes have taken thousands into their untimely grave, yet no one cares about them, because pharmaceutical companies, organizations, authors, writers, the media, people in business etc, think it may affect business when they speak against those medical crimes. 

I live in Belgium, a country that produces the best quality beer, chocolate and waffle in the world, Not because I want readers to buy my books, I’ll promote or praise Belgian products. Instead I speak against the crime they committed in Africa. If there is no statue of Adolf Hitler for killing 6 millions Jews, then Belgium shouldn’t erect a statue of a king that killed and maimed over ten million Africans, including children in Brussels.

How can I ignore such injustice as a writer without speaking against it, because I want money in my pocket? In every society there are both good and bad people. I believe the good ones will understand me and if they want my books, they will buy them.

Whereby we are going about our businesses, we should also show concern for others. Just imagine the terrorist activities which claimed precious lives in the United States of America and Europe. Do you expect me to be friendly because of my books or bitter?

I have said it over and over, when the rain falls, it doesn’t fall on one man’s house. When terrorism strikes it affects also innocent people. Together we should fight against crime, after all what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and go down into his grave without anything he toiled for?

Shadow Of The Raven

Shadow 2Thunder claps roar and Odin’s ravens fly. Fearsome dragonships set sail – and the kingdoms of Western Europe hold their breath. Warriors of Thor are on the move. By the mid-ninth century, raids along Anglo-Saxon coasts by the pagan Danes have escalated, and as the raiders become bolder, attacks move deeper and deeper inland. Several bands even dare to overwinter on the coastal islands, particularly those at the mouth of the Thames, where the kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia border each other.

After three hundred years of bitter conflict over supremacy, the kings of these kingdoms are ready to put past enmity aside and take the first steps towards unity; steps they see as vital in the face of this newfound threat to their lands . . . Alfred of Wessex and Eadwulf of Mercia are the sons of kings, their roles in life already charted. But the turbulent events in their childhood years change the natural progression of things – and determine the characters of the men they will become.

Their roads to manhood follow vastly different routes: Eadwulf as a thrall in a pagan land; Alfred at his father’s court, and subsequently, those of his older brothers. But both learn crucial lessons along the way. Discovering that the enemy is not always a stranger is a harsh lesson indeed; the realisation that a trusted kinsman can turn traitor is the harshest lesson of all.

The story takes us from the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex to the Norse lands stretching north from Denmark to the Arctic Circle and east to the Baltic Sea. We glimpse the Court of Charles the Bald of West Francia and journey to the holy city of Rome. Through it all, the two boys move ever closer to their destinies.

The author

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Millie Thom is a former geography and history teacher with a degree in geology and a particular passion for the Anglo-Saxon and Viking period.

Originally from Lancashire she is a mother of six grown up children and now lives with her husband in a small village in Nottinghamshire, midway between the town of Newark and the lovely old city of Lincoln.

When not writing, Millie enjoys long walks and is a serious fossil hunter. She is also an avid traveller, swimmer and baker of cakes.

http://www.amazon.com/Millie-Thom/e/B00JZM1UIU

A Challenge To Belgium Journalists: Show How Sincere You’re To Uncover The Truth Over Aids And Ebola

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A symbol of freedom: No slavery or medical crimes can break Africans down: Photo credit-Alex from Paris.

Sometimes without investigation or finding out reasons some people behave in a different manner, the actions of a man are often judged by the public or certain people, portraying him evil person in the society. We know what is justice, but justice doesn’t work or exist in some countries. Even if it exists, it favours certain class of people, probably elites but not an African.

You may be a member of a group or an association, but might feel uncomfortable with yourself, since you know that they are hiding something from you. In this way, how do you expect an African in the mist of white journalists to behave, when he knows that Aids and Ebola were medical crimes against Africa, but they wouldn’t like to write the truth or let the public know about it?

Another point is, how would you feel as an African in the mist of Belgian journalists, that will neither write anything about the horrible crime Belgium committed in Africa, nor write to demand the breakdown of the statue of Leopold II, if there is no statue of Adolf Hitler, because Leopold was worse than Hitler. He maimed and killed over ten million Africans, including women and children.

This is the reason I’m very bitter, and more bitter, because most of them have failed to realize their hypocrisy  and incompetency, thinking I am the bad one, because of the kind of articles I write. I am an African, so my article reflects on my culture. Anywhere we are or where ever we go, Belgium journalists shouldn’t expect me to open my arms widely to embrace or praise them.

Africa is a continent that has suffered a great of all persecutions, including colonial invasion, slavery, racism, looting, and medical crimes. The more I think about those atrocities, the more I become adamant, because I’m not ready to give myself and be used as foot mat.

My challenge to Belgium journalists is: They must prove to the world, how sincere they are by coming out clean to uncover the truth about Aids and Ebola, because Belgium took part in the medical crimes against Africa.

My respect and thanks to Holland’s scientist Johan Van Dongen, for revealing the truth over Aids and Ebola, as medical crimes against Africa. Even though the truth has cost him dearly, he is a happy man because of his clear conscience and integrity. Let scientists like Ab Osterhaus and Guido Van der Groen continue to lie as pagans, or in whatever they believe in and worship.

People are fed up with lies, greed cover-ups, the reason many have lost interest in the media. If you are a writer and want to be different, write the truth or something significant, which will arrest readers’ attention. That’s exactly what I have achieved. I will therefore never change my identity or my style of writing.

There are many mistakes I did in the past, which I will never repeat them. I don’t live my life to please anyone, and not very kind, because some people take your kindness as foolishness, besides some kindness can give you a lot of worries.

http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Medical-History-Against-Mankind-ebook/dp/B016W89W1G