SO LONG A LETTER

BAH 2

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

BAH 4

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 Is Very Hard. The Only People Who Really Live Are Those Who Are Harder Than Life Itself.”

Zero 4

There are hundreds of definitions about ‘Life,’ but none gives me its true meaning, than this quote by author Nawal El Salaawi, “Life is very hard. The only people who really live are those who are harder than life itself.”  But who is this woman?

Nawal El Saadiaw has been pilloried, censored, imprisoned and exiled for her refusal to accept the oppression imposed on women by gender and class.

In her life and in her writings, this struggle against sexual discrimination has always been linked to a struggle against all forms of oppression: religious, racial, colonial and neo-colonial.

In 1969, she published her first work of non-fiction, Women and Sex ; in 1972, her writings and her struggles led to her dismissal from her job.

From then on there was no respite; imprisonment under Sadat in 1981 was the culmination of the long war she had fought for Egyptian women’s social and intellectual freedom. A Daughter of Isis is the autobiography of this extraordinary woman.

Author Nawal El Salaawi

Zero 5Nawal El Saadawi, also spelled Nawāl al-Saʿdāwī   (born Oct. 27, 1931, Kafr Ṭaḥlah, Egypt), Egyptian public health physician, psychiatrist, author, and advocate of women’s rights. Sometimes described as “the Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab world,” El Saadawi was a feminist whose writings and professional career were dedicated to political and sexual rights for women.El Saadawi was educated at Cairo University (M.D., 1955), Columbia University in New York (M.P.H., 1966), and ʿAyn Shams University in Cairo (where she performed psychiatric research in 1972–74). In 1955–65 she worked as a physician at Cairo University and in the Egyptian ministry of health, and in 1966 she became the director-general of the health education department within the ministry.

In 1968 she founded Health magazine, which was shut down by Egyptian authorities several years later, and in 1972 she was expelled from her professional position in the ministry of health because of her book Al-marʾah wa al-jins (1969; Women and Sex), which was condemned by religious and political authorities.

El Saadawi was jailed in September 1981, and during the two months of her imprisonment she wrote Mudhakkirāt fī sijn al-nisāʾ (1984; Memoirs from the Women’s Prison) on a roll of toilet paper using a smuggled cosmetic pencil.

In 1982 El Saadawi founded the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association (AWSA) and later served as editor of the organization’s publication, Al-nūn. In 1991 the government closed down Al-nūn and then, several months later, AWSA itself. Due to her outspoken views, El Saadawi continued to face frequent legal challenges from political and religious opponents, including accusations of apostasy.

In 2002 a legal attempt was made by an Islamist lawyer to forcibly divorce her from her husband, and in May 2008 she won a case that had been brought against her by al-Azhar University, the major centre of Islamic learning, that included charges of apostasy and heresy.

El Saadawi’s novels, short stories, and nonfiction deal chiefly with the status of Arab women, as inMudhakkirāt tabībah (1960; Memoirs of a Woman Doctor), Al-khayt wa al-jidār (1972; The Thread and the Wall), Al-wajh al-ʿarī lī al-marʾah al-arabiyyah (1977; The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World), Al-ḥubb fī zaman al-nafṭ (1993; Love in the Kingdom of Oil), and Al-riwāyah (2004; The Novel).

The oppression of women by men through religion is the underlying theme of El Saadawi’s novel set in a mental institution, Jannāt wa Iblīs (1992; Jannāt and Iblīs). The female protagonists are Jannāt, whose name is the plural of the Arabic word for paradise, and Iblīs, whose name refers to the devil.

http://goo.gl/HrS2nD

Africa: Destroyed By The Gods

Ako 3My motivations for writing this book came from the pain I feel when I see the havoc foreign religions have wrought on Africa, especially in the last three decades. Traditionally, Africans are a deeply spiritual people. It is sad and painful to see how our deep spirituality was used to turn us into unthinking zombies.

It appears like the African elite, by which we mean the political as well as the spiritual elite, are in cahoots to keep the people in perpetual ignorance. Some ideals the European Missionaries preached, like “Love thy neighbour,” are not ideals they were prepared to abide by. They served to transform our conquerors into saviours to worship. Sadly, these are the same ideals our pastors today use to render us into unthinking masses of simpletons, so that they and the political elite can continue to loot our national resources.

By successfully turning themselves into ‘men-of-god,’ the priests transformed themselves into venerable agents of the creator, so it’d be sacrilegious to question or attack them. An important question we need to ask ourselves as Africans is what single benefit we have achieved with all the prayers, holy retreats and the burning of candles we have engaged in over the years. We also need to ask the pastors and the archbishops why they are not prepared to wait for their own paradise in afterlife.

Although we did not set out to write a comprehensive critique of the Christian religion, we show enough evidence to demonstrate that it was a religion deliberately founded on fraud. There are abundant historical records to show that the central figure of Christianity, Jeshua or Jesus, was a Roman invention; he never exist as a historical person. There is abundant evidence to show that the book the Christians called the Holy Bible were collections of ancient fables gathered by wandering habirus (Hebrews), and that they are not accurate historical narratives. Many of them were consciously forged stories.

The records are in the public domain to show that the books that made up the Bible were selected at the First Council of Nicaea, convened by one of the most murderous of Popes, Constantine, in AD 325. Also in the public records is how the King James Version of the Bible was put together at the urgings of one of the worst killers to grace the English throne, King James. My sadness at the havoc the Christian religion wrought compelled me to start writing about it.

I hope that my struggle will propel other honest Africans to begin to challenge the false preaching of the Christians and, hopefully, regain some of our African patrimony before they are totally destroyed by the lies the Christians peddle. We Africans need only to sit and do some thinking. If, as almost every scientist today knows, we are the first people on earth, how do we end up worshipping a Semite god? Another question we ought to ask ourselves is why is it that we are the only people that do not worship a god in our own image and in our own language? Apart from Africans, every society creates its own god in its own image.

This is not a complete evaluation of the Christian religion, but we provide enough materials for the honest investigator to search for and find the truth. We provide enough proof and suggestions to make the honest Africa do his own study, and discover that, contrary to what his pastor says, the Bible is not a correct historical document. On these pages, I set forth my views on the Christian religion. I urge that they be read in the same honest spirit they were written.

The Author

????????????????????????????????????

Femi Akomolafe is a Nigerian writer, author and a television producer.  A passionate Pan-Africanist, he writes as a columnist for the Accra-based Daily Dispatch newspaper. The globetrotter Femi lives in both Europe and Africa.

His extensive work reflects on Africa-related issues in his books and for various newspapers and magazines. He was the producer of the FOCUS ON AFRICANS TV Interview programme for the MultiTV Station.

He is also the CEO of Alaye Dot Biz Limited Dot Biz, a Kasoa-based Multimedia organisation that specializes in Audio and Video Production. Despite his busy activities, Femi always has time for his family.

http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Femi-Akomolafe/e/B00MCZ00G0/

Boys Of The Fatherless

Boys

Abandoned by his father, Danny Roberts struggles to find his way through the confusion of adolescence and developing sexuality. Danny finds comfort in the words of Darius, the man that becomes his mentor and discovers true love in the green eyes of Sarah but not every story has a happy ending and the citizens of Fatherless may have to wait a generation for their freedom.

The Author

Boys 2

David C. Riggins studied writing at Clearwater College in Central Florida and published his first novel in 2014. David is a goodreads author with reviews and quotes available at goodreads.com. His first book Boys of the fatherless has sold worldwide and has received great reviews. Set in a futuristic Dystopian society, Boys of the fatherless tells the story of a young man abandoned by his father and his struggles to survive in a perilous environment. The young man finds comfort in the words of Darius, the man that becomes his mentor, and finds love in the green eyes of a special girl but not every story has a happy ending…

“To do what is right, we try. Against the odds, we try. Stand down, they’ll say, you are not like us. Don’t listen to them. We must fight for our right to exist, for the truth. We are the human race, we will not be silent. We must fight for our right to try, for our right to know, for our future. We fight for equality, for justice. Above all, we fight for the cause of liberty, and fight we must. We must all play our role. We are brilliant shades of light, we cannot be contained. Stand tall and be brave. Keep these words hidden in your heart and know that I love you always.” – Boys of the fatherless, 2014

http://www.amazon.com/Boys-fatherless-David-C-Riggins-ebook/dp/B00KZZXAS4

Introducing The Writer Died By Joel Savage

NORA 3By Nuala E. Moran

 

About The Writer Died by Joel Savage

Kumbe finds himself in a hostile environment, as a victim of divorce and neglect. An environment he witnesses the suffering and hustling his mother goes through to feed him. He was unhappy because his father was neglecting his family, spending his fortune on other women. He sees his adolescence as a struggle to win the support of his father. At school, he was among the best students. This gives him inspiration to fight to educate himself. In a confused society, Kumbe spends a better part of his life visiting the library, reading and studying.

Despite daily horrendous life he passes through, Kumbe excels to be an outstanding journalist and writer, attached to the president of his native country, Ghana, with enormous enthusiasm and optimism. However, in his lifetime as a famous journalist, his fame gives him nothing but hatred, jealousy and blackmail from an empire of deceitful enemies. He stands strong and firm, destined to fight the cruel charismatic power of those forces haunting him. But they are stronger than him.

Despite his wife’s moral and material support, Kumbe surrenders and dies mysteriously. Who and what killed him? “The Writer Died” is a truly remarkable book of hard life experience of child neglect, an indispensable and inspiring book for anyone that may find himself in a similar situation. The writer tries to define, measure, classify, and understand what child neglect is like in Africa.

About the Author of The Writer Died, Joel Savage.

Joel Savage is an author and freelance journalist, who enjoys the challenges of creativity and adventure. His work is considered to be pure genre of creative nonfiction of human touch, with appeal to a broad general audience.

He was born in the central region of Ghana, Cape Coast, on January 19, 1957 and studied at Ebenezer Secondary School and Accra High School. He later studied at Ghana Institute of Journalism. He wrote feature articles for the Daily Graphic, the Ghanaian Times, and the Weekly Spectator in Accra for a certain period.

Joel lives in Antwerp, Belgium, with his wife and three children, where he writes for Diplomatic Aspects Newspaper.

Where to buy The Writer Died by Joel Savage.

Visit Joel Savage’s Author Page on oAuthor to find all links for locations of this and other works by Joel Savage.

I Stand Accused: But I’m Innocent

Worry 1

Photo credit: musedmagonline.com

I am not a professional psychologist, trained to conduct research, perform and evaluate the emotional and psychological challenges of individuals. I am writing this article due to my personal experience and what I’ve seen in families, individuals, groups, and society as a whole.

When we were young, we did many things which we never thought were bad. We were in the ages of no regret, so we feel good and great over our bad attitudes and the wrong things we were doing, thinking that make us great to stand out of the crowd. We only realized the many sins we committed during our early twenties or adulthood.

We can’t turn back the clock after knowing the bad things we did, than regret or repent to lead a better and responsible life in adulthood. Unfortunately, many live the same life from youth till the end of their lives. At school, we feel very proud to say that “I’ve a girlfriend,” even though many of us are scared to talk to girls.

One day while school on vacation, we organized a small party in one of my friend’s house. We invited the girls we like best claiming to be our girlfriends, yet we couldn’t even look into their eyes in a second. My best friend Aldo, invited his platonic girlfriend and I invited mine.

I told Aldo to come an hour after me, in order to enjoy my privacy with Emmy. In fact, that was the first time I tasted the lips of a beautiful girl I loved most during my school days. I felt I was in paradise, after the kiss I realized I’m still on earth. At nineteen, I consider myself too young to enter into bed with Emmy as students. I was therefore satisfied with the kiss she gave me, so I left with her to join the public transport home.

When I came back, I saw Aldo with Aggie, a very dark beautiful complexion girl everyone is proud of. I told Aldo, “I finished with Emmy and she has gone home.” I think Aldo misunderstood what I said. His mind went on different thing. Why I’m saying this? What ensued after was clear enough to know that Aldo misunderstood me.

People in our neighbourhood heard unusual event taking place in the room where Aldo and Aggie were. The struggle became so intense that I quickly went to the place to find out what is going on between them. As soon as I opened the door, Aggie with fury bolted out and all attempts to find out what went wrong were futile. Aggie left with anger without looking back.

I questioned Aldo over Aggie’s temperance, and he confessed that he had wanted to have sex with her but everything went wrong. I asked him, what’s the reason of forcing a girl who doesn’t want to have sex with you?  “You told me you’ve finished with Emmy, the reason; I tried to have sex with her.” I was shocked over the answer Aldo gave me.

“But Aldo, saying that I’ve finished with Emmy doesn’t mean I had sex with her.” I said with emotions, desperately trying to defend myself. Instead of Aldo acknowledging his own mistakes, to apologize to Aggie, he put the blame on me, ruining our friendship without further communication between us, until the time both completed our secondary education.

This scenario took place years ago, when we were teenagers, but it still hurts me. Why should Aldo take my answer to enhance his own selfish desire, when that wasn’t what I mean? After school, I tried to renew our friendship but it seems, Aldo still habours the feeling that I crashed his world. He decides not to have anything with me.

There is no need to cry over spilt milk. I gave up. Years after school, without any knowledge about the welfare of Aldo , I met a classmate who told me of the death of my friend. He had a fractured leg during a football match. The extent of his injury was so severe that he succumbed.

I miss him very much, but I have a clear conscience that my statement didn’t mean that I slept with Emmy, so he shouldn’t have tried to sleep with Aggie, above all, he failed to ask me the meaning of what I said, before embarking on a wrong journey. Whatever the situation, I pray for him to have a peaceful rest, knowing that we shall meet again somewhere in heaven or the universe one day, if truly there life after death.

Celestial Blue Skies

CELEB 2

 

In Belle Place, Louisiana, where the sugarcane grows a mile high to the bright blue sky, Celeste struggles with her mentally ill mother, Tut, and works with her grandmother Maymay to hold the Creole Bastille family together.

Celeste has bigger dreams for her life, and is falling for the handsome and wealthy Vashan. But, when Tut runs away to live with the man she met working in the sugarcane to escape her reputation as the town whore, Maymay fears that Celeste will end up like her mother.

And just as things are finally looking up for Tut, her past returns with violent, tragic results. Will Celeste end up like her mother, or will she redeem her family from the hoodoo curse that haunts them? And will she find love with someone from a culture just as exotic as her own?

The Author

CELEB 3

Maggie Collins was born and raised under the clear blue skies of Loreauville, Louisiana. She majored in English at the University of Louisiana and later earned a Master’s degree from the University of New Orleans. An excerpt of this novel was published in “Louisiana Cultural Vistas” and was a 2009 finalist for the worldwide William Faulkner William Wisdom writing contest. She is a Center for Black Literature fellow and an Educational Diagnostician. She lives with her two sons and wonderful husband.

http://www.amazon.com/Celestial-Blue-Skies-Maggie-Collins/dp/069202347X/