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Jul 2014
ESSAYS ON
LEADERSHIP FRONTIERS OF AFRICAN LITERATURE
By
Alexander   k   Opicho




Alexander K Opicho
(Eldoret, Kenya; aopicho@yahoo.com)

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Contents                                                                                                                Page
TABAN MAKITIYONG RENEKET LO LIYONG AND PREFECTURE OF AFRICAN LITERATURE 4
THE CURRENT EAST AFRICA IS NOT A LITERARY DESERT 27
AFRICAN WRITERS HAVE CULTURAL RIGHTS TO FORMULATE AND CREATE ENGLISH WORDS 31
LIKE PUSHKIN, AFRICAN WRITERS MUST CREATE THEIR OWN PROFFESSION OF LITERATURE 35
THERE IS POWER IN THE NAME ‘ALEXANDER’ 40
KENYAN COURTS AND PARLIAMENT ARE BETRAYERS OF HUMANE GOVERNANCE 47
AFRO-CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO RADICAL LITERATURE IS GOOD AND SWAGGERISH 50
YUNUS’S SOCIAL BANKING IS A GOOD BENCHCMARK FOR THIRD WORLD ENTREPRENEURS 54
HEROISM IS NOT GREATNESS BUT HUMILITY IN SERVICE TO HUMANITY 57
KENYAN STUDENTS; YOUR MOBILE INTERNET CULTURE IS ANTI- ACADEMICS 61
WHAT IS THE MAGIC IN THE WORD ‘DRINKARD’ OF AMOS TUTUOLA 63
SOCIETIES IN AFRICA HAVE TO MENTOR BUT NOT CONDEMN THE LIKES OF JULIUS MALEMA 66
AMERICA WILL NOT WIN THE WAR ON GLOBAL TERRORISM 69
AFRICA CAN OVERCOME A MENACE OF **** IN EVERY 30 MINUTES 71
COMPARATIVE ROLES OF AFRICAN-BRAZILIAN LITERATURE IN THE POLITICS OF RACIAL AND GENDER DEMOCRACY 76
NEO-COLONIALISM IS NOT THE MAIN VICE TO THE GAMBIAN POLITICS 85
RELATIVE MEDIA OBJECTIVITY IS ACHIEVEABLE IN AFRICA AGAINST POWER CULTURE AND TYRANNIES OF TASTE 89
READING CULTURE IS GOOD FOR BOTH THE POOR AND THE RICH 96
VIOLENT DEATH IS THE BANE OF AFRICAN WRITERS AND ARTISTS 100
AFRICAN WRITTERS AND ARTISTS MUST ASPIRE BEYOND A NOBEL PRIZE 104
WHAT ARE CULTURAL RIGHTS OF AFRICAN ENGLISH SPEAKERS? 109
WHY IMPRISONMENT OF WRITERS CONTRIBUTED MOST TO AFRICAN LITERATURE 113
DORIS LESSING: A FEMINIST, POET, NOVELIST, WHITE-AFRICANIST AND NOBELITE UN-TIMELY PASSES ON 121
Amilcar Cabral: Beacon of revolutionary literature and social democracy 127
How the State of Israel is brutally dealing with African refugees 131
Historical glimpses of language dilemma in Afro-Arabic literature 146
THIS YEAR 2013; IS THE YEAR OF GREAT DEATHS 153
AFRICAN LITERATURE WITHOUT POETRY IS LIKE LOVE WITHOUT VAGINAL *** 156



















PROLOGOMENA
BARRACK OBAMA READS MOBY ****
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
American president is reading Moby ****
Ja-kogello is reading Moby ****
Ja-siaya is reading Moby ****
Ja-merica is reading Moby ****
Jadello is reading Moby ****
Ja-buonji is reading Moby ****
His lovely Oeuvre of Melville Herman
And what are you reading?

Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because untimely death took his father
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because untimely death took his mother
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because untimely death to his brother
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because untimely death took the grannies
His lovely Oeuvre of Melville Herman  
And what are you reading?

Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Baba Michelle is reading Moby ****
Baba Sasha is reading Moby ****
Baba Malia is reading Moby ****
Baba nya-dhin is reading Moby ****
Sarah’s sire is reading Moby ****
Ja-sharia is reading Moby ****
The ****** is reading Moby ****
His lovely Oeuvre of Melville Herman
And what are you reading?

Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because here ekes audacity of hope
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because here ekes dreams of fathers
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because here ekes yes we can
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because here ekes American dream
His lovely Oeuvre of Melville Herman
And what are you readings?

Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because American president is like whale hunting
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because Obama is a money making animal
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because hunting Osama is whale riding
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because hunting Gaddaffi is whale riding
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because coming to Kenya is whale riding
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because Guantanamo prison is a bay of whales
Barrack Obama is reading Moby ****
Because Snowden is a Russian whale
Because launching drones is whale riding
His lovely Oeuvre of Melville Herman
And what are you reading, Moby ****?














CHAPTER ONE
TABAN MAKITIYONG RENEKET LO LIYONG AND PREFECTURE OF AFRICAN LITERATURE

I am writing this article from Kenya on this day of 23 September 2013 when the Al shabab, an Arabo-Islamic arm of the global terrorist group the Al gaeda have lynched siege on the shopping mall in Nairobi known as the West Gate where an average of forty people have been killed and a hundreds are held hostage. The media is full of horrendous and terrifying images. They have made me to hate this day. I hate terrorism, I hate American foreign policy on Arabs, I hate philosophy behind formation of the state of Israel and I equally hate religious fundamentalism. Also on this date, all the media and public talks in Kenya are full of intellectual and literary tearing of one Kenyan by another plus a retort in the equal measure as a result of the ripples in the African literature pool whose epicenter is the Professor Taban Lo Liyong .He is an epicenter because he had initially decried literary mediocrity among the African scholars and University professors, Wherein under the same juncture he also quipped that Kenya’s doyen of literature Ngugi wa Thiong’o never deserved a Nobel prize. Liyong’s stand has provoked intellectual reasons and offalities to fly like fireworks in the East African literary atmosphere among which the most glittering is Chris Wanjala’s contrasting position that; who made Liyong the prefect and ombudsman of African literature? This calls for answers. Both good answers and controversial responses. Digging deeper into the flesh of literature as often displayed by Lo Liyong.
Liyong is not a fresher in the realm of literary witticism. He is a seasoned hand .Especially when contributions of Liyong to east African literary journal during his student days in the fifties of the last century during which he declared east Africa a literary desert. In addition to his fantastic titles; Another ****** Dead and The Un-even Rips of Frantz Fanon, Professor Taban Lo Liyong also humorously called Amos Tutuola the son of Zinjathropus, what a farcical literary joke? I also want to appreciate this Liyong’s artfulness of language in this capacity and identify him in a literary sense as Taban Matiyong Lo   Liyong the son of Eshu. He is an ideological and literature descended of the great West African Eshu. Eshu the god of trouble which was dramatized by Obutunde Ijimere in the imprisonment of Obadala and also recounted by Achebe in the classical essays; Morning Yet of Creation Day. I call him Eshu because of his intellectual and literary ability to trigger the East and West Africans into active altercation of literary, cultural and political exchanges every other time he visits these regions. Whether in Lagos, Accra or Nairobi.
Now, in relation to Ngugi and intellectual quality of Kenyan University literature professors was Liyong right or wrong?  Does Liyong’s stand-point on Ngugi’s incompetence for Nobel recognition and mediocrity in literary scholarship among Kenyan Universities hold water. Are Liyong’s accusations of East Africa in these perspectives factually watertight and devoid of a fallacy of self-aggrandizement to African literary prefecture as Professor Chris Wanjala laments. Active literary involvement by anyone would obviously uncover that ;It is not Liyong Alone who has this intellectual bent towards East Africa, any literary common sense can easily ask a question that; Does Ngugi’s literary work really deserve or merit for Nobel recognition or not ? The answers are both yes and no. There are very many of those in Kenya who will readily cow from the debate to say yes. Like especially the community of alumni of the University of Nairobi who were Ngugi’s students in the department of English in which Ngugi was a Faculty during the mid of the last century. Also the general Kenyan masses who have been conditioned by warped political culture which always and obviously confine the Kenyan poor into a cocoonery of chauvinistic thought that Ngugi should or must win because he is one of us or Obama must win because he is one of us or Kemboi must win because he is the son of the Kenyan soil. These must also be the emotional tid-bits upon which the Kenyan Media has been based to be catapulted into Publicity feat that Ngugi will win the Nobel Prize without reporting to the same Kenyan populace the actual truths about other likely winners in the quarters from the overseas. I am in that Kenyan school thought comprising of those who genuinely argue that Ngugi’s literary work does not befit, nor merit, nor deserve recognition of Nobel Prize for literature. This position is eked on global status of the Nobel Prize in relation to Ngugi’s Kikuyu literary and writing philosophy. It is a universal truth that any and all prizes are awarded on the basis of Particular efforts displayed with peculiarity. Nobel Prize for literature is similarly awarded in recognition of unique literary effort displayed by the winner. It is not an exception when it comes to the question of formidability in a particular effort. However, the most basic literary virtue to be displayed as an overture of the writer is conversion of theory into practice. This was called by Karl Marx, Hegel, Antonio Gramsci and Paulo Freire, especially in Freire’s  pedagogy of the oppressed as praxis.History of literature and politics in their respective homogenous and comparative capacities has it that ;There has been eminent level of praxis by previous Nobelites.Right away from Rabitranathe Tagore to Wole Soyinka, From Dorriss Lessing to Wangari Mathai.Similar to JM Coatze ,Gao Tziaping,Alexander Vasleyvitch Solzhenystisn and Baraka Obama.This ideological stand of praxis is the one that made Alfred Nobel himself to to stick to his gun of intellectual  values and deny Leo Tolstoy the prize in 1907 because there was no clear connection between rudimentary Tolstoy in the nihilism and Feasible Tolstoy in the possible manner  of the times .In a similar stretch Ngugi wa Thiongo’s literary works and his ideological choices are full of ideological theory but devoid of ideological praxis. Evidence for justification in relation to this position is found back in the 70’s and 80’s of the last century, When Ngugi was an active communist theoretician of Kenya. His stature as a Kenyan communist ideologue could only get a parallel in the likes of Leon Trotsky and Gramsci. This ideological stature was displayed in Ngugi’s adoration of the North Korean communism under the auspice of the Korean leader Kim Yun Sung. This is so bare when you read Ngugi’s writers in politics, a communist pamphlet he published with the African red family. By that time this pamphlet was treated equally as Mao tse Tung’s collected works by the Kenya government which means that they were both illegal publications and if in any case you were found with them you would obviously serve nine months in prison. And of course when the late Brigadier Augustine Odongo was found with them he was jailed for nine months at Kodhiak maximum prison in Kisumu ,Kenya .O.K, the story of Odongo is preserved for another day. But remember that, this was Ngugi only at his rudimentary stage. But when Ngugi got an opportunity to get an ideological asylum, he did not go to Russia, nor East Germany, Nor Tanzania, nor China but instead he went to the USA , a country whose ideological civilization is in sharp contradiction with communism; a religion which Ngugi proffessess.In relation to this choices of Ngugi one can easily share with me these reflections; is one intellectually  honest if he argues that he is a socialist revolutionary when his or her employer is an American institution like the university of California in Irvine ?
Ngugi was not the only endangered communist ideologue of the time. There were also several others. Both in Kenya and without Kenya. They were the likes of; Raila Odinga, George Moset Anyona, ***** Mutunga and very many others from Kenya. But in Africa some to be mentioned were Walter Rodney, Yoweri Museven,Isa Shivji,Jacob Tzuma ,Robert Mugabe and others. The difference between Ngugi and all of these socialist contemporaries of him is that; Ngugi went to America and began accumulating private property just like any other capitalist. But these others remained in Africa both in freedom and detention to ensure that powers of political darkness which had bedeviled Africa during the last century must go. And indeed the powers somehow went. Raila has  been in Kenya most of the times,Anyona died in Kenya while in the struggle for second liberation of Kenyan people from the devilish fangs of Moi’s dark reign of terror and tyrany.Walter Rodney worked in Tanzania at Dare salaam University where he wrote his land mark book; How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Later on he went back to his country of birth in Africa, Guyana where he was assassinated while in the revolutionary struggle for political good of the Guyanese people. Yoweri Museven practically implemented socialism by fighting politics of sham and nonsense out of Uganda of which as per today Uganda is somehow admirable. Isa Shivji has ever remained in Dare salaam University, inspite of poverty. He is now the chair of Mwalimu Julius Nyerere school of Pan African studies. Jacob Tsuma and Robert Mugabe they are current presidents of South Africa and Zimbabwe respectively. The gist of this reference to African socialist revolutionaries as contemporaries to Ngugi wa Thiong’o is that a socialist revolutionary must and should not run away from the oppressor in to a zone of comfort. But instead must remain and relentlessly fight, just like in the words of Fidel Castro; fight and die in the battle field as long as it is a struggle against the enemy of the revolution. This view by Castro is pertinent as it’s a Revolutionary praxis which actually is redolent of practice of an ideology that has to be held for ever above ideological cosmentics.Ngugi scores badly on this. So if the Nobel academy looks at Ngugi in terms of defending human rights then it must be reminded that Ngugi have no marks on the same because he only ran away from the practical struggle. Anyway, Politics and ideology has its own fate. But let us now come back to literature. Ngugi and his books. As at  this time of writing this essay  Ngugi has published the following works; Weep not Child, The River Between, A Grain of Wheat, Black Hermit, Petals of Blood, Devils on the Cross,Matigari,Homecoming,Decolonizing the Mind, Writers in Politics, Ngugi Detained, Pen Points and Gun Points, Wizard of the Crow,Globalectics,Remeembering Africa, Dreams in Times of War and I Will Marry When I Want as well as the Trial of Dedan Kimathi which he wrote along with Micere Githae Mugo.Out of this list the only works with literary depth that call for intellectualized attention are ;A Grain of wheat, Wizard of the crow and Globalectics. The Grain of wheat is simply a post colonial reflection of Kenyan politics. Its themes, plot, lessons and entire synechedoche is also found in Wole Soyinka’s Season of Anomie as well as Achebe’s Anthills of the savannah. My argument dove-tails with those of Liyong’s stand that rewarding Ngugi’s Grain of wheat and forgetting Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah and A man of the people would be a literary ceremony devoid of literary justice. Wizard of the Crow is indeed a magnum opus. I am ready to call it Ngugi’s oeuv
Alexander K Opicho
Written by
Alexander K Opicho  Kenya
(Kenya)   
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