Selected poem no 3.

Module 10: 
Posted by: Cleofe G. Coquilla

This module intends to let the students:
1. Identify the general notion of the poem
2. Appreciate the message of the poem
3. Draw their own interpretation of the poem

By: Maya Angelou

 Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don't believe I'm wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can't use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They've got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I'll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
'Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone. 

Biography of the Author:

Maya Angelou was born Marguerite Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 4, 1928. She grew up in St. Louis and Stamps, Arkansas. She is an author, poet, historian, songwriter, playwright, dancer, stage and screen producer, director, performer, singer, and civil rights activist. She is best known for her autobiographical books: All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986), The Heart of a Woman (1981), Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas (1976), Gather Together in My Name (1974), and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), which was nominated for the National Book Award. Among her volumes of poetry are A Brave and Startling Truth (Random House, 1995), The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994), Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now (1993), Now Sheba Sings the Song (1987), I Shall Not Be Moved (1990), Shaker, Why Don't You Sing? (1983), Oh Pray My Wings Are Gonna Fit Me Well (1975), and Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'fore I Diiie (1971), which was nominated for the Pulitzer prize. 

In 1959, at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Maya Angelou became the northern coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From 1961 to 1962 she was associate editor of The Arab Observer in Cairo, Egypt, the only English-language news weekly in the Middle East, and from 1964 to 1966 she was feature editor of the African Review in Accra, Ghana. She returned to the U.S. in 1974 and was appointed by Gerald Ford to the Bicentennial Commission and later by Jimmy Carter to the Commission for International Woman of the Year. She accepted a lifetime appointment in 1981 as Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 1993, Angelou wrote and delivered a poem, "On The Pulse of the Morning," at the inauguration for President Bill Clinton at his request. 

The first black woman director in Hollywood, Angelou has written, produced, directed, and starred in productions for stage, film, and television. In 1971, she wrote the original screenplay and musical score for the film Georgia, Georgia, and was both author and executive producer of a five-part television miniseries "Three Way Choice." She has also written and produced several prize-winning documentaries, including "Afro-Americans in the Arts," a PBS special for which she received the Golden Eagle Award. Maya Angelou was twice nominated for a Tony award for acting: once for her Broadway debut in Look Away (1973), and again for her performance in Roots (1977). 

1.Who is the speaker in the poem?
2.What is the tone of the poem?
3.What is the central message of the piece?
4. Make an essay and describe the word " alone"
5. Draw your own interpretation of the poem.

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Selected poem no 2.

Module 9:  Once Upon a time
Posted by: Cleofe G. Coquilla

This module intends to let the students:
1.Compare African society to the Philippine society by reading the poem
2.Internalize the content of the poem
3.Construct an essay about the piece

 Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, son, 
they used to laugh with their hearts 
and laugh with their eyes: 
but now they only laugh with their teeth, 
while their ice-block-cold eyes 
search behind my shadow. 

There was a time indeed 
they used to shake hands with their hearts: 
but that’s gone, son. 
Now they shake hands without hearts: 
while their left hands search 
my empty pockets. 

‘Feel at home’! ‘Come again’: 
they say, and when I come 
again and feel 
at home, once, twice, 
there will be no thrice – 
for then I find doors shut on me. 

So I have learned many things, son. 
I have learned to wear many faces 
like dresses – homeface, 
officeface, streetface, hostface, 
cocktailface, with all their conforming smiles 
like a fixed portrait smile. 
And I have learned too 
to laugh with only my teeth 
and shake hands without my heart. 
I have also learned to say, ‘Goodbye’, 
when I mean ‘Good-riddance’; 
to say ‘Glad to meet you’, 
without being glad; and to say ‘It’s been 
nice talking to you’, after being bored. 

But believe me, son. 
I want to be what I used to be 
when I was like you. I want 
to unlearn all these muting things. 
Most of all, I want to relearn 
how to laugh, for my laugh in the mirror 
shows only my teeth like a snake’s bare fangs! 

So show me, son, 
how to laugh; show me how 
I used to laugh and smile 
once upon a time when I was like you. 


Gabriel Okara (Gabriel Inomotimi Gbaingbain Okara) is a Nigerian poet and novelist, born in Bumoundi in the Niger delta, educated at Government College, Umuahia, Yaba Higher College, and Northwestern University, USA. He became a book-binder, and wrote plays and features for broadcasting. Later, he was employed as Information Officer for the Eastern Nigerian Government Service. Together with Chinua Achebe, and at the time of the Nigerian Civil War, he was roving ambassador for Biafra's cause during part of 1969. His poetry appeared in Black Orpheus and major anthologies for many years, before the publication of his first collection, Fisherman's Invocation (1978; Commonwealth Poetry Prize, 1979), which is partly based on the Ijaw oral tradition. The Voice (1964), a short novel which experiments with rendering Ijaw speech patterns into English, made a great impact in its depiction of the doomed ‘hero’ Okolo, a charismatic and prophetic figure, undergoing Kafkaesque trials in his quest for truth and integrity (it) in the modern world.

1. Who is talking in the poem?
2. Who do you think is the son mentioned in the poem?
3. Explain the second stanza and its implication to the society.
4. How do African society differ from the Philippine society?
5. Summarize the thought of the poem.
6. Make an essay about the piece.

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Selected poem no.1

Module 8:  AFRICA by David Diop
Posted by: Cleofe G. Coquilla

    This module intends to let the students:

ü  1. Give the general notion of the poem.
ü            2..Appreciate the poem and relate it to their own experiences.
ü           3.  Draw an interpretation about the poem.

   BY:David Diop

Africa, my Africa

Africa of proud warriors in ancestral savannahs
Africa of whom my grandmother sings
On the banks of the distant river
I have never known you
But your blood flows in my veins
Your beautiful black blood that irrigates the fields

The blood of your sweat
The sweat of your work
The work of your slavery
Africa, tell me Africa

Is this really you?, This back which is bent
This back that breaks
Under the weight of humiliation
This back trembling with red scars
And saying “yes’’ to the whip under the midday sun

But a grave voice answers me
Impetuous child that tree, young and strong
That tree over there
Splendidly alone amidst white and faded flowers
That is your Africa springing up anew
Springing up patiently, obstinately
Whose fruit bit by bit acquires
The bitter taste of liberty.

BIOGRAPHY of the author:

On July 9, 1927, David Mandessi Diop was born in Bordeaux, France, to a Cameroonean mother and a Sengalese father. Although he grew up in France and lived most of his life there, Diop spent significant time living and teaching in Africa, which helped reinforce his opposition to European society. Consequently, many of his poems discuss his empathy with Africa and the movement for independence from French Colonialists.

Influenced by Aimé Césaire, his verse first appeared in the journal Présence Africaine and in Léopold Senghor's Anthologie de la nouvelle poésie négre et malgache. Diop's poems in Coups de pilon (1956; "Pounding"), his only surviving collection, are angry protestations and depictions of the evils of slavery and colonialism.

In 1960, Diop was killed in an airplane crash traveling home to France from Dakar, Senegal. Diop had only published one volume of poems and a number of reviews and essays, but at the age of thirty-three, he had already established himself as an important writer in the Negritude movement and one of the most highly regarded men of letters in West Africa.


1.What do you feel upon reading the poem?
2.Describe the persona in the poem.
3.Point out some striking lines in the poem and explain.
4.In your own little way how can you help ameliorate the sad plight of the Africans?
5. What is the theme of the poem?
6. Draw your own interpretation of the poem.


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African race

Module 7: African race
Posted by: Cleofe G. Coquilla

Objectives: This module intends to let the students:
 1. Identify the different contributions of African people

 2. Appreciate African race
 3. Write something about the African people

Famous African people who excelled in different fields:


Eddie Murphy:

 Is an American actor, a comedian and a singer.
 He won the Golden Globe for the best supporting actor for his role in ‘Dreamgirls’.
 Nominated for various awards including the Oscars and BAFTA.

Halle Berry:

 Is an American actress who became the first African American to win the Academy Award.

 The first Afriican-American to take part in the Miss World.
In 2001 she won the Academy Award for the Best Actress for her film 'Monster's Ball‘.
 In 2003, she topped For Him Magazine's list of 100 Sexiest Women in the World. 

 Morgan Freeman:

 Is an academy award winner African-American actor.
 In 2005 he won an Academy Award for 'Million Dollar Baby.
 In 1989 a Golden Globe for 'Driving Miss Daisy'
 Has a production company named Revelations Entertainment. 

Will Smith:

 Is an American actor, a talented rapper.
 Has been nominated for two Academy Awards and four Golden Globes.
 The only actor to have eight consecutive films open at Number 1 position and eight consecutive films to gross over $100 million. 


Barack Obama:

 Lawyer
 Attended Harvard Law School.
 In 1990 became the first African-American Editor of the Harvard Law review.
 In 2004 he was elected to the U.S. Senate.
 The first African-American ever elected as president in U.S.A (2008). 

Nelson Mandela:

 Is a man who stood firm and took his country from the extremes of apartheid through to democracy.
 He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (1993)
 Received more than 250 awards that are in every way honorable
 Elected as first president of a democratic South Africa.


Chris Gardner:

Successful motivational and aspirational speaker
Passionate philanthropist
In May 2006 ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ became a New York Times and Washington Post #1 bestseller.

Maya Angelou:

 Is an author,poet,historian,songwriter,playwright,dancer,stage and screen producer,director,performer,singer,and civil rights activist.
 The first black woman director in Hollywood.

Chinua achebe:

The foremost Nigerian novelist and poet.
His novels are primarily directed to an African audience , but their psychological insights have gained them universal acceptance. 
Has been active in Nigerian politics since the 1960s.


Jessie owens:

American track-and-field athlete, who set a world record in the running broad jump (also called long jump) that stood for 25 years 
Who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. 

Jackie robinson:

 The first African-America baseball  player in the modern major leagues
 In 1949 he won the National League batting crown, hitting .342, and was named the NL's most valuable player


1. Describe Africans
2. What can you say about the Africans?
3. What is the unique thing about them that made them different from the other races?
4. Why do you think they emerged victoriously in different fields?
5. Despite of their achievements,why do they are still considered as victims of racial discrimination?

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Sample Story

Module 6: Sample Stories
Posted by: Cleofe G. Coquilla

                                           Half a Day
                                           By:Naguib Mahfouz

I proceeded alongside my father, clutching his right hand, running to keep up with the long strides he was taking. All my clothes were new: the black shoes, the green school uniform, and the red tarbush. My delight in my new clothes, however, was not altogether unmarred, for this was no feast day but the day on which I was to be cast into school for the first time.
My mother stood at the window watching our progress, and I would turn toward her from time to time, as tough appealing for help. We walked along a street lined with gardens; on both sides were extensive fields planted with crops, prickly pears, henna trees, and a few date palms.

"Why school?" I challenged my father openly. "I shall never do anything to annoy you."

"I'm not punishing you," he said, laughing. "School's not a punishment. It's the factory that makes useful men out of boys. Don't you want to be like your father and brothers?"

I was not convinced. I did not believe there was really any good to be had in tearing me away from the intimacy of my home and throwing me into this building that stood at the end of the road like some huge, high-walled fortress, exceedingly stern and grim.

When we arrived at the gate we could see the courtyard, vast and crammed full of boys and girls. "Go in by yourself," said my father, "and join them. Put a smile on your face and be a good example to others."

I hesitated and clung to his hand, but he gently pushed me from him. "Be a man," he said. "Today you truly begin life. You will find me waiting for you when it's time to leave."

I took a few steps, then stopped and looked but saw nothing. Then the faces of boys and girls came into view. I did not know a single one of them, and none of them knew me. I felt I was a stranger who had lost his way. But glances of curiosity were directed toward me, and one boy approached and asked, "Who brought you?"

"My father," I whispered.

"My father's dead," he said quite simply.

I did not know what to say. The gate was closed, letting out a pitiable screech. Some of the children burst into tears. The bell rang. A lady came along, followed by a group of men. The men began sorting us into ranks. We were formed into an intricate pattern in the great courtyard surrounded on three sides by high buildings of several floors; from each floor we were overlooked by a long balcony roofed in wood.

"This is your new home," said the woman. "Here too there are mothers and fathers. Here there is everything that is enjoyable and beneficial to knowledge and religion. Dry your tears and face life joyfully."

We submitted to the facts, and this submission brought a sort of contentment. Living beings were drawn to other living beings, and from the first moments my heart made friends with such boys as were to be my friends and fell in love with such girls as I was to be in love with, so that it seemed my misgivings had had no basis. I had never imagined school would have this rich variety. We played all sorts of different games: swings, the vaulting horse, ball games. In the music room we chanted our first songs. We also had our first introduction to language. We saw a globe of the Earth, which revolved and showed the various continents and countries. We started learning the numbers. The story of the Creator of the Universe was read to us, we were told of His present world and of His Hereafter, and we heard examples of what He said. We ate delicious food, took a little nap, and woke up to go on with friendship and love, play and learning.

As our path revealed itself to us, however, we did not find it as totally sweet and unclouded as we had presumed. Dust-laden winds and unexpected accidents came about suddenly, so we had to be watchful, at the ready and very patient. It was not all a matter of playing and fooling around. Rivalries could bring pain and hatred or give rise to fighting. And while the lady would sometimes smile, she would often scowl and scold. Even more frequently she would resort to physical punishment.

In addition, the time for changing one's mind was over and gone and there was no question of ever returning to the paradise of home. Nothing lay ahead of us but exertion, struggle, and perseverance. Those who were able took advantage of the opportunities for success and happiness that presented themselves amid the worries.

The bell rang announcing the passing of the day and the end of work. The throngs of children rushed toward the gate, which was opened again. I bade farewell to friends and sweethearts and passed through the gate. I peered around but found no trace of my father, who had promised to be there. I stepped aside to wait. When I had waited for a long time without avail, I decided to return home by my own. After I had taken a few steps, a middle-aged man passed by, and I realized at once that I knew him. He came toward me, smiling, and shook me by the hand, saying, "It's a long time since we last met - how are you?"

With a nod of my head, I agreed with him and in turn asked, "And you, how are you?"

"As you can see, not all that good, the Almighty be praised!"

Again he shook me by the hand and went off. I preceded a few steps, and then came to a startled halt. Good Lord! Where was the street lined with gardens? Where had it disappeared to? When did all these vehicles invade it? And when did all these hordes of humanity come to rest upon its surface? How did these hills of refuse come to cover its sides? And where were the fields that bordered it? High buildings had taken over, the street surged with children, and disturbing noises shook the air. At various points stood conjurers showing off their tricks and making snakes appear from baskets. Then there was a band announcing the opening of a circus, with clowns and weight lifters walking in front. A line of trucks carrying central security troops crawled majestically by. The siren of a fire engine shrieked, and it was not clear how the vehicle would cleave its way to reach the blazing fire. A battle raged between a taxi driver and his passenger, while the passenger's wife called out for help and no one answered. Good God! I was in a daze. My head spun. I almost went crazy. How could all this have happened in half a day, between early morning and sunset? I would find the answer at home with my father. But where was my home? I could see only tall buildings and hordes of people. I hastened on to the crossroads between the gardens and Abou Khoda. I had to cross Abou Khoda to reach my house, but the stream of cars would not let up. The fire engine's siren was shrieking at full pitch as it moved at a snail's pace, and I said to myself, "Let the fire take its pleasure in what it consumes."

Extremely irritated, I wondered when I would be able to cross. I stood there a long time, until the young lad employed at the ironing shop on the corner came up to me. He stretched out his arm and said gallantly, "Grandpa, let me take you across."

Biography of the author:

Naguib Mahfouz, recipient of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature, was born in Cairo, Egypt. His father was a civil servant, and he grew up in a middle-class family. After begin educated at Cairo University, he worked as a civil servant until 1972. He served in the ministry of Mortmain Endowments and later as Director of Censorship in the Bureau of Art. He also worked as a journalist at AR-RISALA and as a contributer to A-HILAL and AL-AHRAM.

Mahfouz began writing when he was 17 and has produced throughout his life 32 novels, 13 collections of short stories, and 30 screenplays. He has written both historical and modern novels. His first novel, ABATH AL-AQDAR (MOCKERY OF THE FATES), was published when he was 28. One of his major works, THE CAIRO TRILOGY, was published in the 1950s. He was the first Arabic writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

1.Describe the narrator's attitude toward schooling.
2.Describe the narrator's father. How did the father treat his son? why?
3.What experiences changed the attitude of the boy toward schooling?
4.What was the boy's attitude toward the teachers?
5.Who was the man who helped him?
6.What did the boy noticed as he walked home?
7.What are the the rhetorical questions the boy uttered in the story? What do they reveal about him? What did he feel toward the world outside, alone?
8.What happened at the end of the story? What do you think would happen to the boy?
9.Why was the boy called grandpa in the end?
10.What is the theme of the story?

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Major African Writers

Module 5:  Major African Writers

Posted by:  Cleofe G. Coquilla

Chinua Achebe

(Born Nov. 16, 1930, Ogidi, Nigeria) prominent Igbo (Ibo) novelist acclaimed for his unsentimental depictions of the social and psychological disorientation accompanying the imposition of Western customs and values upon traditional African society. His particular concern was with emergent Africa at its moments of crisis; his novels range in subject matter from the first contact of an African village with the white man to the educated African's attempt to create a firm moral order out of the changing values in a large city.
Educated in English at the University of Ibadan, Achebe taught for a short time before joining the staff of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in Lagos, where he served as director of external broadcasting during 1961–66. In 1967 he cofounded a publishing company at Enugu with the poet Christopher Okigbo, who died shortly thereafter in the Nigerian civil war. In 1969 Achebe toured the United States with his fellow writers Gabriel Okara and Cyprian Ekwensi, lecturing at universities. Upon his return to Nigeria he was appointed research fellow at the University of Nigeria and became professor of English, a position he held from 1976 until 1981 (professor emeritus from 1985). He was director (from 1970) of two Nigerian publishers, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. and Nwankwo-Ifejika Ltd. After an automobile accident in Nigeria in 1990 that left him partially paralyzed, he moved to the United States, where he taught at Bard College in New York. In 2009 Achebe left Bard to join the faculty of Brown University in Providence, R.I.
Things Fall Apart (1958), Achebe's first novel, concerns traditional Igbo life at the time of the advent of missionaries and colonial government in his homeland. His principal character cannot accept the new order, even though the old has already collapsed. In No Longer at Ease (1960) he portrayed a newly appointed civil servant, recently returned from university study in England, who is unable to sustain the moral values he believes to be correct in the face of the obligations and temptations of his new position.
In Arrow of God (1964), set in the 1920s in a village under British administration, the principal character, the chief priest of the village, whose son becomes a zealous Christian, turns his resentment at the position he is placed in by the white man against his own people. A Man of the People (1966) and Anthills of the Savannah (1987) deal with corruption and other aspects of postcolonial African life.
Achebe also published several collections of short stories and a children's book, How the Leopard Got His Claws (1973; with John Iroaganachi). Beware, Soul-Brother (1971) and Christmas in Biafra (1973) are collections of poetry. Another Africa (1998) combines an essay and poems by Achebe with photographs by Robert Lyons. Achebe's books of essays include Morning Yet on Creation Day (1975), Hopes and Impediments (1988), Home and Exile (2000), and The Education of a British-Protected Child (2009). In 2007 he won the Man Booker International Prize.

Ousmane Sembène
(Born on January 1, 1923, Ziguenchor, Casamance, Senegal and died last  June 9, 2007, Dakar, Senegal). The first film director from an African country to achieve international recognition, Ousmane Sembene remains the major figure in the rise of an independent post-colonial African cinema. Sembene's roots were not, as might be expected, in the educated élite. After working as a mechanic and bricklayer, he joined the Free French forces in 1942, serving in Africa and France. In 1946, he returned to Dakar, where he participated in the great railway strike of 1947. The next year he returned to France, where he worked in a Citröen factory in Paris, and then, for ten years, on the dock in Marseilles. During this time Sembene became very active in trade union struggles and began an extraordinarily successful writing career. His first novel, "Le Docker Noir", was published in 1956 to critical acclaim. Since then, he has produced a number of works which have placed him in the foreground of the international literary scene. Long an avid filmgoer, Sembene became aware that to reach a mass audience of workers and preliterate Africans outside urban centers, cinema was a more effective vehicle than the written word. In 1961, he traveled to Moscow to study film at VGIK and then to work at the Gorky Studios. Upon his return to Senegal, Sembene turned his attention to filmmaking and, after two short films, he wrote and directed his first feature, Black Girl (1969)(english title: Black Girl). Received with great enthusiasm at a number of international film festivals, it also won the prestigious Jean Vigo Prize for its director. Shot in a simple, quasi-documentary style probably influenced by the French New Wave, BLACK GIRL tells the tragic story of a young Senegalese woman working as a maid for an affluent French family on the Riviera, focusing on her sense of isolation and growing despair. Her country may have been "decolonized," but she is still a colonial -- a non-person in the colonizers' world. Sembene's next film, Mandabi (1968) (english title: The Money Order), marked a sharp departure. Based on his novel of the same name and shot in color in two language versions--French and Wolof, the main dialect of Senegal--THE MONEY ORDER is a trenchant and often delightfully witty satire of the new bourgeoisie, torn between outmoded patriarchal traditions and an uncaring, rapacious and inefficient bureaucracy. Emitai (1971) records the struggle of the Diola people of the Casamance region of Senegal (where Sembene grew up) against the French authorities during WWII. Shot in Diola dialect and French from an original script, EMITAI offers a respectful but unromanticized depiction of an ancient tribal culture, while highlighting the role of women in the struggle against colonialist oppression. In Xala (1975), Sembene again takes on the native bourgeoisie, this time in the person of a rich, partially Westernized Moslem businessman afflicted by "xala" (impotence) on the night of his wedding to a much younger third wife. Ceddo (1977), considered by many to be Sembene's masterpiece, departs from the director's customary realist approach, documenting the struggle over the last centuries of an unspecified African society against the incursions of Islam and European colonialism. Featuring a strong female central character, CEDDO is a powerful evocation of the African experience.

Naguib Mahfouz
Born in Cairo in 1911, Naguib Mahfouz began writing when he was seventeen. His first novel was published in 1939 and ten more were written before the Egyptian Revolution of July 1952, when he stopped writing for several years. One novel was republished in 1953, however, and the appearance of the Cairo Triology, Bayn al Qasrayn, Qasr al Shawq, Sukkariya (Between-the-Palaces, Palace of Longing, Sugarhouse) in 1957 made him famous throughout the Arab world as a depictor of traditional urban life. With The Children of Gebelawi (1959), he began writing again, in a new vein that frequently concealed political judgements under allegory and symbolism. Works of this second period include the novels, The Thief and the Dogs (1961), Autumn Quail (1962), Small Talk on the Nile (1966), and Miramar (1967), as well as several collections of short stories.

Until 1972, Mahfouz was employed as a civil servant, first in the Ministry of Mortmain Endowments, then as Director of Censorship in the Bureau of Art, as Director of the Foundation for the Support of the Cinema, and, finally, as consultant on Cultural Affairs to the Ministry of Culture. The years since his retirement from the Egyptian bureaucracy have seen an outburst of further creativity, much of it experimental. He is now the author of no fewer than thirty novels, more than a hundred short stories, and more than two hundred articles. Half of his novels have been made into films which have circulated throughout the Arabic-speaking world. In Egypt, each new publication is regarded as a major cultural event and his name is inevitably among the first mentioned in any literary discussion from Gibraltar to the Gulf.

Peter Abrahams
For the crime fiction novelist, see Peter Abrahams (US author).Peter Abrahams (born March 3, 1919) is a South African novelist. His father was from Ethiopia and his mother was classified by South Africa as a mixed race person, a "Kleurling" or Coloured. He was born in Vrededorp, nearby Johannesburg, but left South Africa in 1939. He worked first as a sailor, and then as a journalist in London, at which time, he lived with his wife, Daphne, at Loughton. Whilst in London, he met several important black leaders and writers, such as Jomo Kenyatta. He then settled in Jamaica in 1956. One of South Africa's most prominent black writers,[2] his work deals with political and social issues, especially with racism. His novel, Mine Boy (1946), one of the first works to bring him to critical attention,[3] and his memoir Tell Freedom (1954)[4] deal in part with apartheid.[5] His other works include the story collection Dark Testament (1942) and the novels The Path of Thunder (1948), A Wreath for Udomo (1956), A Night of Their Own (1965), the Jamaica-set This Island Now (1966, the only one of his novels not set in Africa) and The View from Coyaba (1985). He also wrote This Island Now, which speaks to the ways power and money can change most people's perspectives.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o
Ngũgĩ was born in Kamiriithu, near Limuru in Kiambu district, Kenya, of Kĩkũyũ descent, and baptised James Ngugi. His family was caught up in the Mau Mau rebellion; his half brother Mwangi was actively involved in the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, and his mother was tortured at Kamriithu homeguard post.[6] He received a B.A. in English from Makerere University College in Kampala, Uganda, in 1963; during his education, a play of his, The Black Hermit, was produced in Kampala in 1962.
He published his first novel, Weep Not, Child, in 1964, which he wrote while attending the University of Leeds in England. It was the first novel in English to be published by an East African. His second novel, The River Between (1965), has as its background the Mau Mau rebellion, and described an unhappy romance between Christians and non-Christians. The River Between is currently on Kenya's national secondary school syllabus.[7][8]
His novel A Grain of Wheat (1967) marked his embrace of Fanonist Marxism. He subsequently renounced English, Christianity, and the name James Ngugi as colonialist; he changed his name back to Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, and began to write in his native Gĩkũyũ and Swahili. The uncensored political message of his 1977 play Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want) provoked then Vice President Daniel arap Moi to order his arrest. While detained in the Kamiti Maximum Security Prison, he wrote the first modern novel in Gĩkũyũ, Caitaani mũtharaba-Inĩ (Devil on the Cross), on prison-issued toilet paper.
After his release, he was not reinstated to his job as professor at Nairobi University, and his family was harassed. Due to his writing about the injustices of the dictatorial government at the time, Ngugi and his family were forced to live in exile. Only after Arap Moi was voted out of office, 22 years later, was it safe for them to return.
His later works include Detained, his prison diary (1981), Decolonising the Mind: The Politics of Language in African Literature (1986), an essay arguing for African writers' expression in their native languages, rather than European languages, in order to renounce lingering colonial ties and to build an authentic African literature, and Matigari (1987), one of his most famous works, a satire based on a Gĩkũyũ folktale.
In 1992 he became a professor of Comparative Literature and Performance Studies at New York University, where he held the Erich Maria Remarque Chair. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature as well as the Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation at the University of California, Irvine.
On August 8, 2004, Ngũgĩ returned to Kenya as part of a month-long tour of East Africa. On August 11, robbers broke into his apartment: they assaulted both the Professor and his wife, and stole money and a computer.[9] Since then, Ngũgĩ has returned to America, and in the summer 2006 the American publishing firm Random House published his first new novel in nearly two decades, Wizard of the Crow, translated to English from Gĩkũyũ by the author.
On November 10, 2006, while in San Francisco at Hotel Vitale at the Embarcadero, Ngũgĩ was harassed and ordered to leave the hotel by an employee. The event led to a public outcry and angered the Kenyan community in the San Francisco Bay area and abroad,[10] prompting an apology by the hotel

Nkosi Lewis
Lewis Nkosi (born 1936) is known chiefly for his scholarly studies of contemporary African literature, and is the author of the novel "Mating Birds" (1986). Critics enthusiastically praised Nkosi's prose style and narrative structure in "Mating Birds", and several have compared the work with Albert Camus's "The Stranger".
Nkosi was born in Natal, South Africa, and attended local schools before enrolling at M. L. Sultan Technical College in Durban. In 1956 he joined the staff of Drum magazine, a publication founded in 1951 by and for African writers. In his Home and Exile and Other Selections (1965), Nkosi described Drum's young writers as "the new African[s] cut adrift from the tribal reserve - urbanised, eager, fast-talking and brash." According to Neil Lazarus, the description fitted Nkosi as well. "Nkosi's whole bearing as a writer," he wrote, "was decisively shaped by the years in Johannesburg working for the magazine." In 1960 Nkosi left South Africa on a one-way "exit permit" after accepting a fellowship to study at Harvard University. Now living in England, he teaches and writes articles on African literature. In addition to the novel Mating Birds, he has also produced several plays and collections of essays, including The Rhythm of Violence (1963), Malcolm (1972), The Transplanted Heart: Essays on South Africa (1975), and Tasks and Masks: Themes and Styles of African Literature (1981).
Mating Birds tells the story of Sibiya, who spots a white woman across a fence on a segregated beach in Durban. Although the rules of apartheid keep them from speaking to each other, they begin a wordless flirtation across the fence. Soon Sibiya becomes obsessed with the woman and follows her everywhere. He learns that her name is Veronica and that she is a stripper at the local nightclub. One day Sibiya follows Veronica to her bungalow. Seeing him, she undresses in front of the open door and lies down on the bed. Sibiya enters her bedroom and has sex with her. Shortly after, they are discovered, and Veronica accuses Sibiya of rape. He is then beaten, arrested, and sentenced to death.
Many critics viewed Mating Birds as a commentary on South Africa's system of apartheid. George Packer, for example, observed: "Mating Birds feels like the work of a superb critic. Heavy with symbolism, analytical rather than dramatic, it attempts nothing less than an allegory of colonialism and apartheid, one that dares to linger in complexity." Other commentators, however, attacked the novel's ambiguous depiction of rape. "Nkosi's handling of the sexual themes complicates the distribution of our sympathies, which he means to be unequivocally with the accused man," noted Rob Nixon in the Village Voice. "For in rebutting the prevalent white South African fantasy of the black male as a sex-crazed rapist, Nkosi edges unnecessarily close to reinforcing the myth of the raped woman as someone who deep down was asking for it." For Henry Louis Gates, Jr., even the question of whether Sibiya raped at all remains unclear. This causes problems for the reader, as "we are never certain who did what to whom or why." Sibiya himself is unsure: "But how could I make the judges or anyone else believe me when I no longer knew what to believe myself? … Had I raped the girl or not?" Gates responded: "We cannot say. Accordingly, this novel's great literary achievement - its vivid depiction of obsession - leads inevitably to its great flaw." Sara Maitland further objected to Nkosi's portrayal of the white woman: "Surely there must be another way for Nkosi's commitment, passion and beautiful writing to describe the violence and injustice of how things are than this stock image of the pale evil seductress, the eternally corrupting female?" Despite the novel's shortcomings, Michiko Kakutani concluded in the New York Times, Mating Birds "nonetheless attests to the emergence of … a writer whose vision of South Africa remains fiercely his own." Similarly, Sherman W. Smith lauded: "Lewis Nkosi certainly must be one of the best writers out of Africa in our time."
Exiled after leaving South Africa to study at Harvard University, Lewis Nkosi has written short stories, plays, and criticism from his adopted home in England. Much of his work, however, deals with African literature and social concerns. "As a playwright and short-story writer, he is also the most subtly experimental of the black South African writers, many of whom are caught in the immediacy of the struggle against apartheid," comments Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in the New York Times Book Review. According to Alistair Niven in British Book News Nkosi is "one of the architects of the contemporary black consciousness in South Africa."

Mongo Beti

Alexandre Biyidi Awala (30 June 1932 - 8 October 2001), known as Mongo Beti, was a Cameroonian writer.Though he lived in exile for many decades, Beti's life reveals an unflagging commitment to improvement of his home country. As one critic wrote after his death, "The militant path of this essayist, chronicler and novelist has been governed by one obsession: the quest for the dignity of African peoples." The son of Oscar Awala and Régine Alomo, Alexandre was born in 1932 at Akométan, a small village 10 km from Mbalmayo, itself 45 km away from Yaoundé, capital of Cameroon. (The village's name comes from Akom 'rock' and Etam 'source': in old maps of the region, the name is written in two parts).
From an early age, Beti was influenced by the currents of rebellion sweeping Africa in the wake of World War II. His father drowned when Beti was seven, and he was raised by his mother and extended family. Beti recalls arguing with his mother about religion and colonialism; he also recalls early exposure to the opinions and analysis of independence leader Ruben Um Nyobe, both in the villages and at Nyobe's private residence. He carried these views into the classroom, and was eventually expelled from the missionary school in Mbalmayo for his outspokenness. In 1945 he entered the lycée Leclerc in Yaoundé. Graduating in 1951, he came to France to continue his higher education in literature, first at Aix-en-Provence, then at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Wole Soyinka
Soyinka was born on 13 July 1934, in the city of Abeokuta, Ogun State in Nigeria's Western Region (at that time a British dominion), as the second of six children of Samuel Ayodele Soyinka and Grace Eniola Soyinka. His father, whom he often refers to as S.A. or "Essay" in literalized form, was the headmaster of St. Peters School in Abokuta. Soyinka's mother, dubbed by him as "Wild Christian", owned a shop in the nearby market and was a political activist within the women's movement in the local community. His mother was Anglican, although much of the community followed indigenous Yorùbá religious tradition. Soyinka grew up in an atmosphere of religious syncretism, with influences from both Christianity and his culture's traditional beliefs. The home of the Soyinka family had electricity and radio (chiefly thanks to his father).
In 1940, after attending St. Peters Primary School, Soyinka went to Abokuta Grammar School, where he won several prizes for literary composition. In 1946 he was accepted by Government College in Ibadan, at that time one of Nigeria’s elite secondary schools. After the completion of his studies there, Soyinka moved to Lagos where he found employment as a clerk. During this time he wrote some radio plays and short stories that were broadcast on Nigerian radio stations. After finishing his course in 1952, he began studies at University College in Ibadan, connected with University of London. During this course he studied English literature, Greek, and Western history.
In the year 1953-1954, his second and last at University College, Ibadan, Soyinka commenced work on his first publication, a short radio broadcast for Nigerian Broadcasting Service National Programme called "Keffi's Birthday Threat," which was broadcast in July 1954 on Nigerian Radio Times. Whilst at university, Soyinka and six others founded the Pyrates Confraternity, the first confraternity in Nigeria.
Soyinka gives a detailed account of his early life in Aké: The Years of Childhood, which chronicles his experiences until about the age of ten.

 Moses Isegawa

Moses Isegawa, also known as Sey Wava (b. 10 August 1963), is a Ugandan author. He has written novels set against the political turmoil of Uganda, which he left in 1990 for The Netherlands. His debut novel Abyssinian Chronicles, was first published in Amsterdam in 1998, selling more than 100,000 copies and gaining him widespread national attention. It was also very well reviewed in 2001, when published in English in the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US). Isegawa became a naturalized Dutch citizen, but he returned to live in Uganda in 2006.Sey Wava was born to a middle-class Catholic family in Kampala, Uganda. His parents sent him to good schools, and he attended a Catholic seminary and the University of Makerere.[1] Wava first worked as a history teacher. Wava worked as a history teacher before leaving for The Netherlands in 1990 at the age of 27.
When he began publishing his writing formally, he used the pseudonym of Moses Isegawa. His first novel, Abyssinian Chronicles, a Bildungsroman set during the 1970s and 1980s, was written in English but first published in Dutch in The Netherlands in 1998. It sold more than 100,000 copies in a nation of 16 million people, creating a stir that earned him an invitation to Parliament and a profile on television. When published in English in 2001 in the UK, Australia and North America, the novel was also generally well received, although its faults were also noted by critics. For instance, Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times wrote: "His story has a strange amoral power, an immediacy and raw energy that capture the chaotic move of his times."
His second novel Snakepit (1999), was set directly in the years of the dictatorship of Idi Amin. It is an examination of evil and corruption. Isegawa resided for more than 15 years in Beverwijk, a small town near Amsterdam and became a naturalized Dutch citizen. He regularly visited Kuala Lumpur, and moved back to Uganda in 2006.

Nuruddin Farah

Born in Baidoa, Somalia, Farah is the son of a merchant father and a poet mother. As a child, he attended school at Kallafo in the Ogaden, and studied English, Arabic, and Amharic. In 1963, three years after Somalia's independence, Farah was forced to flee the Ogaden following serious border conflicts. For several years thereafter, he pursued a degree in philosophy, literature and sociology at Panjab University in Chandigarh, India.
After releasing an early short story in his native Somali language, Farah shifted to writing in English while still attending university in India. His first novel, From a Crooked Rib (1970), told the story of a nomad girl who flees from an arranged marriage to a much older man. The novel earned him mild but international acclaim. On a tour of Europe following the publication of A Naked Needle (1976), Farah was warned that the Somali government planned to arrest him over its contents. Rather than return and face imprisonment, Farah began a self-imposed exile that would last for twenty-two years, teaching in the United States, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Sudan, India and Nigeria. In 1990, he received a grant from the German Academic Exchange Service and moved to Berlin. In 1996, he visited Somalia for the first time in more than twenty years. He lives with his second wife and two children in Cape Town.[1]
Farah describes his purpose for writing as an attempt "to keep my country alive by writing about it". His trilogies of novels Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship (1980-1983) and Blood in the Sun (1986-1999) form the core of his work. Though Variations was well-received in a number of countries, Farah's reputation was cemented by his most famous novel, Maps (1986), the first part of his Blood in the Sun trilogy. Maps, which is set during the Ogaden conflict of 1977, employs the innovative technique of second-person narration for exploring questions of cultural identity in a post-independence world. He followed the novel with Gifts (1993) and Secrets (1998), both of which earned awards.
Farah has garnered acclaim as one of the greatest contemporary writers in the world. Having published many short stories, novels and essays, his prose has earned him, among other accolades, the Premio Cavour in Italy, the Kurt Tucholsky Prize in Sweden, the Lettre Ulysses Award in Berlin, and in 1998, the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature. In the same year, the French edition of his novel Gifts also won the St. Malo Literature Festival’s prize.[2] In addition, Farah is a perennial nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature, which is one of the only major literary prizes he has yet to win.

Birhanu Zerihun
Birhanu Zerihun (1933/4 – 1987) was an Ethiopian writer noted for his clear and crisp writing style, which contrasted against the more complex writing style popular in his time. While he started writing literature in school, Zerihun never wrote professionally until he became a journalist in 1959/1960. Initially he embarked on various literary pursuits, including novels such as Ye'imba debdabbéwoch ("Yearful Letters"), a collection of short stories titled Birr ambar sebberelliwo ("He Pierced the Hymen"), and writings dealing with Ethiopian political themes such as starvation. Among the latter genre, Yetewodros Emba and Mister are noted works of historical fiction about Emperor Tewordos II. Birhanu has written several popular plays, but above all is famous for his trilogy novel Ma'ebel Ye'abiot Wazema ("Wave on the eve of a revolution"), Ma'ebel Ye'abiot Mebacha ("Wave on the dawn of the revolution") and Ma'ebel Ye'abiot Magist ("Wave on the aftermath of the revolution"). They were novels which depicts and interpretes the social structure of Ethiopian society during the feudalism era and after the revolution.

Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa
Daniel Olorunfmi Fagunwa MBE (1903 — December 9, 1963), popularly known as D.O. Fagunwa, was a Nigerian author who pioneered the Yoruba language novel. He was born in Oke-Igbo, Ondo State, a chief of the Yoruba, Fagunwa studied at St. Luke's School, Oke-Igbo and St. Andrew's College, Oyo before becoming a teacher himself.
In 1938, Fagunwa wrote his Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irunmale, after entering a literary contest of the Nigerian education ministry, the novel was widely considered the first novel written in the Yorùbá language and one of the first to be written in any African language; Wole Soyinka translated the book into English in 1968 as The Forest of A Thousand Demons. Fagunwa's later works include Igbo Olodumare (The Forest of God, 1949), Ireke Onibudo (1949), Irinkerindo ninu Igbo Elegbeje (Expedition to the Mount of Thought, 1954), and Adiitu Olodumare (1961).
Fagunwa's novels draw heavily on folktale traditions and idioms, including many supernatural elements. His heroes are usually Yoruba hunters, who interact with kings, sages, and even gods in their quests. Thematically, his novels also explore the divide between the Christian beliefs of Africa's colonizers and the continent's traditional religions. Fagunwa remains the most widely-read Yorùbá-language author, and a major influence on such contemporary writers as Amos Tutuola.
Fagunwa was awarded the Margaret Wong Prize in 1955 and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1959. He died in a motor accident in 1963.
D. O. Fagunwa was the first Nigerian writer to employ folk philosophy in telling his stories with exceedingly powerful imaginations.

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