Editorial 02

A new partnership marked the beginning of the year, as The Ofi Press Magazine, edited by Jack Little, joined forces with Bakwa and there is a collaborative issue forthcoming in December, wherein Bakwa will showcase Mexican writers while the Ofi Press will feature West African writers.

This issue takes us on a journey to the consciousness of writers, editors and critics who are usually obfuscated by their art and second-guessed by criticism — which is at times ad hominem — and speculation. We intend to set the record straight by hearing what the artist has to say, given that the notable Italian semiotician and historian, Umberto Eco, opines that interpretation is indefinite.

With contributions from Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Mexico, Paris, and the U.K., this issue’s scope is far-reaching and it opens with the political cartoons of Dante Besong which dissect contemporary Cameroon with scathing satire without losing its experimental beauty. We then plunge into conversations with Joyce Ashuntantang, an ardent critic and defender of Anglophone Cameroonian literature; Ntone Edjabe, who is editor of Chimurenga Magazine by day and D.J. by night; Ikhide Ikheloa, who is notorious for having strong opinions about the literature of Africa; and Paola Audrey-Ndengue, editor of Fashizblack Magazine, a groundbreaking fashion magazine that focuses on the Black diaspora.

Temitayo Olofinlua offers superb fiction which explores loss, friendship, social media, disillusionment, and the religious fanaticism of Boko Haram, while in an excerpt from Bom Boy, Yewande Omotoso’s novel, we discover a troubled young man living in the suburbs of Cape Town. Johnnie MacViban’s commentary serves as a clarion call for the Cameroonian tourism industry which is lagging behind.A discovery of Cuba, laden with history and culture will be exhilarating as Sebastiaan Bedaux’s pictures capture the essence and soul of Havana. Finally, there is a cocktail of poetry in this issue— no Molotov cocktails though— as John Stocks (United Kingdom), Jack Little (Mexico), Nouck Protus (Cameroon), Dennis M. Lane (South Africa), Virginie Colline (France), and  Fiona Khan (South Africa) make us discover different worlds and take us on poetic journeys with various ramifications.

Meanwhile, the ghost of Fela Kuti lurks in the shadows as contributors reminisce about his iconoclasm, and on that same sad note, we pay tribute to Linus T. Asong, one of Cameroon’s most prolific fiction writers who checked out last month. Asong is the author of books like TheCrown of Thorns, Stranger in his Homeland and No Way to Die, which are classics of Cameroonian literature by virtue of their innovation and experimentation. Thus, this issue engages in cross continental discourse because it is important for people to influence and be influenced by others, and as we savour this issue, we should prepare for the next issue, forthcoming in December, which will be a special Mexican issue.


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