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September 26, 2009


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Labang Wang Kencholia

Wirndzerem, there you go again… this is another mind blasting hit…. Hahahaha… Have you seen the gun that Kangsen attached along with the article? That is an imagistic pictorial tip-off of what is to be done… We are currently recruiting a gang of solid pen-fellow to ambush the “silhouettes of nostalgic phantoms” trailing the literary corridors in the name of patrons yet stampeding every other vibrant nerve. SHOULD WE ENROLL YOU?
When I looked through the list of those who are in the struggle to keep the critical tradition alive and did not immediately see my name, I felt that you have fallen into the trap hoist by the previous generations; that of not mentioning any person who is a potential threat to their hegemony. Ha ha ha ha … go beyond these already known names to find out who is doing what. I am glad you mention Dibbussi Tande whom very few people (do I say scholars?) home seem to mention because they wallow only in their own wealth of ignorance.
There is a tradition of copious gangsterism in our literary landscape. When A writes a book, s/he sends it to B or C for a Blurb or Review because they belong to the same professional or scholarly gang. They assume X, Y and Z cannot do it because they are far moved from the first three. Let me give you an example of what I mean in these questions. Now Wirndzerem tell me: how many already ‘established’ writers have ever turned to you for a Blurb or Review during book launches or something related to their writing? I can readily answer for you NONE. The reason is simple: they distrust what we can produce. They are the proverbial monkeys who distrust the fact that their own children can spin from branch to branch like them. But how can they distrust you and I when almost yearly I receive manuscripts from Drs and Prof in Nigeria for Blurbs and Review? I remember a major writer of ours describing a young writer as “too eager for fame”. What is wrong in trying to chart ones way to fame. As I have stated in the soon to be published THE MEANING OF FAME, “Fame is a contagious disease”.
I have had a good Sunday afternoon today, thanks to the tickle of your fruitful brain and fickle of your fine fingers brought to my desk by the INGENUITY of KANGSEN F. WAKAI. GENTLEMEN AT THE ALTAR OF THE MUSE, KEEP THE FAITH.
Let me, conclude by asking in a Nicodemusian manner but without coming in the night: Master what must we do to improve on our critical tradition?

Labang Wang Kencholia

E E Esambe

I read this with mixed emotions: it is a great peice, objectively and sincerely written. There was great joy in the fact that one luminary figure is picking up this fight; the dearth of imagination and criticism in Anglophone Cameroon Literature, and yet, there is the fact that this is indeed the state of things. After the First International Conference on Anglophone Cameroon Writing hosted by the Department of English in the University of YaoundeI which (in my opinion) was a resounding success, other same efforts have been legless jumps into catastrophy and acrimosity.

Sir, luminaries like you are not always readily accepted in our locale. Remember how long and how much it took the BBs (I mean Bate Besong and Bole Butake) to create their mark in our horizon? I feel a bit sad because those of us who recognise your thinking will need to spend some time coaxing others to see the need for objective criticisms on our literature (which, by the way is growing fast in terms of numbers of publications), instead of getting the job done. We should however take courage from the fact that this is a battle that needs to be fought. With the myraids of dilemmas facing the ordinary anglophone Cameroonian, it will take more than just courage for h/she to actually BUY a novel or poetry anthology, READ it and then spend some time to actually put onto paper his/her genuine thoughts. It is in times like these that we need to visit Bernard Fonlon's The Genuine Intellectual. Once more, I thank you for this stark reminder and keep up the good work.

Wirndzerem GB

As I am saying congratz for the umpteenth time to PP MAG, and for this much awaited PP7, I must hasten to thank you Labang, my Siamese brother-in-pen, for your prompt & incisive reaction, for that i say: keep the faith! Now i must say i anticipated this iron-in-glove remark from u & i must confess, i cherished it:

"I looked through the list of those who are in the struggle to keep the critical tradition alive and did not immediately see my name, I felt that you have fallen into the trap hoist by the previous generations; that of not mentioning any person who is a potential threat to their hegemony. Ha ha ha ha …"

I didn't forget you as such for how can i forget your epic critique/critical essay Riot in the Mind - that addressed large swathes of JN Nkengasong's oeuvre - and which i proof-read parts? How can i forget more instantaneous criticism on ACWA mailin-lists which i have had the priviledge of being critically privy to! but did you raelise i didnt fullstop the list, i trickled it out in punctuation [...] and in word [and the list starts thinning out!], which means some of our unmentioned likes are included. it is not an obsequious concession to an older generation, but a humble effort to raise, not hackles, but a relative point. but then i won't need to profess striping tigritudes, your claws are already apparent & growing forth & i can't miss them! Thx for the word, once more!


A note to current and future critics:
"What compels me to write is the feeling that the complexity of an African life has not been told yet, and the conviction that if we do not tell our stories ourselves, then we should not complain if others speak for us."
Patrice Nganang
Nuff said!

Dzekashu MacViban

The decline in critical attention is a serious issue which few people seem bothered by.It is sad that even those in the 'business' more often than not are repetitive, that is,they keep analyzing the same areas -- Marxism, Post colonialism, New Historicism,Sociological dimentions etc. Very few dive into Travel Writing, Deconstruction,Eco Criticism, Modernism, Magical Realism,Socio Artistic Criticism, Post Structuralism and Psychoanalysis. Wirndzerem has given us a bitter pill to swallow so that we can sit up.

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