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August 20, 2010


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This arresting travel write by McViban is comparable to the variagated expanse of contemporary Cameroon measured with a reel rather than with a tape: a reel cinematographically casts slides that contain time(s), place(s) & people; while a tape will only measure geographical distance...that is what the author sublimely achieves here. here were are fed a mixed diet of geog, socio, anthropo, history, politics, poetry, & what have you...such that by the time you finish the story you are immersed in the rhythms, temperatures & temperaments of huge swathes of the country as you travel with the author in his mouth, lens, laptop & wet bag! There is also interesting contemporaneity in his write up: facebooking, actuality of the broken bridge, callboxes, dereliction of Garoua (a strong symbol that can be largely extended beyond the sahel)...then too there is the sensitive evocation, though couched in sly humour, of religious hypocrisy: sippings of coca-alhadji's & munching of pork by mohammedans...as well as the vile character of some mendicants! i enjoyed the names (buba/bubae)givens to typify flies & how their heady ones die by the beer they can't fly away from...like we die by the diseases we can't live without! the author nevertheless, inspite of his knowing the interplanetary fela anikulapu kuti, his manifest a critical degree of alienation wc can't be explained as cosmopolitanism: he does not know the local & native richard king (sic), (wc his misspelling confesses the more), this is only saved by his lamentation of having been missing sth good...indeed he’s been missing many more of such native treasures & virtues as we see evidently in his trans-oceanic predilection for strictly western rock & pop stars that feed his musical consciousness...in his (and isn’t this a ‘culpable’ initiation by his eponymous genitor & his own very occidental ) sonic repertoire prince afoakom or francis dom are no musical quantities, neither are the likes of talla andre marie, richard bona, richard band, black styl, or even lady ponce...for a piece that reads cameroon this thins out the rhythms!
but that said this is a great piece from an up & coming prodigy of the pen, and like one great metaphysical prophecised: mark this lad...!

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