An Excerpt: The Grasshopper Race by Folarin Olaniyi

Apologies. I know. It has been a while I sat down and pen something for you. Don’t blame me. Emotion Press has kept me so busy. But this is new year. Happy New Year! And I have promised to re-write my first book, The Grasshopper Race, this year 2015. Maybe we should start from that. Let me share with you some few lines of the first draft of the book. Mind you, it is a first draft. I hope to keep you posted. Be generous with your comments. And feel free to share on Facebook and Twitter. Enjoy the rest of the day. Cheers.

There were days in my village when people don’t fall sick, and if they did all they had to do was to look up in the sky, at the mid day sun, and they would be healed. It was no miracle but the norm, for the people were closer to the gods and the gods in oneness with Eledua.
Mama had told me.
It was during these days that my great grandfather was born. His name was Akurente. He was a powerful herbalist, who solved people’s problems by consulting Iwin, who in turn seeks solution from Esu.
Esu odara is God’s handiwork of craftiness. He has mastered the art of influencing God’s decisions to his favour. Iwin is Esu’s seventh offspring, who does not need goodluck before his prayers are answered.
Mama had told me.
There are seven rivers in my village and three roads lead to these rivers. These roads meet in one junction, and it is in this that Esu is believed to be domiciled. The seventh day of the week, my grandfather would take a long trek to this same junction and pay homage to Esu, whose seventh offspring, Iwin, will pay his father a visit. During this time, corruption had not arrived. The people of Kurente clan were fishermen and fruitful worshippers of the River mermaid.
Where I come from, there are two seasons – the season of the wet and the season of dust. Our people believe that during the season of the wet, the river mermaid, Iyemoja, is always seated on her riverine throne looking for whom to bless.
The season of dust, Iyemoja is at rest thirsty for worship and praises from the people she has blessed with bountiful harvest. Because of this, the Kurente clan observes a seven day festival in honour of Iyemoja during the season of dust; it is a moment of worship and self deprivation. The priest clad in all white regalia, sanctifies the whole community. He is accompanied on a distant journey by a young maiden, who must be a virgin. She carries the white sacred calabash, accompanied by the community in an energetic performance of the sacred dance and the beating of the favourite drum of the river goddess. It is always a delight.
The season of the wet, our fishermen harvests the best of fishes in the river and the farmers brings the biggest of the yam tubers and sweetest of corn. But as days went by, Akurente became more powerful and that was how the problem began.
I remember mother’s words; humans are ungrateful beings. We lust for ephemeral things and get lost on the road of life. My great grandfather like every other great priest did not just become powerful, all of a sudden. Because he had been a faithful of Iwin for decades, the gods were pleased with him. Esu, crafty in his ways, had found a way to impress the name of Akurente in the hearts of the gods. But it was only Iyemoja that had insisted Akurente swim along with her Priest, to the source of the seven rivers and pay her homage. Esu had agreed but Iwin disagreed.
‘If Akurente pays homage to Iyemoja, the people will say Esu has become a woman’s subject. This must never happen!’ Iwin had convinced Esu.



Five Nigerian Authors Under 35


–          Tolu Ogunlesi

Tolu Ogunlesi was born in 1982. He has written poetry since his Univetsity days. Tolu is the author of a collection of poetry, Listen to the Geckos Singing From A Balcony [Bewrite Books, UK, 2004]. His fiction and poetry have appeared in The Obituary, Wasafiri, Tango [Caine Prize Anthology 2006], Sable, Orbis, Eclectica, and elsewhere, and are forthcoming in Poesia and Jelly Paint. In 2007, he won a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry prize. He currently lives in Lagos, and works 8 to 5 as management consultant.


–          Jumoke Verissimo


Jumoke, born 26 December 1979, Lagos, is a Nigerian poet and writer. She won First Prize, Carlos Idize Ahmed Prize for a first book of poetry 2009, Second Prize, Anthony Agbo Prize for poetry 2009 and Honourable Mention Association of Nigeria [poetry] 2009.

The Punch describes Jumoke as, ‘one of those who will change the face…

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ALGEBRA AFTERNOON, a short story by Folarin Olaniyi


    An excerpt of the Novel, BOYS ARE DOGS by Folarin Olaniyi

Uncle Kehinde told me to off the cloth that covered my chest and spread my legs, yakata, like a dead goat on fire. He then climbed on my chest and slipped his long thing inside of me.

Maybe he doesn’t know how painful it is, putting that long thing, thick like the rod Daddy uses to beat us whenever we score zero in our C.A test, inside of me.

Whenever I cry and beg him to stop, he places one of his fingers of the right on my two lips and robs my chest.

‘If you tell mummy, she will beat you and praise me for training you,’ he always told me.

He is the neighbour next door. Mama told me he knew Mathematics as a Pastor knows the Bible.

‘You are now my baby,’ that was the words that came out of his mouth the first day Mama handed me over to him.

When I told Mama that Uncle Kehinde uses his long rod on me, she laughed and laughed and pulled me by the right ear to his one room apartment.

‘She is spoilt, Aunty,’ Uncle Kehinde told Mama.


‘I saw red, mama.’

I was twelve. I had just woken up from one of those eat-and-sleep long holidays siesta, when something reddish appeared on my bed sheet.

‘Go and clean up,’ Mama said, handing over a roll of toilet tissue to me.


‘Go and clean yourself,’ Uncle Kehinde said to me.

The first day Uncle Kehinde slipped his long black thing inside of me, I saw red again.

‘Are you deaf?’ I shook off the pain coming from my waist region and rose up at Uncle Kehinde’s sharp baritone. I washed myself and walked back to the tip of the bed where he laid me.

‘Don’t tell mummy about this,’ Uncle Kehinde whispered to the ear of the left.

‘But I saw red.’

‘You are now a big girl.’


Seven afternoons after that day, that sunny afternoon Uncle Kehinde finished teaching me Algebra and then afterwards told me to spread my legs yakata and I saw red, Mama woke up from slumber.

I don’t know why whenever Uncle Kehinde gets horny, he directs his manhood at me and moan like a hungry Lion being fed with live goat? Nor do I know why he rubs me here and there, where it pleases and pains, and afterwards whistles down to the bathroom for a five minutes afternoon bath?

One of those Algebra afternoons, I had already spread my legs yakata and Uncle Kehinde was inside of me breathing hard like a castrated goat, when a loud knock landed on the door.

He withdrew himself from me, his two eyes partly closed, and ran for his blue towel.

‘Is Blessing inside with you?’ a voice, like that of mother, rang through from outside.

‘Yes, am here!’ I shouted, my legs spread yakata.

‘Dress up,’ Uncle Kehinde whispered, his face squeezed up like roughened sheet.


I dragged myself towards the door, half naked and ran back for a piece of cloth to cover my nakedness. The door was not locked.

‘Open the door!’

Mama’s voice ripped through the green painted door of the one room apartment. The door opened ajar and everything went blank, for I closed my eyes and the only words that passed by were that of Mama.


We never spoke. She would leave my food covered in the kitchen and run to work every day as if her job depended solely on not saying goodbye to her only daughter.

When July was dragging itself towards August, Mama held me tight for minutes and cried on my shoulders, like a baby girl hungry for her mother’s breast milk. A drop of tears never came from mine. When she prepared the Dinner on that night and served mine, I sobbed in between pieces of boiled yam that mixed with my saliva and goes down to my stomach.

Uncle Kehinde disappeared into thin air, like a fart. Days after that Algebra afternoon, his door was always closed and banged open and close late in the night. In between the opening and closure of his door, would emerge the laughing birdy voice of a lady and that of Uncle Kehinde’s.

When days went by and Mama had stopped leaving my food in the kitchen and running to work before I left for school, a group of young men late in the dawn of a sunny July, came into Uncle Kehinde’s apartment and parked all his properties into a brown truck.








Book Republic

BOOKREPUBLIC is inspired by the New York Review Of Books, a New York based magazine of mind boggling and highly intellectual literary essays and book reviews. At BookRepublic we are bent on creating a viable platform for Nigerian books in the world literary stage through our newly constructed website and monthly print medium.
We are the first literary magazine in Nigeria majorly dedicated towards the promotion of our books. As from the fourth Sunday of January 2013, BOOKREPUBLIC will be launching her online magazine and the print medium, come last Sunday of February, 2013.
BOOKREPUBLIC will make it as a matter of mandate to publish literary articles, book reviews, plays, short stories, and poems, update our irresistibly qualitative and educative columns and place book adverts for interested publishers every Sunday for the reading pleasure of our subscribers.
We are seeking for a limited number of book titles from interested Publishers to be considered for the review section of the magazine.
A book cover, Author’s bio and About the book should be forwarded to on or before the 18th of January, 2013. BookRepublic will afterwards request for copies of the book, if it would be of interest to our commissioned reviewer.
BookRepublic is in search for literary essays that are imaginative and at the same time, borders around world literature and its contribution to education. We might also consider creative essays that are politically under toned but not economical with the truth.
At the moment, we do not pay royalty to our ever hardworking and creative contributors. This will be reviewed in a matter of time.
Contributions should be forwarded to the publishers at A short bio and recent picture should be submitted alongside the entry.
We are interested in publishers’ book placements in our magazine, as it is applicable in developed societies. As a matter of fact, a four page insert has been mapped out for Nigerian publishers and authors to place their blurbs for a paltry sum of N5, 500. For enquiry on book placement in BOOKREPUBLIC and other adverts, please query Alex Olomo at
BOOKREPUBLIC is presently under construction and will be launched for the reading pleasure of our subscribers, by the last Sunday of January.
BOOKREPUBLIC is published by Emotion Press, Ibadan. Emotion Press is a publishing outfit registered in 2011 to project the future ones. For more information on Emotion Press, please visit our official website –

Excerpt From First Novel: Boys Are Dogs

It has been a long while now since I posted on this blog. Apologies. I have been terribly busy with school work, writing and some other stuffs.

Today, I will be sharing an excerpt of my next book, titled Boys Are Dogs. Enjoy!


Mother told me that immediately I was bathed, Grandma, who moulded my soft tender face, rubbed my body with palm oil. So, whenever you want to say hi and ask for my name then when I was in Primary 1, 2, 3, I would answer: Tayo, Epo Pupa.

Bolu said he loved me with his whole heart, that I am the sugar in his tea, the butter that made his bread cool to eat. I gave him the chance. He kissed me. He was violent with my breast that has just formed a full moon shape.

I was a fool. A fool in S.S.2. He dumped me. I told him I like the body shape of Ngozi, the newly admitted student. At St. Agnes Secondary School, admissions are thrown at wards of influential parents at any time of the year, so far the big boys and girls are not writing W.A.S.C.E with their long trousers and half braided hair.

When boys talk to girls in dark corners, and the girl keeps a straight face while the boy holds her left hand, the one close to her pear shaped heart, and then love must be in the air. Definitely. Sile had told me she saw Ngozi and Bolu holding hands and the light big breasted girl laughing back at Bolu’s jokes, my own Bolu, after the preparatory class.

‘Maybe it is not Bolu,’ I replied Sile.

I went crazy. Bolu had kept me waiting in the Biology laboratory for over twenty minutes of the first break. It has become like a tradition for both of us ever since we’av been together. Even the laboratory attendant, Uncle Kunle, knew about us, that he would often time say, whenever he passed by: ‘When you finish University, get married and make Albinos.’

‘I took Ngozi to the sick bay,’ Bolu said, his two hands in both pockets. I looked at him, up and down, and walked out. Bolu never came up to me. I soaked my mattress with tears and my roommates laughed at me.

Abiola, the sharp mouthed one, the plump girl that was born into a strict Catholic home but masturbates in the middle of the night and moans the names of her crush, said to me in one of my sleepless nights: Boys are dogs, they run after the bitches.

‘You want to beg him?!’ Sile shouted at me

‘I should not have reacted that way?’

‘Then you are not a dime shit to any guy. What do you take yourself for, ehn?’ she dragged me closer to her.

‘I don’t know.’

‘Go and beg him, and sell your dignity to a dog, then.’

‘Stop calling him a dog!’ I raised my voice at Sile and ran straight to S.S.2A.

It was the August rain, heavy and cold coated, and I and Bolu have not spoken for three months. We were in S.S.2 and every one of us was looking up to the final year at St. Agnes.

The library was re-opened after the government equipped it with hundreds of new titles, ranging from Biology to Literature. I was at the fifth shelve peering at Chinua Achebe’s No Longer At Ease, when a strong scent passed my nose and then two strong hands, at least stronger than mine, held me at the hips. The hands went up towards my upper region and squeezed my breast. I shouted at the top of my voice. He withdrew his hands and stepped back. It was Bolu.

‘What is the meaning of that rubbish?!’ I shouted at Bolu.

‘I am sorry. About everything!’ Bolu said.

‘Look straight into my eyes and say you are sorry,’ I demanded.

‘What is happening down there?’ the library attendant, tall and muscular, asked. Bolu grinned. He left.

Bolu must have been surprised, too shocked to imagine his little girl talking with authority. He looked up at me thrice, but couldn’t stare straight into my eyes. I shook my head here and there and disappeared into thin air.


I was in Kuti Hall cafeteria peering at the high roof tops, listening to the husky laughter of the male ones and the chimmering voices of the ladies. Deeper Life Church had saved me from further embarrassment. With the three A1 and several B3 that lied fallow on my WAEC result sheet, my State University had denied me of admission.

‘Visit the Blessed Sacrament and talk to the body of Christ,’ my father would advise when I complained about admission racketeering in all these State Universities.

My mother was an active member of the Deeper Life Church. One of those cold Tuesdays, ushering the Christmas festival, she took me to her short beard Pastor, who spoke in tongues in between short prayers, and there and then I gave my life to Christ.

The next year after Christ became the King of my life, I sat for Jamb and old University Professors invited me to their large auditorium and interacted with me. Jesus favoured me.


It was not only the way he smiled broadly and the dimple, like a droplet of water on a bowl of hot Pap, on his both cheeks that made me go crazy about him, but his yellow T-shirt and perfume.

Maybe this was because Bolu was on a perfumed yellow T-shirt the day he toasted me and I nodded my head like a randy Agama lizard.

‘Are you a fresher?’ he asked me. He was dark like charcoal but the yellow T-shirt made him yellow like ripe orange.

‘Yes.’ I replied.

‘Which of the departments?’ the guy asked further.


‘Really? Destiny can be pathetic sometimes,’ he said and sat.

‘Are you in Economics too?’ I asked him

‘Akin is the name. Three hundred levels.’

We shook hands.

How Not To Forfeit A Promising Relationship by Folarin Olaniyi.

–          Do Not Be His Show Girl


Most single ladies make this mistake. You can never have a successful relationship with a guy without talking. Both of you have to talk, talk, and talk till it bores you.

Often times, guys prefer to show off their new girlfriend to their friends and foes. Then the lady becomes a show girl; today, Variety Nite and tomorrow, Dinner. Don’t get me wrong, shows would form a part of the happy moments in your relationship, but you must ensure it is not affecting the major pillar of every relationship which is communication.

With communication, both of you get to understand each other. You know his weaknesses and strong points, while he knows yours and your strong points. What can be more beautiful than this?


–          Let Him Know Your Feelings


    Guys are neither Fortune tellers nor magicians. We are not perfectand that is why most of our decisions if not protested against, will later bounce back on you.

When some ladies are angry, they prefer to keep mute and expect the guys to read their mind and toe the right path.

Definitely, guys can be very pathetic. Talking might not work, but keeping mute can puncture a guy’s ego and make him see things clearly.

But, I tell you, sincerely, this will only work when the guy knows that what he has done is wrong.

Speak out; make him see things, so that when he turns his back at you, you won’t have to protest.

Let him know your feelings as soon as possible but please and please, be civil for guys, most guys, are egocentric.


–          Do Not Get Back At Him

             All my life, I have been loyal to my girlfriends. Even when I discover that my girlfriend is going out with another guy, my loyalty to the relationship still remains unshakeable.

If you are the type that feels that going out with another guy to make your boyfriend jealous will solve the problem, then you are just being stupid. It is just like a warrior that runs from the war front and goes to the inner town tavern to drink away his worries.

Relationship is war; it is a game of power. And all games of power calls for the thirty seven strategies of war.

Getting back at him is like saying you are not sure of your capabilities in the relationship. It is like saying that the love you felt for him was mere infatuation. It is like saying you don’t know what you want.

–          Let Him Know You Are Sincerely Busy

              For every time I tell a girlfriend that I am busy, there is a sincere reason behind it. Why do you have to tell him you are busy when you are not?

A friend’s girlfriend told him she would be extremely busy the next day. When the next day would come, I saw this girl with another guy. What is she busy doing? Going out with another guy!

Before you date, you need to ask yourself some salient questions. Do I want him to be the guy or just a friend? Is he the type of guy I can count on? Can he boost my profile?


–             Go For The Goal

       Some ladies can go out with all the guys in the neighbourhood. Unfortunately, the right one will pass by but they will be busy frolicking with the dumb guy next door.

Relationship, just like every other game of life, is a game of risk. You cannot score two goals at the same time. If you are not willing to take the risk, in time you will be the one looking for a broad shoulder to cry on. I promise you.

But not to worry, I have a broad shoulder you can cry on only that you will have to pay per minute.


The Thing Inside Your Sokoto by Folarin Olaniyi


There are many faces. Bird-like ones. Tiger face. Cat face. Mother used to
say that those girls with cat faces are witches driven by cat spirits. And
they bring misfortunes unto their lover’s abode.

I love University of Ibadan girls, and they love themselves though not all
of them.

The first girl I chatted with on U.I soil was a slim dark balloon -cheek
chic I met in the University clinic.

Jaja clinic stood on plots of land, refusing to pose at the frontal
position of Queen’s hall.

The young Nurse had examined my blood pressure, then she would surrender a
test tube to my hands and direct her plump left of a hand towards my left

‘We need your thing.’

I peered down at my trousers and back again at the Nurse.

‘I do not have low sperm count_!’ I pronounced with all sincerity and

The three other Nurses and their students would laugh aloud. Some would
raise their left of a hand, another the right hands in excitement. Legs
went up. A student’s cheek blew up like a mechanically blown balloon.

‘I mean your Urine,’ the young Nurse clarified.

I did not laugh nor frown. Blank. The Nurses and those they were examining
would be looking at my back, like a family watching a popular comic soap
opera. Like Papa Ajasco.



‘Sorry,’ I uttered in haste.

I had unknowingly entered a female toilet’s room. A girl was inside. I
stood out in front of the toilet, peering at the test tube.

I would wait for the offended.

She came out, young, bright with a very long black hair like Yemoja. And
she wielded one of those faces mother detested – Bird-like face.

‘Sorry, em, for the other time.’

‘Don’t mention. Just look out for notices and instruction boards. It helps.
A lot!’

‘Sorry, one more time.’

She turned back sharply, as if I pinched her at the back of her dark neck,
and took a strange look at me. As if she is lampooning me.

‘Are you a one of those Christian brothers?’

‘At all?’

‘You are too polite. Who are you?’

‘Dapo. Hundred levels. Philosophy department.’

‘Nice! The name is Bolanle. Direct entry student in Philosophy department.’

‘Nice! Coincidence?!’

‘Hmn! Coincidence!’

‘Yes, it is. I also came for the mandatory medical screening.’

Bolanle and I became like Suya and slices of Onion, we would spice each
other. We would solve our problems like one and embrace our successes like
close friends would do.

Our relationship aggravated.

And I would know her, who she is in real terms. I never knew a woman’s
chest can take one to a journey that will demand thousands of hefty yam
tubers in appeasement to return from.

We were four in a room in Zik hall, University of Ibadan. Shady baby had
never summoned the courage to visit me. She detested Zikites. Only Bolanle

‘They are like shit! I don’t know why a _ fine boy! Fine boy like you would
be posted to Zik hall,’ Shady baby would complain as if University of
Ibadan knew who I was before they posted me to Zik hall.

Bolanle would prepare rice and stew, stocked with frozen fish and well
packaged in her customized Jesus-loves-You cooler. She would then knock on
my door, like a bird hungrily beating its beak on a wet bamboo, and I would
open the door.

Bolanle would not say greetings during this time. She would wait till the
last grain of her well cooked rice mixes with my saliva.

‘How was it?’

‘Delicious. I like it.’

Her dark bird-like face would squeeze like roughened sheet. I understood. A
peck from her forehead down to the sole of her legs would appease the dark

It was on one of these pecking exercises, fourth, that Bolanle grabbed my
body closer to hers. I then sucked her tongue. It was so sudden. The energy
was magical.

Bolanle was sitting on me, her buttocks directly on the thing inside my

I loosened her long black hair and fumbled with her breasts. My hands were
trembling as if I just carried a bag of beans. Saliva gulped down my
throat. I licked her left dark erect nipple with the same energy an
overflowing ice cream would demand. Then, she moaned and jerked her
buttocks on the thing inside my sokoto.

Boys Are Dogs by Folarin Olaniyi


Busayo, a light skinned heavily breasted lady, packed into the room next to mine at a very strange time. She was dripping wet; her two leather bags clung to her hands.

The rain of August in Ibadan is not one to be joked with. It trots and tramples on lands, causing erosion, and breaks into softly nailed roofs giving those domiciled in the uncompleted building a thorough bath.

University of Ibadan had just resumed from a long vacation and students, some of us, had resorted to face me I face you apartments scattered all over Agbowo. I was one.

‘Are you a fresher?’ I asked Busayo, as I helped her with one of her luggage. She looked at me and shook her head here and there.

‘Oh. Sorry. Thought you were fresh,’ that was how the words snailed out of my mouth.

‘I am in my second year. What about you?’ she asked, as her left hand softly wipes her face.

‘I am a finalist.’

‘Seriously? What are you doing here? You should be in the hostel. D block.’ I chuckled and sat on one of the two wooden chairs in her one wooden window room and uttered, ‘You know all those politics, now? I can’t lick the ass of somebody because of one tiny room. I am not complaining here, jare.’

Silence stood between us for some seconds. She was standing opposite where I sat, the rays of the sun that comes after the August rain glittering on the clothed mounds on her chest.

‘Why are you staring in that kind of manner?’ she said, puts on a smile, strained, and sits on my armchair.

‘What is the name?’ I asked her

‘Busayo,’ she replied and stands to take a walk around her new room.’

‘I am Akin. Are you sleeping here today?’

‘Depends. I am not even here with my mattress.’

I walked towards the window and smelt the fresh icy air. The rain has started again, this time less aggressive.

‘You may use my umbrella, when you are ready to go.’

‘Okay. Thanks. For the hospatility,’ Busayo said and sees me off to the door.


It was one of those evenings in November, ushering the first semester examination. Hours ago, I had left Blessing in Kenneth Dike Library.

‘Are you fucking Blessing?’ Ola, my friend since hundred levels, once challenged me.

‘Don’t be raw, Ola. I and Blessing? We are just friends, jare.’

So when Busayo, the girl next door to mine, popped up the same question after her usual looking through my window and sitting her buttocks on my armchair, I kept mute for some seconds.

‘I don’t trust you guys. A girl sleeps over in your place and goes the next day with her thighs as dry as before? Unimaginable.’

‘You know I am a seminarian?’

‘Don’t give me that bullshit, boy. A seminarian studying Economics, when Religious studies and Philosophy are next door?’

I laughed out loud, from the depth of my stomach, and drew my eyes towards her chest. She caught my glance and shook her head here and there.

‘I am going to my hole,’ she said and walks towards the door, but stops halfway and utters, ‘Are you impotent?’

On Cyprian Ekwensi’s Passport Of Mallam Illia

       Author: Cyprian Ekwensi

Title: The Passport Of Mallam Illia

Publisher: HEBN PLC, Ibadan

Reviewer: Folarin Olaniyi

It was late in 1947. A young man’s train was gasping and panting up the steep incline that leads on to the Bauchi Plateau in Northern Nigeria.

Apparently he had plans ahead. One of those plans was to meet his mother, Dije, and find his father.

There in the train, he discovered an old worn out man staring at an old passport.

‘The book was his, and, presumably, he had paid his fare. But my attention had been drawn to his face, and, for the first time since the start of the journey, I noticed it. It was the face of an old man, bearded, with weak eyes from which the tears ran down freely.’

The young man will be the writer’s voice while Mallam Illia, the old man, would be the Protagonist.

The Passport of Mallam Illia is story of revenge gone sour, set in the colonial Northern Nigeria. It is set in the colonial Northern region terrorized by the antagonistic attitude of some Northern youths to the heavily and better armed British colonialists.

Mallam Illia in his youth is said to be brave and adventurous. He is widely traveled. A time came for Mallam Illia to marry a woman as his wife, but he would not. His parent sent him beautiful girls within the famous town hall, but none was attractive to him.

‘I prided myself on being a man, and did not consider it gallant merely to ‘buy’ or ‘take on’ a wife. I wanted something more romantic.’   Challenging, I will call it.

One of those evenings when Mallam Illia was discussing politics with his friends, a company of men, Arab traders crowned in dust masks, came to them and challenged any one of them to the game of Shanchi in exchange for a beautiful girl.

The game of Shanchi is the game of FIGHT TO DEATH.

The beautiful girl in question is Zara, the daughter of the Prince of Turaegs.

Mallam Illia, brave and adventurous, rose up to the challenge.

‘It is not a game for faint hearts. But he who thinks that Zara is not a sufficient prize to induce him to take part, let him leave now.’

‘Some of you here will not breathe tomorrow’s air. For this night Shanchi may claim you.’

There were about a dozen men willing to die or win for the hand of Zara in marriage.

Mallam Illia fought till the last contender, whom he described as an enormous man, big jawed and long-toothed.

‘You are going to die now,’ he growled. Your knife can do nothing to me. I have swallowed the medicine against steel.

Mallan Illia’s contender was indeed truthful to his words, as he jabbed with is own knife, and the blade bent.

But, an opportunity came for Mallam Illia and he employed it.

‘I saw now that now was my chance. Drawing my knife, I thrust it at his bare neck. He was powerless. Given the opportunity, he would have killed me. But I merely disabled him, and there in lay my mistake : a mistake which I have regretted my life.’

Indeed. Mallam Illia’s fallen but alive contender was Mallam Usuman. The Prince of Tuaregs gave Zara’s hand in marriage to Mallam Illia, but Mallam Usuman, powerful, jealous an influential, came back for Mallam Illia.

He got Mallam Illia into prison and, terrorized Zara and at the end snuffed the life out of the Princess of Tuaregs.

Mallam Usuman fled out of sight and Mallam Illia, in hot revenge for his wife’s death, tracked Mallam Usuman to wherever he might be.

Mallam Illia’s Passport was given to him by a learned Mallam attached to the French troops.

Out of his blind revenge, he became crippled; he was overpowered and imprisoned in Mecca by powerful Mallam Usuman.

He was rescued by a young, kind and accommodating woman called Dije who must have heard that Mallam Illia had learn the teachings of Prophet Mohammed under the tutelage of acclaimed Mallam Gobir.

Mallam Illia married Dije and left her with a talisman when she got pregnant.

‘It is Dije’s,’ I said. ‘ I am in a hurry now and cannot go back. Kindly give it to her from me. Tell her, when the child comes, to hand this laya round its neck. It is a strong protection against evil which Mallam Gobir taught me. She will understand.’

On the train which both the young man, whose pen wrote down this story, and the old worn-out Mallam Illia boarded died powerful and satanic Mallam Usuman. He was avenged to death by Mallam Illia.

At the time Mallam Illia was narrating the story, he was gradually fading away for he had poisoned himself. Besides, he is badly wounded. Towards the tail end,it was revealed that the young man was Mallam Illia’s flesh and blood, born and bred by Dije.

The Passport Of Mallam Illia’s speaks against revenge. Clearly and justly, revenge is God’s and not Man’s.

Cyprian Ekwensi has been able to belittle the rights of women to marry whom they want at the expense of the selfish and egocentric men like Prince of Turaegs and Mallam Usuman.

Notwithstanding, this book is a must read for bookaholics willing to munch the classical words of an experienced historian and storyteller.


You Read Them. You Love Them. Now Help Us Make Them!

Free Spirit Publishing Blog

How many times has this happened to you? While browsing at a bookstore or library, you’ve flipped through an educational book and thought, “Wow, this author is totally out of touch. How come no one asks actual educators what they need?” As a company that always strives to bring its readers quality, practical resources and fresh, relevant perspectives, this is the last reaction Free Spirit wants to provoke.

FSP Advisory BoardThat’s why we’re proud to have the Free Spirit Advisory Board of Educators. Throughout the year, we consult a wide pool of teachers, administrators, librarians, counselors, and social workers as we develop our books, and they help us make sure our books are practical, easy to use, and as up-to-date as possible. Board members provide feedback on everything from titles and art designs to best practices and educational trends.

This is your opportunity to contribute! Free Spirit is looking for new Advisory…

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