You might agree with me that it is enviable that we have reached the height we are on now. It’s our 39th issue, and it has sure been a long way coming. The theme is Transforming, and we are doing just that. The magazine, as well as its many shareholders, is experiencing a morphing from where we were to the rungs just before where we want to be. The past has gone behind us; we are wading through the present. The future is all there is to embrace. We are embracing it with all its uncertainties, in all its doubts, and in all its glory. We will always follow the times for we can’t afford to be left behind.
The world is donning new clothes. As climate change worsens, cultures are atrophying and re-engineering to new names. Ideologies are shifting. The globe is moving more rapidly than it did twenty or so years ago. Google HQ is definitely having some tough working time now. The world has changed, and we are glad to be showing this sliver of change in our own way, as it concerns the literature of Africa. For instance, artificial intelligence is changing the way we view the world of text, and in the coming years, we might be doing literature much differently than we do today (we might not even be using our hands to write anymore. Weird, yes).
This issue is, once again, a testament towards love. For us, there’s no better way to show the love we have for African literature than in publishing it. Publishing each time voices we would never have heard had we not put out a call is a labour of sincere love. We have never been scared to make the sacrifices, to put in the extra work hours to make this happen. The poems are radiant, the essays are poignant, and the short fiction dazzles. We are immensely proud of the results.
Transformation and reinvention are threads that runs through the titles here. We encounter a coming of age — an anagnorisis, as it were — with the protagonist in Chinonyelum Anyichie’s masterly short fiction, A Tiny Seedling. We discover the “gay boys” in Pelumi Tubon’s “Threnodies for Black Flowerboys” morphing into more sexually-aware humans. There is fullness and satisfaction in the self-awareness of the sidelined, less so in their humanisation by the society. In “Before the Meal – Coming Alive to Food,” the narrator re-understands the value of culture and traditional norms, and reconciles these with the very act of eating.
The writers in this issue investigate their transformation through the lens of memory and introspection. Watch out for the language; they cut. There is much to think about, there is shedding off of old weights, there is renegotiation with humanity, there is a meeting of two worlds at a juncture and a splitting into single paths, there are decisions made, and they are told in beautiful words, words so deep they haunt and puncture and heal at the same time. The worlds these writers paint are beautiful ones, and I am certain you will be delighted living within them. These are sincere stories from sublime hands that weave with care. It might interest you to know that the editors did not bat their eyelids in making their selections.
I’m hence delighted to present this body of work to you this last lap this year. It is a worthy roundup of our annual beat. We have delivered. We can only hope you enjoy reading as much as we did putting this together.