Shola Babatunde believes that poems “are for efficient and effective communication/They are bridge [sic] that leads to a destination.” Her book reflects African culture, addresses political and social topics (apartheid, Nelson Mandela, education), and expresses personal values (family, love, faith). All poems are unrhymed with many crossing into prose.
The poems are divided into five sections: “Apartheid,” “Reflections,” “Inspirations,” “Emotions,” “General.” They are followed by “Words of Wisdom” — eight pages of quotes from sources as varied as the Bible, Charles Dickens and Robin Hood.
The author feels deeply when writing about Mandela: “He came like a new spring to a big family/Bringing rays of hope light to his generation.” She displays strong faith: “Good morning Holy Spirit/Dearest of friends welcome/Welcome in thy ‘Beautiful Regalia’/To adorn and prepare me for the journey.” And she provides insight: “Hunger and anger are brothers/They come hand in hand like brothers/ Hunger! What he leads a man to/ Reduces a king to a slave.”
However, some poems seem written to specific audiences only, leaving general readers puzzled (“In the living village/Came F.G.C. Ido-Ani/A great Image/Of all times”). And some non-English or “Pidgin English” phrases are also difficult for outsiders to understand (“Sha, sha, sha hai, hai, hai/Si—lent talk all na bi gossip/ Ma yo are re´ If yo practise…”). Another stumbling block is the book’s uneven grammar and punctuation. (“Apartheid occurs not alone/In South Africa; but/ Homes, Offices; in Man/ That allows the apartheid. Do you?”)
Babatunde’s audience seems limited to those who share her culture, which is never stated explicitly (although there are several references to South Africa, and the author tells readers that some words are taken from the Yoruba language, which is spoken in Nigeria). General readers who can overlook the book’s obstacles to discernment may find her writings to be an honest starting place for more in-depth thoughts.
Also available as an ebook.