The Bar Celebrates National Author's Day

Kenjo wan Jumbam

So tell me what you're sippin' on, Patrons, and tell me about the author who changed your life,

I'll start: Kenjo Jumbam.  I was about eight when I first read The White Man of God, and it changed me forever.

Some of you know the story.

Mr. Jumbam's book was assigned reading that year for all the high school students in Donga-Mantung Division (if not the entire Northwest Province).  My elder sisters brought their copies home, I stole one, and then spent at least the next few weeks talking about it.

We lived with our uncle (Gods rest his soul) who was a bit cynical that 1) I actually read the book, and 2) understood it, so he brought a teacher to the house to sort of quiz me on it.  The man came and I babbled like an untamed brook, going on and on about the brilliance of the story and how Mr. Jumbam was the greatest author in the world.

After the man left and I was dismissed (traditional household, remember?), my second sister asked, "So how did you like him?"

Moi: *blink* Like whom?

Her: Kenjo Jumbam.  That's who just left.

The skies are dark
The lights are out
And we are not fast
But we trot and shout
Sure of foot
Sure of road

Wind rustles the bush
Night birds clatter afar
At the sound of our foot
Even the shriek from the trap
Sure of foot we are
Sure of road we are

The river is rough and wide
Currents are swift and white
The wind is moist and cold
And our arms are hot with bites
Sure of foot we are
Sure of road we are

~ from "The Bridge", a tribute written by JK Bannavti


  1. I was late in coming across an author that changed me and my views on reading/writing profoundly, now I have three of them. The first such author will be Octavia Butler, I came across her work after decades of reading books with only white characters, written by white authors. Even though I grew up in Nigeria those were the only sort of books I was reading, and I enjoyed reading so much I managed with them even though I never really identified with what was going on it the books. Reading Octavia Butler, and soon after Nnedi Okorafor inspired me to write down the weird stories I'd been keeping in my mind. Finally there is Bessie Head, the South African writer whose works of historical African fiction are amazing.

    1. I've owned "Dawn" since 2011 but haven't found time to read it.


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