Scions of the Malcontent (2011)
By Dzekashu Macviban
Review by Jack Little.
Published in Issue 23.
Scions of the Malcontent is a compelling collection of poetry from young Cameroon writer Dzekashu MacViban. With turns and twists, we find conflict and longing, for instance in the poem below.
Harvest of Thorns.
The love fell, a petal at a time
The scene, as seen behind innocent eyes
Could not come to terms with the harvest of thorns
Worsened by the horror of taking sides.
The book also deals with social issues riddled throughout with religious images. The poet asks will God be Africa’s saviour?
Coup d’ Etats in Africa
There’s a coup d’ état
New persons impose themselves to-night
And take into their hands – the Power-
To wreck the ship-of-state
Give a dog a bad name, then hang it.
Thy throne’s thy grave...
A young snake kills its mother
Yet, it ain’t different
Déjà vu, I’d say
As a dishonest saint replaces another
Is this our fate until the Second Coming?
Macviban further explores the turmoil in his country through the poem The Mendicant of Yeruwa.
The Mendicant of Yeruwa[i]
Water is blessing to this baked earth
Insatiable from birth...
Armed for the feats of Tabasky
Mark how even the Joshua tree observes
This double-bent figure-
Out of depth of a threadbare bag
An ever-empty bowl, beseeching
The seed has been sown
A positive move plunges him into reveries
Of his troubled dawn
Punctuated by showers of Allah’s benediction
The contrary unleases his forked tongue
Which slices the air, the heart too
he moves on
With his army of flies.
Dzekashu MacViban was born in Yaoundé and holds a degree in Bilingual Letters from The University of Buea. He is currently a post graduate student in The University of Yaoundé 1, and his work has featured in Aaduna, StoryTime, Palapala Magazine, Saraba Magazine, African Writer and Songs for Tomorrow (Cameroon Poetry in English). The Ofi Press and Bakwa Magazine (edited by Dzekashu) are currently collaborating on a cross cultural project promoting West African poetry in Latin America and vice versa). http://bakwamagazine.wordpress.com/
[i] Yeruwa is a quarter in Garoua, Cameroon.