#WinterABC2022: Stories of Africa – first African literature

I love books , i love how they carry you to places , make you feel emotions , broaden your imagination in ways only book lovers can understand .

I do not remember the first book but my most memorable in my earlier days of reading was wole Soyinka’s Trials of brother Jero. This play is still relevant to our times and I still catch myself laughing through every page flip. What a good read !

The main themes in the book include romantic betrayal; religious hypocrisy; the skepticism over the use of religion. Much of the satire and irony in The Trials of Brother Jero comes from the contrast between a self-proclaimed “man of god” and the ordinary community life he finds himself within.

Soyinka captured worldwide issues by using a West African setting. The satirical message in the text is conveyed through ridiculing of the vice and follies of the contemporary Nigeria society via religious institution. His fictive

output belongs to the horatian mode of satire which ridicules the follies with the intention of correcting society.

Through symbolism, comedy and irony, the aberrant and corrupt nature of our religious leaders are exposed. Moral decadence, prevalent in the society is also dealt with. The text centres around a bar beach prophet Jero who pretends to be a true prophet but in the actual sense, he is à cheat, a rogue,

and in fact the devil’s incarnate. As the play unfolds Soyinka presents prophet jero as a representative of hypocritical religious and political leader. He presents him in a humorous and comical way that we see through the front

of the holy hermit which he put on for the benefit of his deluded worshippers. The wrong mentality or orientation of some so called prophet is brought to the force prophet hood ought to be a call to selfless and sacrificial living towards God and mankind.

However, prophets like jero don’t have this mentality. To Jero it’s a business, a profit making venture, the easiest way to meet ones material needs, in one word a trade just as he call it.