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June 26, 2010


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One of the author’s works was adapted into a Tunde Kelani Film, ‘The Narrow Path ’ Photo: AKINTAYO
The writings of a village man
By Akintayo Abodunrin
June 20, 2010 01:16AM
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Novelist Bayo Adebowale dabbled into poetry some years ago with ‘Village Harvest’, a collection of poems. He has since published ‘A Night of Incantations and Other Poems’ and ‘African Melody’.

“There is no strict demarcation between prose and poetry,” he states while explaining why he took up poetry. “If you are writing prose and poetry, you are virtually writing on the same plane; using almost the same diction. So, poetry can be prosaic and prose can be poetic. If I want to express my ideas in a compact form, I dabble into poetry but if I want to expand what I’m writing, I dabble into prose.”

An interesting feature of ‘A Nights of Incantations’ is its exposition on incantations, an aspect of Yoruba tradition. The poet highlights malevolent, benevolent and propitiatory incantations in the work and explains his action.

“All the three are aspects of our culture and tradition. When you are angry and you think you have an enemy, you can recite incantation that will bring down God’s anger on him.

“In the same token, if you find yourself in a difficult situation and you want to escape, you can recite incantations that will save you. When you burn roots and leaves of trees to cure yourself, you propitiate with them and you recite special incantations for that.”

He adds that the collection has sections on curses, desperation, voting and protest because, “It’s part of the culture of the people to curse. If you feel wronged by your detractor or your foe, you can curse him. When you curse, it’s a general phenomenon, not just in Africa but in other parts of the world. When you say may the devil take you, may you go into perdition or things like that in anger, it’s part of the culture. It is common to find people cursing their enemies. Those who have caused harm or brought unhappiness into their life.”

But is it Christ-like to curse?

“Don’t you think that even in the holy Bible we have things like that? Why is Jerusalem cursed? ‘If I forget Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning.’ Have you forgotten ‘woe unto you that betray the son of man? All these woe are curses in the Bible, they are reflected in Christian liturgy so you cannot say these things are not evident in the Holy Bible. Even in churches you curse the enemy. You bring fire down upon your enemy. May the enemy be consumed by the fire of the Holy Ghost. I have gone to services in churches where they devoted a large part of their prayer to cursing the enemy. ”

The Virgin

‘The Virgin’ published in 1985 is Adebowale’s first novel and arguably his most popular. Two villages go to war over Awero, the major character who loses her virginity contrary to tradition. Though virginity appears somewhat trifle for villages to war over, the former Deputy Rector, The Polytechnic, Ibadan, insists that “The cause of the matrimonial problems of nowadays can be traced to virginity. The lack of trust in your wife, the suspicion the wife has of the husband can be traced to virginity. If your wife did not come to your house as a virgin, it will continue to haunt you throughout your matrimonial life. But if you met your wife a virgin, you will have implicit trust and confidence in her that if she can keep herself like that, I should trust her to a large extent. Mistrust and suspicion can be traced to virginity so it is relevant even nowadays.”

He also discloses how the novel was first adapted into the short film, ‘The White Handkerchief’, and later the feature film, ‘The Narrow Path’, by Tunde Kelani’s Mainframe Productions.

“It was Tunde Kelani who came to tell me that they are interested in the story. He told me what will change and what will remain. He told me the title will change and that the ending would also change because in the novel, Awero did not commit suicide but she did in the film. He said the impact will not be felt by viewers if she walks away. If she commits suicide, they will know that there is a good reason for war.”

The self-confessed writing addict who took up the art in 1963 also reveals what made him adopt the tack he did in ‘Out of His Mind’, his second novel. “It’s not everything that you tell your wife in real life. It’s not that you want to harm her but out of consideration for her flexible mind. You say instead of disturbing my wife, let me get over it. I can always tell her later. It’s the same with Alamu. They were newly married and he didn’t want anything that will upset the lady, hoping that sooner or later he would sort the problem. In any case, if he divulged the secret to the wife, there would be no story to tell again. The suspense will not be there again.”

Starting out

“I started with short stories and I have over 100 published short stories. It might interest you to note that my novels are adapted from my short stories. ‘The Virgin’ is from a short story ‘The Wedding Day’. I expanded another short story, ‘Burden of a Secret’ into ‘Out Of His Mind’. It’s the same with the short story ‘Lonely Days’ and the novel also so titled. I have been expanding on my short stories.

“Right now, I’m on another one, ‘Beyond Control’ and it is also adapted from one of my short stories titled ‘Tanko’s Exit’. There is not much difference in the technique of writing short stories and novels because they are all prose so I find it convenient. It is only that you have to be more compact, straight to the point in short stories whereas in the novel you have the liberty to expand and to explain certain process.”

Inspiration and influences

Adebowale was inspired to write by reading literary works. “I started telling myself this is something I could do too. I began by criticising the works of writers I read, and then I started writing.” Though the works of authors including Edgar Allan Poe, Ernest Hemingway, Alex Dumas, Charles Dickens, Chinua Achebe and Cyprian Ekwensi among others influenced him, his primary influence, “is my background as a village man.”

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reader comments (1)

Posted by Olajide on Jun 25 2010
Having been taught by Dr Adebowale while I was at The Polytechnic, Ibadan I believe he has the prowess as exemplified in his novel. He is a man to celebrated always.


June 11, 2010

Author Chara NyAshia Sanjo






By Yeye Akilimali Funua Olade


“It’s beautiful to be black.”

It is the color of strength and pride.

I will say it out loud. I don’t have to hide.

I love me, and the color that I represent.

Look at me, there is nothing like it.

What you see is not an illusion.

It’s a gift from GOD, don’t ever confuse it.

“It’s beautiful to be black.”

It is the color of fame and envy.

If I wasn’t black, I wouldn’t be me.

Black is the color of power and authority.

It is so outstanding, thank you LORD for blessing me.

I’ll shout it to the world, I’m proud of what I am.

Those who are in vain will never understand.

“It’s beautiful to be black”

It is the color of confidence and style.

I have been blessed, by my ancestor from the Nile.

I am scenic from the inside out.

These verses are true, I don’t have any doubt.

There is no one who can change my mind.

Black has been beautiful since the begging of time.

“It’s beautiful to be black.”

It is the color of honor and grace.

This is one thing that cannot be taken away.

By Chara NyAshia Sanjo


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This entry was posted on August 12, 2007 at 3:06 pm and is filed under AFRICA, BLACK CHILDREN, BLACK CULTURE, BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL!, BLACK MEN, BLACK NATIONALISM, BLACK PEOPLE, BLACK WOMEN, THE BLACK RACE. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Edit this entry.

The face of Afrika Says:
May 4, 2008 at 2:54 am | Reply edit It is beautiful to be black indeed! I hope you don’t mind if I use your poem on my blog, dedicated to celebrate the beauty of African people and of the African continent. Please check the Website and contact us at

jameka little Says:
March 2, 2009 at 5:52 pm | Reply edit love the poem it describes me and the way that i feel, it’s very intresting to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

khadijah Says:
May 19, 2009 at 12:27 am | Reply edit i love the poem i hope it will inspire many
can i use your poem for my group “black is beautiful?”

daijahenry Says:
January 15, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Reply edit i love the poem and i hope other people do to and i hope they love to be black

from mirrors of
Poet, Song Writer and Screenplay/Stage Play Writer

Chara NyAshia Sanjo (born August 27, 1965) is an African American author, poet, song writer and screenplay/stage play writer. She is best know for her novel Reclamation of Africa’s Royalty 323 BC and her inspiring poem “It’s Beautiful to be Black.” She began writing at the age of eleven.

Sanjo was born in Cleveland, OH, as Carla Benita Burton, but decided to reclaim her African name Chara NyAshia Sanjo once she was inspired by the true beauty of African History. Her name translates to (Beautiful African princess of purpose who appreciates her past) Chara, the daughter of Anita Cozzette Moore, a hair dresser and elementary school janitor and Albert Carl Burton whose career is unknown seeing that Chara never established a relationship with her father. Her mother died in 2005 of Lung Cancer.

Chara attended John Adams High School and later transferred and graduated from West Technical High School in Cleveland OH. After high school, she attended and graduated from Cuyahoga Community College with an Associates of Art Degree (liberal arts-music & theater). She later attended and graduated from Myers University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Information Processing Systems.

Chara had every intention on finishing what she started in the arts but had allowed other to discourage her dreams when she became a statistic as a single parent. From this, she took on various jobs working as a secretary, customer service, fitness instructor and she has also worked in various administrative positions in the Medical Industry to support her son.

Before her mother’s death in 2005, she encouraged Chara to get back into the arts and to write the stories that she so loved. Chara took her mother’s advice and decided that she didn’t want to look back on her life and be a victim of Should of would of could of so she pulled an old novel that she started in 1998 off her book shelf and felt compelled to finish it. Chara dedicated that book to her mother.

In 2007 Chara made many attempts to get her book published, but all she heard was no or not interested. After being turned down, Chara decided to self publish her story because she was determined for the world to hear it. Today we know this novel/stage play as Reclamation of Africa’s Royalty 323 BC.

Chara was determined not to let anyone discourage her from making her dreams a reality. In 2008 she launched her own production company called Chara NyAshia Sanjo’s Entertainment Empire. She completed her first poetry book titled Verses of a Black Voice in 2009.

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