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The African in the Mirror

By Abimbola Lagunju | Publisher: Tomio Publishing House (Nigeria) | Reviewed by: Olatoun Gabi-Williams |

Abimbola Lagunju is a medical doctor and development expert working with International Social Services West Africa, an international NGO, part of a worldwide institution, set up in 2012 to assist migrants who run into difficulties in their host countries. My first encounter with Lagunju as a literary artist took place in 2010 with a volume of poetry evocatively titled

‘Children of Signatures’ in which I found some piercingly beautiful lamentations about Africa.One of Lagunju’s latest offerings, is ‘The African in the Mirror’, a work of prose in which the dirge of Signatures escalates into protest and a rigorous prosecution of the African man as architect, through compliance, of his own misfortunes. Polemical but not strident, ‘The African in the Mirror’ is an honest and brave examination delivered in about 122 pages. And on this platform of arguments he passes his judgement on black Africans. It will repel many. Not him. For him this judgement is an epiphany, offering Africans our only opportunity to map our way into a future that protects us from the traps we have fallen into time and again throughout our tragic history.

And this is where the book innovates. Dr. Lagunju does not just present a diagnosis as so many African writers have done and continue to do. Dr. Lagunju prescribes the solution. What he terms a re- distribution of energy by the black man within a framework of ‘societal relational energy dynamics’. Sounds obscure? I thought so too until the conversation I had with him. My discussion with Abimbola Lagunju via Skype helped me understand what it all means and why he proposes it as Africa’s only way out of her morass. Join us!

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