It’s no news that there is a strong African literary presence on social media.

The scene is vibrant and intellectually stimulating. And while there are shouting matches—only when the Nigerians are in the house—there are also lots of laughs and genuinely delightful moments—like this one.

The photo was taken at the recently concluded Open Book Festival in Cape Town. On the left is Okey Ndibe, the author of Foreign Gods, Inc. On the right is Petina Gappah, whose new novel The Book of Memory was recently published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

It’s quite possible these two are laughing because the festival is so much fun. We monitored the Twitter updates on the festival and everyone, including speculative fiction writer Lauren Beukes, raved about how wonderful it was. [see the #OBF2015 Facebook timeline HERE]

Or maybe it’s the wine.

We could spend days trying to decode this image and would produce a thousand captions in the process.

But, don’t worry, Gappah saved us the trouble.

When she posted the photo on Facebook, she tagged on this text:

This, right here is the picture that sums up my Cape Town experience. Mati kujabulika ikoko! And for the record, our moderator Andrew Brown had asked Okey Ndibe and I: So, what do you really think of Pa Ikhide. And this was our response [smile emoticon]

The “likes” quickly snowballed and the comments multiplied. The African literary corner of Facebook has been having a field day making fun of Pa Ikhide.

If you don’t know Pa Ikhide and why he is the butt of such literary fun, then sorry your claims to being a fan of African literature is highly suspect.

He is the “baba nla” of the African literary social media. He says what everyone is thinking but no one has the guts to say. He keeps everyone honest and in check. And somehow manages to entertain us in the process. Let’s just say he is loved.

Pa Ikhide has since responded, in his signature fashion, with threats and counter-threats. But everyone is still laughing at him.

Have a lovely weekend everyone! See you on Monday.



Image via Petina Gappah’ Facebook page.


Tags: , , , , , ,

I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

3 Responses to “This Photo Captures Everything We Love About The African Literary Scene” Subscribe

  1. Okiri Christopher 2015/09/18 at 3:51 am #

    I quickly surmise the reason for the mirth as the wine; but I stopped in tracks when I realized that Pa Ikhide is in it. That Old Wine In New Wineskin. Yes, he is loved even by the devil.

  2. Fatima 2015/09/21 at 4:45 am #

    I am one of Pa Ikhide’s ‘inamoratas’ (albeit a silent love).

    He is the reason I began reading Brittle Paper.

    I join in their mirth

  3. Ainehi Edoro 2015/09/22 at 5:21 am #

    Hi Fatima,

    Delighted you’re part of his coterie of inamoratas 🙂

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Nnedi Okorafor’s Chicken in the Kitchen Wins Children’s Africana Book Award


On October 8th, Nnedi Okorafor attended a ceremony at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC  where […]

Adichie Has Some Thoughts About Michelle Obama as a Figure of Black Femininity


As Michelle Obama concludes her 8-year run as first lady, The New York Times Style Magazine assembles a group of […]

Welcome to London | by Lucky Edobor | An African Story


05:40 am. The immigration man’s backside is too flat, even for a skinny white man. It is hard to not […]

Opportunity for African Writers | Entries are Open for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize


Entries are officially opened for the Brunel University International African Poetry Prize. You can now enter your poems for a […]

Chibundu Onuzo’s Brand New Ultra-Chic Author Photos


A week ago, Chibundu Onuzo shared this photograph above on Instagram with the caption: “There comes a time in every […]

Imperialism-in-Artistry: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Win Is Proof Adichie Is Right about Beyonce | by Otosirieze Obi-Young


IN A RECENT INTERVIEW with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, ahead of the Dutch translation of her We Should All […]