Invocation for Peace in Kabura Zakama‘s Chant of the Angry
Title of Book: Chant of the Angry
Author: Kabura Zakama
Publisher: KAIROS
Date of Publication: 2021
Country of Publication: Nigeria
ISBN: 978-978-991-027-4
Book Reviewer: Salamatu Sule

When writers decides to pick up their pen and spill ink to paper whether for pain or pleasure, we usually anticipate that the stories they write are worth our time and energy to read. But when poets decides to write down a line or two, we know that most times, by default, their poetry is informed by a haunting and burning or a heartfelt situation-ship demanding our attention for advocacy.

This is the situation with Poet, Kabura Zakama when he decides to bequeath to us his collection of poems, Chant of the Angry.
Once upon a time, African writers and other civil advocates sued its colonial masters for appropriating, and enriching themselves of the continent and leaving it in a state beyond repair. The activities of these pan Africanist brought about independence hence the awakening of a renewed hope. This hope has been stuck on the tongues of every single citizens sadly.

Reading this collection gifted to me by the author, first, I was captivated by the stunning white cover design with a collage of human faces in a frame of what looks like the colour of blood in a spalsh of green garb. While delving into the book proper, the Poet’s note title Welcome to my world, Again tells us that unlike writing for art’s sake, Kabura would rather purge himself of the madness that is the society he lives in as he notes down:

write to purge myself of the impotence of anger…”

(Chant of the Angry- Poet’s note)

This caption helps inform the very essence of the eponymous title and also spares us the puzzle about where the poet is headed to. When you pick up this book, the question bugging and begging for answer is Why Chant Angry?

Kabura Zakama’s collection is a bitter sour wine that we experience Sixty Six shades of taste and nod our head in affirmation while our faces are filled with sadness. It is a protest poetry of the collage or shades of angry faces about a society that has all it takes to grow and flourish but decides not just to waste away its wealth but its humans too.

The collection is an expression of the poet’s emotions and frustration about the state of affairs within and about the African region especially Nigeria. It is also of solidarity of chants for those broken by internal crisis of banditry, and for the loss of loved ones and for the lust of power…

The collection, very thought provoking, opens with: Song of Africa and the poet laments that Africa’s heroism as mother earth has become an ancient chant because it defies the realities of today about what the state of the continent has become especially with regards to the leaderships which the poet sees as a big failure.
“Your ruler are chains around your heart” (line 11, Pg1, COTA)

The poet laments that amidst all the plenty, poverty reigns. He captures it in a dirge like manner:
“Your song now drips on me
Like rain on a scorched day”

Traditionally, rain in any part of the world, especially Africa, symbolizes good yield, fertility, wealth and joy. But here, the poet personae showed us how sadly this yield becomes unyielding and far beyond our reach. Like the scorching Sun, the rain drip is not just hot but hurting… All of the chants are received with deafening silence as the poet puts it:

“Partisan prattles rain in vein
My chest holds a boiling pain…
Greed grows on the pagan-filled piety
That feeds these veins of intolerance,
The stickholders beat back our tongues
Their hisses and farts drown our chants”. (COTA, Pg2)

The poet personae says:
“Take me to the shrine of Abami Eda let me spit on the scoundrels”.

The poet philosophy is embedded in this creative work as we note that Kabura is a development worker and a social commentator who writes about social decadences and the normalization of it.
The thematic preoccupation is that of the expression of anger individually and collectively. It also portrays the ineptitude of human conscience in the face of security and safety of the majority.

I want to warn that those who are not angry at the state of the continent or country should not read this collection. I never tired of reading this book and you should pick a copy and say something about it.

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