Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Novel Jiji by Plateau-based author Changchit Wuyep

Several weeks after I arrived back into Nigeria, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of Jos ANA (Association of Nigerian Authors). I was quite involved with the Jos ANA chapter when I lived in Jos from 2001-2003, but the membership has almost completely changed. Nevertheless, I don’t know if I have attended another ANA meeting in which I have been so impressed by both the quality of the works read and the level of commentary and discussion about writing. While there, I met Mrs. Changchit Wuyep who read from her novel Jiji, a mythic novel set in pre-colonial Plateau State. I bought a copy and finally got around to reading it on a 12 hour trip on a bus from Ibadan (where I had gone for a conference) to Jos last week. I was enthralled, and wanted to write a little blurb for it here. This weekend I did an interview with Mrs. Wuyep, which I will post, together with the blurb on my other blog.

Jiji by Changchit Wuyep

With a storytelling flair remniscient of Amos Tutuola, Abubakar Imam, Flora Nwapa, and Zainab Alkali, nurse and writer Changchit Wuyep spins a tale about a Sinbad-like hero that is rooted in the worldview of the Tarok people of Plateau State:

In one of the worst storms ever seen in the village of Jangnap, a child is born who will bring both misfortune and deliverance his people. Claimed by a river goddess who will not be appeased, the child is miraculously saved from drowning by a gorilla and is raised by mountain people, propelled from one adventure to another by multiple warring gods, who desire him as their champion. The novel takes the form of a journey in which the hero and his faithful gorilla companion are pulled between two forces of dark and light, the water goddess and the mountain god. While given supernatural forces by the gods, his strong sense of justice comes from what he has learned in his years of travel in the mountains, the forest, the desert, and the sea, and his interaction with hermits and villagers, spirits and gods. After having grown from an infant to a man, Jiji arrives back to Jangnap. It is his sense of justice learned of his wanderings, even more than the gifts of the god, that bolsters him in his final battle against oppression.

To read my conversation with Changchit Wuyep, see my other blog.


Name: Murna Gilbert said...

Talatu, ina yi ma'ki godiya don abubuwan da ki ke rubutawa, kuma ina fata ki na nan lafiya.

Gaskiya, ba tsara 'nki fa a blogosphere; ke ce gimbiya!

Nice blurb on Wuyep's novel

NigerianDramaQueen said...

Haven't heard of her, but this is an interesting synopsis. I am also yet to read Alkali's 'The Stillborn'. Would you recommend it?

Ni ma ina yi maki godiya don abubuwan da ki ke rubutawa:-)

Talatu-Carmen said...

Murna Gilbert and Nigeriandramaqueen,

thanks. :-) The novel was self published here in Jos, but I'm hoping that it might be picked up by a larger publisher with more distribution networks.

Yes, I like Alkali's The Stillborn. I also really like her Virtuous Woman--a lovely little young adult novel.