A Road Well Conquered: Kalu Uka, Literature and Pedagogy. (A Festchrift in Honour of Professor Kalu Uka)

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Preface

The editors are humbled to be allowed to do a work of this nature on one of Africa’s foremost (and still standing) theatre artists and scholars, a fine gentleman, philanthropist and orator of our time, Professor Kalu Uka.

We recognize that a work such as this is long overdue, for no talk on drama and theatre in Africa could ever be complete without the mentioning of the name, ‘Kalu Uka’. The poet, activist, essayist, novelist and playwright has conquered lime and clime, questing, experimenting, and evolving modules that could qualify for a justification and recognition of an African drama and theatre.

A contemporary of the likes of Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, I. P. Clark Bekederemo, Dapo Adelugba, M. I. C. Echeruo, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, the late Ime Ikiddeh, to mention a few, Professor Uka has demonstrated practical and theoretical scholarship in different tertiary institutions, nationally and internationally, for an unbroken period of over forty years. If, at seventy—six, Professor Uka is still actively engaged, and germane, it goes to show that he has been able to work, and walk, across generational divides, fighting still, knowing that at the end of that tunnel. ..lies a bright light.

Professor Kalu Uka is an optimist without any political pretension. He is, however, a social commentator who does not spare his pen, and tongue, on issues that he feels are retro-active and retrogressive; on such issues, Kalu Uka is fearless and brave. ‘Things must be done the proper way’, he insists.

It is to this man… our man… that the little collection in this volume is devoted and it is our fervent hope that it will not only be useful to mankind (womankind?), but that it will mark the beginning of grave academic interests (among scholars) in the views (shared and expressed), person, and works of Professor Kalu Uka (as suggested by one of our contributors to this volume, Dr. Muyiwa Awodiya.

This volume is divided into five sections. Section A, which is christened, Kain Uka in Rhyme is devoted to a body of poems that are Uka-related, Uka-specific. The poems, (from young, budding poets) express diverse views on the man of the moment, Kalu Uka.

Section B is titled Critical Essays. Different opinions are held on the person and works of the erudite professor. Twenty-five of such opinions, as captured in essays on his creative works, and on his person have been carefully selected to reflect the different thinking and world view of Professor Uka. The section is very fertile and enriching in the diverse views expressed and everyone will find it a compulsive read.

Understanding that, as part of human nature, people may want to say things ‘anyhow’, we decided to probe into the mind and thinking of Professor Uka himself by engaging him, differently, ‘one-on-one‘ in Section C aptly christened
Talking the Talk: Interviews and Recent Essays. Our questions were carefully selected. Kalu Uka did not thwart our expectations of him. He exhibited his oratorical ingenuity with brazen frankness as he discussed the different issues we raised with him freely, and without bias. We also deemed it fitting to include an interview he granted a Nigerian tabloid in recent time where the scholar-artiste bore his mind on issues of African interest. The ambitious nature of the section also made it imperative for the inclusion of some of his recent views, as captured in a number of essays which he only recently delivered. Unfortunately, as at the time of going to press, only three of such essays were ready to be included, and they are rich, profound, thought-provoking and enriching. They are added for your delight.

In Section D titled Poetic Thoughts and ReviewEssay (s), we decided to recognize the yearning voices of a few poetic ‘caterwauling’ asking to be given the opportunity to be heard. The poems in this section treat diverse issues of life. The section also contains the Celebration Talk which Professor Effiong Johnson delivered in 2008 to mark Professor Uka’s entry into “septuagenarianity”, a review essay on one of Kalu Uka’s works and a friendly ‘chat’ but an inspiring chat with a Nigerian journalist.

The book concludes in Section E, christened Impressions/ Tributes. Kalu Uka has had his friends as well as his foes: it is normal. It is unreasonable to think, and perhaps, believe, that everyone likes one. To this end, we decided to recognize,

In this section, what some prominent Nigerian sons and daughters have to say about Kalu Uka. .. how they envision him… how he rates in their minds. A few of such impressions are collated in this section.

This book is balanced in its structural and thematic presentation. However, it does not exhaust all that needs to be said on Professor Uka. Indeed, there is so much more to say, so much more to know. This is our own humble effort at presenting to posterity, a man who has put in so much for the world. ..so that
posterity may have a voice.

Congratulations, Professor Kalu Uka!
More grist to your elbow.

Professor Effiong Iohnson
Dr. Stephen Inegbe

***** We humbly wish to inform our readers that the word, Ikhamma, in Professor Kalu Uka’s play, Ikhamma, is actually spelt Ikhammaa. Professor Uka gave this information just as we were about to go to press. The different contributors to this book gave the first spelling because it is what is obtained as title in the published play.

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This Compendium consist of the following Critical Essays and More:
1. Kalu Uka: The Man, His Theatre and the Rest of us by Professor Uwemedimo Atakpo
2. Kalu Uka and the ‘Observer Women’: Towards a Correctivist Reading of The Hant for Sugar Baby and lkhamma by Professor Mabel Evwierhorna
3. From Romance to New Birth: An Excursion into Kalu Uka’s Poetry Professor Sola T. Babatunde and Samuel Kwesi Nkansah
4. Tradition and Social Commentary in Kalu Uka’s Ikhamma and A Harvest for Ants. by Amen Dennis Alton, Ph.D (Associate Professor) and Oja P. Egwemi
5. Kalu Uka as Drarnatist: Painting “Othering” and Self-Reclamation of the Niger Delta in Ikhamma by Etop Akwang, Ph. D
6. The “Sacred Femina” as Bullets of War in Literature and Other Arts: A Preliminary Interrogation of Kalu Uka’s Colonel Ben Brim. Liwhu Betiang, Ph.D
7. Kalu Uka’s Creation and Creativity. . .: A Critique of the Critical Professor Charles Emeka Nwadigwe
8. African Traditional Cultural Forms, Signage and Symbolism in Kalu Uka’s A Harvest for Ants: A Socio-Semiological Analysis by Ofonime Inyang and Idaresit Inyang
9. The African Woman and Colonialism in Kalu Uka’s A Harvest for Ants. by Nwagbo Nnenyefike
10. Evolution of Modern African Drama: Kalu Uka’s Transition from Evolutionism to Relativism in Ikhamma.
by Canice Chukwuma Nwosu and Emma Ejiofor Ebo
11. Plucking the Feathers off Ritual: A Study of Ikhamma by Chukwuma Anyanwu
12. L’Adaptation de la Fleche de Dieu dans Le Theatre de Kalu Uka: Vers La Revalorisation des Aspects Culturels au Nigeria by Ibrahim Adedeji Saiaudeen, Ph. D
13. Adaptation as a Creative Enterprise: The Crafting of Kalu Uka’s A Harvest for Ants. by Ubong S. Nda, Ph. D
14. Kalu Uka and the Development of Drama and Theatre Scholarship in Nigeria. by Professor Muyiwa R Awodiya
15. Images of the Grim in Kalu Uka’s The Hunt for Sugar Baby. by Margaret G. Akpan, Ph. D
16. Religious Faith and Hypocrisy in Kalu Uka’s The Hunt for Sugar Baby. by Justina S.B. Nkanga, Ph. D and Esther Ekom Robert, Ph.D
17. Igbonglais: Une Appropriation du Langage dans A Harvesr for Ants de Kalu Uka by Miriam Stephen Inegbe, MA, PGDE
18. Kalu Uka: Impacts, Life and Works by Vincent Oghenevweta Diakpomrere
19. The Technical Challenges in Kalu Uka s Ikhamma by Okon Udofot Jacob, Ph. D
20. Staging Select Plays of Kalu Uka: A Technical Outlook by Ekweariri, Chidiebere 5. Ph.D
21. Dance as an Aesthetic Paradigm in Kalu Uka’s A Harvest For Ants. by Ifure Ufford-Azorbo, Ph. D
22. Dancing Through Kalu Uka in Chinua Achebe s Arrow of God by Victor Thompson
23. Stylistics in Uka’s A Consumation of Fire by Agwu, Orieji K.K and Stephen Inegbe, Ph D
24. Dramaturgy and Morality in Kalu Uka s Allegorical “Sugar Baby”. by Bassey Ubong
25. Seven Ages of a Colossus by Manson Akaduh

These Critical Essays can also be purchased respectively.

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