Brent Meersman a journalist with creative flare for reviews. He has reported on numerous beats of journalism, from being part of Mail & Guardian, as well as a political novelist. The poet in him makes his play with words to set him above most food and performing arts critics. The writer is well regarded for his opinion; his reviews leave a pleasant taste on ones palate.
Reading his post why do many African writers leave? The introduction is very interesting because of its use of European ignorance to keep you glued on screen. In the piece Meersman employs the questions and answers (Q&A) to give us a glimpse of Nimrod Djangrang Bena.
He digs into it, by giving us a brief Biography of his subject in the nut graph directly followed by a quote taken from Djangrang Bena’s poems, setting his first question. The article doesn’t answer the lede question. Yes, an impression is set, that of a country ravaged by war, a Youngman seeking better pastures. But is it only writers that leaves? Do they all leave Africa for the same reasons?
The question of French being used as an African language, would have interestingly had weight being linked to Ngugi Wa Thiong’o Decolonising the mind, the politics of language in African literature. Wa Thiong’o says
“The whole uncritical acceptance of English and French as the inevitable medium for educated African writing is misdirected, and has no chance of advancing African literature and culture”.
As part of the foodie’s “body of work”, his piece on “The chef’s table at Masala Dosa”, leaves me wondering whether the writer is a food blogger or was reviewing his friends work? Meersman assumes that all his readers know about Thursday evenings. Leaving out the some background context, why they stopped? Where are these lovely nights held?
The article reminds me of Khaya Silingile’s Thursday edition Sowetan column, only this has no ingredients with it. His use of first person narrative and that out there person “You” makes one unsettled. Being the accomplished writer he is, with numerous books does give one room to break rules.
One is left amazed by his charm and humour, I guess reviewing your own work would bring back sentimental moments. The piece “looking back on a 150 restaurants reviewed” is an interesting read to garner knowledge of who he is? The fun he has had over the period.