Book Review: A Play of Giants by Wole Soyinka

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It’s been ages since I read a play and I have to say this was an amazing read. Wole Soyinka needs no introduction, he’s only the first African to be honored with a Nobel Prize in Literature (1986).

Now to the review.

A Play of Giants is a political satire set in the Bugaran Embassy to the United Nations, New York. It revolves around four African heads of states who mimicked real-life actors at the time the play was written:

  • Benefacio Gunema: President for Life Macias Nguema (Equitorial Guinea)
  • Emperor Kasco: Emperor of Life Jean-Baptiste Bokassa (Central African Republic)
  • Field-Marshal Kamini: Life President Field Marshal El-Haji Dr Idi Amin (Uganda)
  • General Barra Tuboum: Life President Mobuto Sese Seko (Congo/Zaïre)

With focus mainly on Field-Marshal Kamini (Idi Amin), the Supermen are portrayed in their splendor at the Bugaran Embassy where they are being sculpted. The play opens up with three of the Supermen as they passionately discuss power, responsibility and politics while being immortalised.

I found myself transported onto the fictional grounds of the Bugaran Embassy while reading this. Even though things got quite intense as subsequent characters tried to reason with Dr President Kamini, I really didn’t want to leave. The play ended so abruptly for me. I really didn’t want to be booted out so fast!

A Play of Giants is really enlightening and manages to be hilarious even as it schools you.

QUOTES:

“Power comes only with the death of politics. That is why I chose to become emperor. I place myself beyond politics.” – Kasco

“Any fool can understand government, but power!” – Gunema

“I think the author is Don Guadjara – he write that power is elixir. So I say to myself, how I taste this elixir? That is when I go into voodoo.” – Gunema

“We also have a saying in Bogota, ‘Laughter is the tequila that corrodes the machete of anger’” – Secretary General

The version I read, an e-copy had 81 pages. You could get a copy here or here!

Podcasts 101: Women in Diplomacy

To christen this new category on The Elementary Project, I have to introduce you all to the ‘Women in Diplomacy‘ podcast. This podcast is directed by Kelsey Suemnicht and I’m an avid listener.

On days when I need more than a little inspiration, I find myself on this podcast feed. Each episode is laden with gems shared by amazing women in diplomacy. The tenacity with which they pursue their passion is nothing short of inspiring.

Episodes are often role model interviews where the interviewer, Kelsey Suemnich‘sits down with role models in the field to capture their personal stories and career paths paired with advice, highlights from the field, and research inspiration.’

I particularly enjoy these interviews because Kelsey asks really key, pertinent questions and I like getting to hear from these great women on how they got to live their dreams. So far, episodes are 14 – 44 minutes long depending on what category they fall under. Interviews are quite moderate in length and the workshops are lengthier.

So far, workshops have been done on Research and more recently Public Speaking. I definitely look forward to more workshops!

Although episodes should include topic round-tables to highlight overarching topics in the world through debate and discussion, there hasn’t been a round-table episode so far.

I obviously love this podcast but if I have to choose favourites, I’d go with “Hip Hop Diplomacy with Mahogany Jones”, “Political Affairs at NATO with Jacqueline Dow” and “Counter-Terrorism at NATO with Juliette Bird”. You can see how much I’m enjoying the Women of NATO series. I look forward to hearing from Women of AU, UN and many more! Perhaps one day I’d get interviewed too!

Subscribe to the Women in Diplomacy podcast here.