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K’cracy, Trees in the Storm and other Poems

2008, author(s)-editor(s) Bill F. NDI

In K’cracy, Trees in the Storm and Other Poems, Bill Ndi vociferously bemoans the fate of a world in which the good and the evil are intimate bedfellows; a world wherein miscreants proceed with nauseating impunity to trample on innocence.

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ISBN 9789956558742 | 124 pages | 229 x 152 mm | 2008 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback


“K’cracy, metonym for the reign of kleptocracy-cum-Kakistocracy, is the poet’s macabre hymn in denunciation of a clime characterized by passionate love-hate, hate-love, love-hate-hate, and hate-hate-love relationships. The poet summons us all to an examination of conscience. This collection deserves to be read in its entirety.”
Peter Wuteh Vakunta, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

“Different streams of poetic inspiration energise this collection of poems: the power of the writer’s pen to ‘sing liberty’; the political present; the political past; the family and the child; and what I would call ‘the humanist vision’. This collection could take us on a path from political despair to humanist hope.”
Beornn McCarthy, Literary Studies, University of Melbourne/Deakin University

1 Review

  • K’cracy, Trees in the Storm and other Poems 28 August 2009 11:58, author(s)-editor(s) Peter Wuteh Vakunta, Ph.D (University of Wisconsin-Madison, (...)

    K’cracy, Trees in the Storm, a compendium of one hundred and fourteen captivating poems, is an effusion of bitter-sweet emotions. By titling his book of poems “K’cracy”, Bill Ndi makes a powerful political statement on the status quo in Africa. “K’cracy”, metonym for the reign of kleptocracy-cum-kakistocracy, is the poet’s harrowing hymn in denunciation of climes characterized by love-hate relationships. The poet summons his readers to a collective examination of conscience.

    “K’cracy”, Bill’s neologism, translates much more than just rule by the barrel of gun; it denotes totalitarianism bolstered by secrecy and occultism. Kakistocracy derived from two lexes—‘khaki’ and ‘democracy’— symbolizes government by the military for the military. These poems tell the story about the socio-political goings-on in Cameroon, but could easily represent any African country in the throes of military dictatorship or demo-dictatorship, underdevelopment, bad governance and economic morass. Ndi’s world is one where …“desert storms/ Raise clouds…/ Clouds of dust …/ Dictatorship/ book- keeper/ of celestial wisdom/And defendant of earthly kingdom/Demo-crazy makes his driver.”(50) In more than one poem, the poet contends that Kakistocracy has aborted the precept of government by the people for the people, making nonsense of democratic principles as the following lines show: “To turn out like/Machine gun-like, pout/ Horror for Head.”(24)

    Ndi’s voice is the voice of the voiceless. He purports to speak for the downtrodden who cannot speak for themselves as evidenced in the following lines: “And the voices, their voice/ Within the telling their travail/Hopes and aspirations shall prevail.” (7) The poet argues that great leaders are committed to the task of making the institution of democracy work for the sake of the common good, and are willing to be held accountable. A less common character trait of a true leader, Ndi contends, is the ability to recognize talent and use of human capital to make the greatest contribution to nation-building: “Greatness does not come by war/Greatness never passes through a door/ He dwells inside/ And shows light…”(11)

    K’cracy, Trees in the Storm is a rap on growing tolerance for institutions that give free reign to empty rhetoric, bravado and developmental stagnation in Africa. The poet cautions that substantive change must begin with an earnest calling into question of the status quo. He decries the “birthing/of a nation/with filth filled.”(1) In the same vein, he denounces the endemic corruption that has become the cause of our undoing in Cameroon: “Passionate world champion/ Champion of corruption!”(1) Ndi attributes the sorry state of affairs in our nation to stupidity: “We know your head as empty/As the bellies of our fellow human beings.”(3) 

    K’cracy, Trees in the Storm qualifies as a freedom song: “Oh, Freedom/Freedom/Freedom/Oh, Freedom fighters.”(27) Blending his voice with those of the downtrodden, the poet says it loud and clear: “we ask for no doom/ but our rights/our birth rights!”(2) In a bid to send a scathing message to emasculators of fundamental human rights, Ndi resorts to oxymoronic expressions: “I smile where others will cry/ I laugh where others will moan.”(9); Or this interesting one: “Above, the bright sun is black.” (40). In “The Wealth of Poverty”, the poet portrays a world where the needy have grown accustomed to “the pangs of hunger”, their “daily lot.”(9)

    Casting his vitriolic net further a-shore into the sea of human bigotry the poet bemoans the fate of victims of racial profiling: “…he bars the door to a Black/…Yet letting in White men…!”(12) This collection of poems is truly a tale of woes. It brings under the spotlight, the foibles of men turned predators of other men. Ruminating on the passage of time, Ndi takes his readers on a walk down memory lane, inviting us to revisit the long calamitous trajectory of his ancestors and migrant workers of this time and age: “Like our ancestors/Hunters gatherers/We migrated to clean up/Their cities of today.” (15)

    Like a bulldozer, K’cracy, Trees in the Storm levels all minutiae in its path—Graft, perversion, ineptitude, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, adultery, bigotry, racism, sexism, gravy train and ilk. Ndi assumes the posture of a herald of truth. His book of poems is harbinger of a collective uprising: “As we queue in files/With angst marking time.../To pursue this line…/Seeing the crown down/Lackeys shall frown/ To down the Roy/We’ll not but joy.”(43) In “Our kind Stepmother”, the poet enjoins his compatriots to not falter, for victory is around the corner: “Docility breeds passion and badger/ Dumbness is viper’s co-author.” (45)

    Vituperative as Ndi’s tongue may be, he dares not chase God out of his poetic world. He appeals for divine intervention in times of need as these lines testify: “Oh, God! /May my appellation tempt thee/ Show mankind the light.”(48) Paranoid about God’s angst, Ndi cajoles: “Over demanding is revolting…/But give the devil his due/ Knower of all with a design.”(48).By all measures, K’cracy, Trees in the Storm is an intriguing work of art: to cry or to laugh? to shout or to whisper? to pester or to cajole? This is the psychological rigmarole that Ndi puts his readers through; playing without their emotions, jogging their memories and summoning them to communal introspection.

    As a true son of Mimboland, to borrow from Francis Nyamnjoh, Ndi laments the havoc that alcoholism has wreaked on his countrymen. He describes his native land as a “world where/ Idiots as the odd ware/Whose brains deadened/ By their ability to drinking.” (52) In this respect, K’cracy, Trees in the Storm could be termed the cry of a prodigal son, a lone voice yearning for reason to prevail in a wilderness devoid of sanity. In “My happy Plight, he writes: “Look, look/ Look at me/ Poor me/ Here I am / Here in the Wilderness/This asylum.”(60)

    This notwithstanding, Ndi’s versification is not deprived of love. But his is a love-hate, hate-love relationship in a materialistic world where his “Soccer Queen” lies “Thirsty, paper/ Beacons pen/Through libidinous/Grey matter.”(86) In “Shark’s Shack”, the poet casts his interrogative eyes “On her feast/ In aqueous liquor…/ as she drums” tum tum/Tara-ta-ta tum!”(101)

    All in all, K’cracy, Trees in the Storm is the handiwork of an insightful poet endowed with exceptional creative genius. Whether or not the poems in this collection would have been a more pleasant read had Ndi arranged them in subheadings remains a moot point. In anticipation of this nagging question the poet poses the following question in his preface: “How could anyone categorize a poem celebrating love, death, birth and politics? Would it be a political poem, a love poem, an elegy or a nativity poem?”(ix)

    Reviewer: Peter Wuteh Vakunta, Ph.D [University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA]

    Source: www.postnewsline.com