A beguiling little collection of bon mots, chidings, lampoonery and entertainments related to sub-Saharan Africa.
Right from start–with the title, a comical salute to The Joys of Sex, "one of the most popular books in public libraries in the USA"–Wewe, a Cameroonian now working as a librarian in Brooklyn, has a high time poking fun, paying respect and excoriating various elements of the contemporary African scene. His comments are short and to the point, at times "politically incorrect," he admits, but at others pointedly astute, and they come at the reader like bats out of a cave: fast, swarming, without the pretense of order, but rather like a Guinness Book of World Records of Wewe's fixations and bÃªte noires. He throws off one-liners like a stand-up comic–"There is rampant poverty among the people but they are renowned for coping with it, given the low cost of living"–then gets down to brass tacks about how to tell a fake traditional doctor from a genuine sangoma. He cracks wise on the topic of sex ("Sex Glossary for Africans: Dick is a name but we should also know that it means penis"), then gets serious about the denial of AIDS by a number of African governments, in addition to the grotesquery of genital mutilation, or the absurd hedonistic pursuits of Swazi's King Mswati. He also uses broad satire to ridicule the behavior of officials–as when the late strongman of the Ivory Coast, Robert Guei, quarantined the national soccer team after they lost a tournament–or he will simply point out the venality of a Bokassa, Abacha, Moi, Mobutu, Banda or Goodwill Zwekithini.
Wewe is quick on his feet–he will never be accused of windiness–and he knows when to deploy humor and when to jab a sharp stick in the eye.