Essay on Omoseye Bolaji’s People of the Townships

It is said that any literature, regardless of its form or format, whether it is poetry or prose, remains the mirror of contemporary society. Apart from lifestyle and culture, it also describes contemporary ideas and thoughts of the people, and while doing so, it also espouses universal ideas, and values. At the same time, it also provides a mirror of the writer’s soul. It is nowhere more evident than in the book “People of the Townships”. First published in 2003, the author of this book is Omoseye Bolaji, a Nigerian author who has made a considerable contribution to black or African literature during the last few decades.

 The storyline of this book is considerably simple. It is a first-person narrative. The narrator is a young man who drifts from place to place in South African townships. During this time, he visits many towns in South Africa and interacts with people from various socio-economic levels in contemporary society and narrates different incidents based on these interactions. While doing so, he analyzes social, emotional, and economic issues in the modern South Africa. Some examples in this context include the AIDs issue, the place of black women in society, and others. Even while doing so, the writer shows considerable insight and has captured the reader’s interest throughout the book, and surprises him with a twist in the tale. For example, the writer reveals that the narrator of this book is a murderer. It changes the reader’s perception and understanding related to the theme and is totally in keeping with the author's writing style. 

 The language of the book is easy to read and follow as it has a seamless flow. In the book, Bolaji also draws vivid and clear images, and readers who are reading feel they know these people and are witnessing these incidents in front of them. These thoughts and ideas create a close rapport between the writer and the reader. Although the book targets lay readers, it is also a must-read for readers who like peel layers and analyzes it from an academic perspective. Since he started writing and publishing books, his resume has been impressive. For example, he has published books in many genres, including mystery, poetry, and others. Further, he has been the editor of various prestigious magazines. 

The book “People of the Townships” validates various points about literature. For example, it provides an example of how a book functions as the mirror of contemporary society and elucidates universal values. At the same time, it is a prominent example of the writing style of Omoseye Bolaji and how it is distinct from other African writers. The book also illustrates influences on his writing style. According to many reviewers, Omoseye Bolaji, as a writer, is highly influenced by many mystery and suspense writers, such as Agatha Cristie and Sidney Sheldon It reflects in most of his books as he always includes many twists and turns in the story. At the same time, we can see the writer’s experiences, thoughts, and ideas in “People of the Townships” in his social commentary and “moral extortions”. The remarkable thing about this book is even with social commentary, the book is enjoyable as the writer has used humor while increasing awareness about these issues.

 Omoseye Bolaji is considered the leading light of contemporary African literature, and not without reason. Although he has covered many literary genres as a writer, contemporary fiction and the books, such as “People of the Townships” remains the best example. After a comprehensive review, it is clear that the book “People of the Townships” remains the best possible landmark of contemporary African and World literature.