Allow me a couple of inches in your excellent magazine to say that the columnists at New African are really putting in a decent shift. Mr Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher, you are getting more than your money's worth!
Starting from the top, I have long been an avid follower of Anver Versi and a huge fan of his opinion pieces. From his days at African Business, through his two incarnations at New African, he has always struck me as a lucid Afro-optimist on the one hand, who is not hesitant to apply the stick where it is deserved on the other. Well versed, Versi. Then again, I'm Kenyan, so there's a chance I'm biased.
But it's not just him. Some issues of NA exhibit near-saturation levels of sobering sense. So, for example, whenever I feel like a spot of 'white man bashing', I head straight for 'Baffour's Beefs'. Yet, surprisingly often, he has just cause. A recent piece had me Googling 'Gulf War II' to see the role august media houses like the BBC had in cheering on that particular misadventure.
After that, one can choose to go for Kalundi Serumaga, who often starts deceptively innocently before ending with a sting in the tail! Or hearken to the old-world charm and left-field logic of Kwame Muzawazi (but, is it left-field logic to look at our current way of life through the eyes of African culture? Or should that actually be mainstream--the basis upon which we sieve before we receive input from others?).
Clayton Goodwin unobtrusively sheds wisdom. And while the columnists department is yet to meet the one-thirdgender rule, not to mention sufficient youth participation, it is noteworthy that Winnie Odinga is almost single-handedly holding this brief.
Bassist at the back
So there's a whole lot of music one gets from each instrumentalist in this lyrical ensemble that NA has put together. But allow me, this time, to point to the bassist at the back. The guy who sets the band's harmonic foundation. The 'Last Word' columnist Onyekachi Wambu and his 'Back to the Future' articles. I have to admit it took me some time to notice him. Like a good bassist, he helps keep the band in rhythm but in a way that makes it seem like everything you're hearing is just normal. Until you listen closely.
You see, Wambu looks like those quiet guys you meet sitting in a corner at the bar who you presume are not up to much particularly, until you make the mistake of sitting next to them and asking what they are thinking about. That's when you realise they have been...