The 267-page tome delves into multiple topics, including continental politics, pan-Africanism, the nuclear posture, colonial legacies, mental health, emotional well-being, tribal customs, and superstitions.
The last book by Alexander Nderitu, Matanga Disco, is a collection of ten romantic short stories set in Africa. The Kenyan-born writer and critic says the biggest influence on this project was British author Jeffery Archer:
“Jeffery Archer was the inspiration from the beginning. I’ve loved his short story collections since high school… But I’m an African scribe and I wanted to immerse myself in the popular romance genre. So the goal behind “Disco Matanga”, crazy as it sounds, was to produce something that reads like Jeffery Archer but written by an African griot in the vein of Barbara Cartland.
Although it has a love theme, the 267-page tome delves into multiple topics, including continental politics, pan-Africanism, nuclear posture, colonial legacies, mental health, emotional well-being, tribal customs, and superstitions.
In a story, titled ‘Love and Rockets’, the author imagines a scenario in which Nigerians have elected their first Commander-in-Chief, one Madame Faizah Abdulnasir. A fictional American magazine in the story describes her thus:
Abuja, Nigeria – Few world leaders today elicit the kind of emotion that Nigeria’s Faizah Abdulnasir elicits. The 65-year-old career politician, who is married to oil magnate Karim Abdulnasir, is part politician, part celebrity and part religious icon. Ms. Faizah Abdulnasir defeated three male candidates last month in a hotly contested election that was marred by sporadic violence and slander.
Since his election victory, he has hardly made the front pages of newspapers in Africa and the Middle East. A Moroccan griot composed a song in her honor, titled ‘The Queen of the North’. Libyans call her ‘Leading Sister Faizah’, a reminiscence of the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s title of ‘Brotherly Leader of the Revolution’. In Egypt, the famous image of her wearing her hijab was projected onto the Giza pyramid on the night of her election victory. During her first African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the media spotlight was so focused on her that the host prime minister joked that all the other heads of state were simply ‘accompanying her to the summit’.
“She ticks a lot of boxes,” said an Abuja University political science professor I interviewed. ‘She’s the first female leader we’ve ever had; she is a devout Muslim, giving her iconic status in the global Muslim world; she’s been a civilian all her life—we’re tired of being ruled by ex-generals; she’s photogenic, she’s actually a fashion icon, especially with her flowery hijabs and dark stunners of hers; and she seems to be a genuinely nice person. A people person. She has a wonderful sense of humor.
… But not everything is rosy at home. Ms. Faizah has an almost insurmountable task ahead of her: to transform Nigeria into a progressive nation by international standards. Unemployment remains high, terrorism persists, the economy is sick, food prices are through the roof, and corruption is endemic…
Politics aside, most of ‘Love and Rockets’ revolves around the torrid relationship between a voluptuous PALC receptionist and a handsome Nigerian economist.
Alejandro Nderitu is an award-winning writer, poet, playwright, and critic. In 2001, published Africa’s first electronic novel, When the Whirlwind Passes. Since then, he has published three more books in electronic and paperback format: The Moon is Made of Green Cheese (2008), Kiss Commander Promise (2021), and The Talking of Trees (2021). In 2017, Business Daily newspaper listed him among Kenya’s ’40 Best Men Under 40′.
According to statistics from Worldreader, an NGO that distributes free e-books and e-readers worldwide, the largest number of Nderitu readers is in Nigeria. This has led the author to infuse Nigerian characters into his work. In 2020, his narrative poem, ‘The Nigerian Naked Mice Convention’ was a finalist for the Elesiro Collins Literature Prize. In 2022, ‘The Spirit of Saint Louis’, another narrative poem, was published by the literary magazine Itanile. It centers on the date of a Kenyan man with a mysterious girl from Warri. Facebook page of Alexander Nderitu describes him as an ‘honorary Nigerian’.
Disco Matanga is available worldwide through Amazon.com and Núria Bookstore.