gerontocracy in africa

Sugar Cubes

SUGAR CUBES           || Ibiteye Overcomer

Ballot boxes are metaphors for sugar cubes:

Dazzling, inviting, brides of anthills.

Glazed cartons holding frail fragments

of truth, justice, sweetness, of anthills.

Brazen walls of power that makes their builders vulnerable,

or is it the builders that make themselves vulnerable?

Could it be that between the petulant layers of history

and the creamy strands of change,

brittleness is being used as cement?

Ballot boxes are metaphors for sugar cubes:

Bright, luminous,

dissolving on the tongues of thugs and grey-haired godfathers.

Dissolving into nothingness.

This land swallows colors and spits out shadows.

Feeble legs walk on corridors of power with

walking sticks,

while youthful lips are forced to mold into silence

and writhe beneath the whispers of fear.

Threnodies of the sixties on replay,

withered policies of the seventies on display,

masses left to do nothing but pray.

Yet, every morning, I stand by my window and watch

as the sun rises,

as it ignites hope in me.

A hope that one day, we’ll rise in our youthful agility,

flex our fingers

and rip out the brittleness in our sugar cubes,

that we’ll repair the creaky staircases of power

and climb up to leadership,

that doggedly, without compromise,

we’ll chase the anthills away.


Ibiteye Overcomer is a twenty-year-old Nigerian. She is an avid reader and a poet who uses poetry as a means to express her views and thoughts about pressing matters with ease. You will find her on Instagram @bimolaovercomer.

Read also: 4 African Authors You Didn’t Know Were Imprisoned For Activism


February: The Realization of Sankofa

For us on the tribe, February means more than a month to love and live. It means restoring family by taking time to revisit the past season and create measures to choose the best way forward.
This month the tribe team will take a step back to focus on in-house activities. We would need your help to make this season work.

What you can expect from us

• Usual but not so consistent content delivery.

• Beautifully crafted articles as usual.

• Reengineering and replanning strategic points in the tribe.

• Recruitment of new team members

• Opportunity for monthly themed contributions.

What you shouldn’t expect from us.

Our community managers; they will be taking some time to rest.
Editing space; we are working on building ourselves to be better.
Community engagement; this will now be moderated by tribesmen.
Featured posts by tribesmen will be taking a break.

While we are away, we will connect our present to our past to foresee our future.
We hope to rest well enough to give you our best.


Call for Submissions!

TVO TRIBE presents an open call for articles, poems, personal accounts, photos, etc on the community’s theme for March:


This is to give African creatives the opportunity to express themselves about the recent turn of events in the African political space. All contributors are therefore required to submit works that relate to this theme.

Why Literary Organisations Ask For Previously Unpublished Entries

A number of people still view publications from the stand point of what it was some years back when the only thing considered as published are those ones put down in black and white as hard copies. This would still remain the truth in the absence of evolving technology.
The evolution of technology has undeniably changed the face of everything we do as humans. Over time, technology has become the measure of value for our thoughts, actions, decisions and even our ability to be creative as writers.
Publication is a noun derived from the Latin word “publicare” which means to make something public. defines a publication as something made to communicate with the public. This explains that works posted on a website, blog, social media page, an open e-literary journal or any other media, which is accessible by the public, is a published work.
It is no news that most literary organizations clamor for unpublished entries when they call for submissions. Most people wonder why this is now a governing principle in the literary world.

Read also: How To Win A Literary Competition

Why Do Literary Organisations Call For Unpublished Entries

Imagine a situation where your aunt promised to get you a pair of shoes. I’m sure you will be excited. Now, imagine her giving you the same shoe your cousin wears or the exact shoe you got two months ago. That will definitely be way lower than what you expected. Just like you, organizations need spanking new, unconventional, exclusive, and original entries.

An unpublished entry is a test of creativity. Literary organizations believe that you as a creative should be able to prove and defend your creativity at any given time.

The need to stay away from copyright infringement is one major reason why any literary organization will insist on having a piece that has never been published.

Nobody goes after what he already has, we only go after things that aren’t within our reach. A reader who has read your already published entry will not be enthusiastic about seeing the same thing on another space. Literary organizations believes readers are hungry men and they want to feed their hunger with something unusual every time readers turn to them for milk.

Thanks for reading through!


Poet Laureate Interviews: Meet Temitope Komolafe

I am Temitope Komolafe, a student of Medicine and Surgery in University of Ibadan. I am a very spiritual person and I believe God is and should be the integral factor in life. I write and specialize in screenwriting. I love reading and am very open to learning from everything because I have come to discover that the more we know, the more we discover how much we don’t know


Poet Laureate Interviews 2020: Meet Salim Yunusa

Tell us more about you?

Salim Yunusa is a content creator, a bilingual writer and translator. He’s the founder of the literary organization, Poetic Wednesdays Initiative and a Co-Founder of a national NGO, Project Grassroots Nigeria (PGN). He graduated from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria with a Bachelor’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning. He’s pursuing his MSc in Disaster Risk Management Studies from the same institution.

Several of his creative pieces have been published by Daily Trust, ASIRI magazine, The Art-Muse Fair, PIN, NorthernLife, Tribesmen Review, Writers Space, DesignWorld Magazine, The Campus Watch, and several anthologies.

He was a finalist for Michael Afenfia and TVO Tribe competitions. He is also longlisted for the 2020 Aminiya Trust Hausa Short Story Competition.

Salim is currently working on his debut poetry collection, From The Potter’s Kiln.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing for nearly all my life. When other boys picked balls and girls picked skipping ropes, I picked up pens and papers. Though, I only became serious with writing around 2016.

What was the first thing you thought of when you saw the ad for the contest?

I was like, this is cool. It’s something I may enter. I didn’t enter though, until the last day.

What does Sankofa mean to you?

Sankofa represents yearnings of every black man, woman and child in knowing their roots and filling in the gaps, gaps caused by colonialism and slavery. It is of paramount importance that we all know where we are coming from. Knowing our roots; knowing how deep and wide those roots seeped in this vast stretch of space called earth would give everyone a sense of pride and belonging.

Tell us about your entry.

Musings of Mama Africa is a poem that started as a feeling, not a thought. It was something that I have always felt but lacked the words to perfectly describe.

In the poem, Africa is a woman who yearns for all her children; the ones stolen and dragged across the Atlantic and the ones pillaged right here. Being the Mother of Civilization, she has seen all and known all. Despite the carnage done to her, she still is very proud of her children and hopes that one day, they will return home to a grand homecoming.

Did you have any challenges in writing your piece?

I don’t really remember because I wrote the piece back in 2017. So, I actually dusted it off and made few corrections.

What is the future of literature in Africa?

The future of literature in Africa is now. We’re seeing how powerful and important the voices of people – young people – are in shaping our continent today. With a lot of young people embracing the arts and Literature as a means of expression, the future is vast and endless.

What does being a tribesman mean to you, and how do you think being part of a community will influence African literature?

Being a tribesman is nice; it means I’m not alone and I’m part of something bigger than myself; which is all we all ultimately hope for. Being part of any literary community gives one a sense of belonging and responsibility, just like one would in any family. It is our job to spread the gospel and make that change right from the grassroots

Sound bite, anyone?

Read Salim’s entry here!

See how to vote here!


Poet Laureate Interviews 2020: Meet Uche Balogun

Tell us more about you?

I’m currently a student of the Nigerian Law School; I’m a book reviewer and a creative writer. I am also a volunteer.

Not so fun fact: I’m shortsighted and can be very cynical.

How long have you been writing for?

I’ve been writing since primary school. I found some things I wrote many years ago and I was horrified.

What was the first thing you thought of when you saw the ad for the contest?

I thought that I’d better send in my submission fast because I discovered the contest on the day of the deadline.

What does Sankofa mean to you?

To me, Sankofa means we cannot know who we are without knowing where we come from.

Tell us about your entry.

My entry is a science fiction short story, set sometime in the future, in Nigeria. It came to me in a dream.

Did you have any challenges in writing your piece?

Since the idea came to me in a dream, the only difficulty was getting myself to put pen to paper (metaphorically, because I actually typed it on my phone, and edited it on my laptop).

What is the future of literature in Africa?

I don’t know but I hope the future of literature in Africa is diversity, inclusivity and cultural pride.

What does being a tribesman mean to you, and how do you think being part of a community will influence African literature?

The thing about being part of a community is that I have a responsibility not to take my writing for granted and to do better. I think this is how it influences African literature, by making us aware of our responsibility.

Sound bite, anyone?

Read Uche’s entry here

See how to vote here!