Akata Witch

The very first thing that pulled me to this book is it’s fierce title. I know the word ‘Akata’ is used in reference to people of African American descent but also literally translates as a wild cat (or that’s what the Nigerians said). Well, flipping the first few pages of this book, I realize there is more to the meaning of the word ‘Akata’;  the protagonist is an American of Nigerian descent who is also coincidentally albino. She finds out later that she possesses magical powers and that her suspicions of not being as normal as every other kid her age is right. She seamlessly finds herself in the company of two friends who also possess magical powers and her quest of self discovery begins.

Though beautifully written, and with a title that draws one in with an urgency to satisfy some curiosity, I found it quite hard completing this book, (and maybe I should have) but it felt like a Nigerian version of Harry Potter. Three friends, Orlu, Sunny and a third same as Harry, Ron and Hermoine, the whole magical powers aspect and the fact that there exists a human world which is different from the world of the paranormal beings though they all exist simultaneously and the paranormals look normal to humans. All these elements killed the interest and urgency to complete the book because I felt like it was something I had seen before. I liked the frequent references to Nigerian and American elements though, like kids wearing converse all star shoes and all but then I also struggled to keep a keen interest in the events that unfolded in the story. Maybe I’ll come back to this novel in future with a different pair of eyes. Or maybe someone would challenge me and actually help me see what I did not see earlier…

I’d be glad to hear from other readers who have different perspectives about this book!

Published by Efua R. Armstrong

Efua is from Ghana and is interested in society and culture as well as conversations on gender and sexuality. While sitting through a speech by a professor at Kenyon College, I agreed with the idea that the limitations of the human mind aren't necessarily burdens but gifts! I couldn't agree more! I am curious and love to process and reexamine information. I also have absolutely no restraints in admitting that I don't have all the answers or that I am still thinking about something! Go ahead and leave me a message!

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