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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Okeke the Magician

Ogali Ogali

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To purchase Okeke the Magician

Title: Okeke the Magician
Author: Ogali A. Ogali
Genre: Novel
Written: 1958
Length: 39 pages
Availability: in: Veronica My Daughter
in: Veronica My Daughter - UK
  • Okeke the Magician is included in the collection Veronica My Daughter and Other Onitsha Plays and Stories (see our review)

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Our Assessment:

B- : simple, odd story

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       In his introduction, Ogali describes Okeke the Magician as "an imaginary story of a young man who made up his mind to study magic and occultism and finally qualified as an adept".
       Okeke isn't the most talented of youths: he fails to pass his "Cambridge Examination", and then fails at a number of trades, finally winding up as a temporary clerk.
       Okeke's life is changed when he sees the "Greatest Magician Professor Gundu". He resolves to become a magician too. First he goes to Lagos, then he manages to stow away on a ship to America. All the while he is studying spiritualism and magic. He gets his first degree -- "M.A. (California)" with "First Class Honours in Spiritualism". He gets a good job ("Director of the City Branch of Spiritual Laboratory") and publishes "his famous book on Oriental science".
       Okeke goes to London (collecting another degree -- "with First Class Honours in Herbalism"). He is successful here, and then in India (where he gets another degree), Egypt (collecting a "Doctor of African Science"), and completes his grand tour in Abyssinia, returning triumphant to Lagos.
       The list of honours and degrees and appointments is a long and impressive one, and Okeke clearly has become an adept by the end. Okeke doles out his magic quite liberally too, including providing a Board of Thieves with an "Open Sesame Charm" which lands him in a bit of trouble. But a few incantations and the magistrate is more than willing to drop all charges against him .....
       Because of this bad experience Okeke leaves Nigeria for America again: his home country being unable to "welcome him whole-heartedly".
       Okeke's success story is quite an odd one. Even in the world of magic degrees and official stamps of approval are apparently necessary -- mere magic acts aren't proof enough. There is a bit too much academic success and too little abracadabra (or rather: "Abakabara") in Ogali's tale. Still, the story of Okeke the Magician is bizarrely entertaining.

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Onitsha market literature: Other books by Ogali A. Ogali under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Nigerian author Ogali A. Ogali was born in 1935 and was a leading author of the pamphlet literature sold at Onitsha market.

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