Title: Blood on the Dancefloor
Author: John Akerele
Publisher: Greenlife Publishers UK
Reviewer: Jimi David
Rape is one of the most heinous crimes in the world. And women are the worst victims of rape. South Africa has the highest rate of rape in the world with 132.4 incidents per 100,000 people. Aside beating and battering, rape is perhaps the commonest crime or abuse ever inflicted on women or the girl child. And in most cases, victims are abused by their spouses, relations or friends. In the United States of America, report shows that 70% of rape is committed by someone the victim knows intimately.
Coming down home to Nigeria, wife battering, girl child molestation, modern day slavery and human trafficking in the form of prostitution have become daily occurrences. Abuse of the girl child or female often leaves the victim physically, emotionally and psychologically drained. Nollywood actress turned-evangelist, Eucharia Anunobi, who recently bagged a doctorate degree, lamented how her rich father psychologically abused her having refused to train her after secondary school, on the pretext that he had no need for a ‘useless’ girl child who can’t carry his name anywhere. Also, comedienne cum actress, Helen Paul, recently shared her childhood experience, saying she was traumatized as a child because her mother gave birth to her out of rape. What else can be traumatic!
Blood on the Dancefloor, the debut effort of Ireland-based Nigerian poet, John Akerele, is a chronicle and admonition on abuse of the girl child and women in general. In the 77-page book of 40 poems, Akerele narrates in touching and emotion-laden voice various forms of abuses against women and the girl child. He highlights the abuses in different manners, stages and scenarios. Rendered in free flowing verses, the poet touches on female child abuse, rape, spousal abuse, wife battering, discrimination against women in politics and corporate world.
In the poem, Not Good Enough, Akerele laments the travails of women in the corporate world while in the poem, Big, Bold and Beautiful, he celebrates the plus size women. In the Matter with Martha, the poet tells the heart-rending story of a woman, who was horribly murdered by her husband – another victim of an abusive marriage. In Pee-dough, Akerele raises the alarm on pedophiles that are currently on rampage. But beyond criticisms and negativities against women, in two of the best poems in the collection, My Woman and Ode to Mother’s Knees, Akerele waxes rhapsodic in honour of womanhood and motherhood.
Blood on the Dance Floor is unarguably a product of Akerele’s childhood experiences in Kaduna where he was born, and where the girl child is not accorded the same opportunity as the male child. A trained surveyor and construction management expert, Akerele who currently lives in Republic of Ireland, is a member of the Irish Literary Society. Aside his professional calling as a surveyor, Akerele is an activist and avowed advocate on the girl-child related issues. Blood on the Dancefloor, his debut poetry collection, has confirmed him as a poet of great promise and potential. It is a must read for all women especially the girl child.