The Second Republic
The narrative thread of The Second Republic seems obvious enough— forced departure from Uganda during the regime of Idi Amin and then exile in the United Kingdom. Nick Makoha, however, does not leave this broad narrative alone, but troubles the meaning of exile and finds opportunities for poetic sublimation in the often unreliable business of remembering. Makoha tells a powerful story, rich with detail and emotion, but what stands out in these poems is his fascination with the way the poet must contend with conflicted memory. What does it mean, he asks at the end of the collection, when a mother tells her son that his father reminds her of Idi Amin?