By John Chukwuma

As a crusader of healthy relationships and counselor in marriage and entrepreneurship, Fateemah Mobolaji Suara justifies her belief that love is a good thing in this fascinating novel, Welcome to Rwanda.

The 49-page novel of seven chapters is set in the capital cities of two African countries, Nigeria and Rwanda whose socio-cultural potentials portray the beauty of Africa. 

The plot of the novel revolves around the protagonist, who narrates a love tale anchored on a storyline that intricately evolves to reflect life in a typical African setting.    

From the opening paragraph, the author masterfully depicts a microcosm of Nigeria that resonates with anyone that knows Lagos: “It was an incredibly sunny afternoon. I was trying hard to sleep after a long, busy morning doing chores… Eko Electricity Distribution Company was at it again. I don’t know which is more unbearable between EKEDC and Lagos traffic. The weather had been harsh and an epileptic electricity supply was just totally unfair.”

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The central theme of love and marriage is realized through the protagonists whose experiences are presented via the infusion of diverse narrative techniques – flashbacks, first and third persons. While emphasizing the beauty of genuine love, the narrator comments on the skeptical attitude of the younger generation: “I deduced that love is a conscious feeling and two parties involved must put in the work. I now understood why most Gen Zs do not want to venture into it. Our present generation does not want to show love or be committed. Love is a beautiful thing and I believe there are still good men out there.” 

Delving into the subject of political corruption, the author decries the role of the citizenry in perpetuating condemnable political cultures, wondering why the people hypocritically expect unscrupulous politicians to provide them dividends of democracy: “When the politicians came with kegs of groundnut oil and empty bags of promises, we received them with open arms, knowing that they had no intention of fulfilling their promises…” 

The narrator compares both countries as she tours Rwanda and reasons that Rwanda has fared better in developmental strides. She writes, “I learned that there were speed cameras on the road that allows detailed video and images of drivers to be recorded up to one kilometer away. The smooth ride afforded us the opportunity to appreciate the irrigation system and beautiful vegetation of the country. Angeloti boasted a bit about Rwanda. Who wouldn’t be proud of a working system?”

Depicting Africa as an under-explored tourism site with abundant natural resources, as exemplified in lakes and parks in Rwanda and Nigeria, the author points out thus: “A lot of people hardly think of Africa when planning… vacations. There are some really interesting… natural reserves that abound in the continent… Nigeria too is richly blessed with an abundance of sights and sounds to make your vacation truly an experience worth repeating.”

Welcome to Rwanda is recommended to adult readers who will find it a welcome companion for leisure, healthy living and relationships.