The tyrant’s sickest triumph is to make his subjects watchful. The landscape of Nick Makoha’s first collection – an abstracted, mythologised yet sometimes bitingly concrete version of Amin’s Uganda – has been scarred by tyranny, to the extent that it adopts the vigilant gaze of its population. ‘The stones on the riverbank have seen you’, announces the first line of ‘A Crocodile Eats the Sun’: ‘A praying mantis skating along blue mud / knows your secret.’ These might be ironically deflected internalisations, but the point is serious: if you can get rivers and insect life to do your surveillance then martial law becomes superfluous, almost, and self-sustaining.

Dai George
The White Review