Page 1

Anne Hess Thaysen og Lise Debel Christensen

AFRICA

UNFOLD NIGERIA AND GHANA INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

Lindhardt og Ringhof


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Douala Department of Field Support Cartographic Section


Anne Hess Thaysen og Lise Debel Christensen

AFRICA UNFOLD NIGERIA AND GHANA INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

Lindhardt og Ringhof


AFRICA

UNFOLD

NIGERIA AND GHANA INTO THE 21ST CENTURY Af Anne Hess Thaysen og Lise Debel Christensen © 2015 Lindhardt og Ringhof Uddannelse, København – et forlag under Lindhardt og Ringhof Forlag A/S, et selskab i Egmont. Forlagsredaktion: Ulla Benzon Malmmose Grafisk tilrettelægning og omslag: Ulla Korgaard, Designeriet Billedredaktion: Ulla Barfod Mekanisk, fotografisk, elektronisk eller anden gengivelse af denne bog eller dele heraf er kun tilladt efter Copydans regler. Forlaget har forsøgt at finde og kontakte alle rettighedshavere. Tryk: Livonia Print 1. udgave 1. oplag 2015 ISBN 9788770665599


CONTENTS Forord

Page 5

CHAPTER 1: SETTING THE SCENE

PAGE 7 8

The historical context

12

Modern West African literature CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

The danger of a single story, 2009

15

(talk / 10,0 ns)

CHAPTER 2: CULTURE – NEW DEPARTURES

PAGE 21

Introduction

22

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

Tomorrow Is Too Far, 2009

24

THIS IS AFRICA

Nollywood industry creating negative image of Africa?

(short story / 11,3 ns)

32

(article / 4,5 ns)

MONICA MARK

Shuga: the soap opera helping Africa confront HIV, 2013 37

(article / 3,8 ns)

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

CHRIS ABANI

World Cup 2010: Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and South Africa – my boys, 2010 (article / 2,4 ns)

42

Rasa, 2000 (poem / 0,4 ns)

45

CHAPTER 3: SOCIAL CHANGES – CHANGING IDENTITIES

PAGE 47

Introduction

48

CHRIS ABANI

GraceLand, 2004 (novel / 17,6 ns)

50

SEFI ATTA

Spoils, 2010 (short story / 12,4 ns)

62

'KEGO ONYIDO

Stolen Home, 2010 (poem / 2,8 ns)

72

HAMADOUN TOURÉ

How mobile broadband can transform Africa, 2012 (article / 3,9 ns)

76

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

A Private Experience, 2009 (short story / 14,3 ns)

80

KATHRINE MARSHALL

A discussion with Pastor James Wuye and 89

Imam Muhammad Ashafa, 2011 (article / 9,3 ns)

CHAPTER 4: POWER AND MONEY

PAGE 97

Introduction

98

CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

Half of a Yellow Sun, 2006 (novel / 8,0 ns)

100

FAROUK CHOTHIA

Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists?, 2014 (article / 3,7 ns)

107

KARIN BRULLIARD

For many, Nigeria’s moderate form of Sharia fails to deliver on promises, 2009 (article / 5,1 ns)

111

HELON HABILA

Oil on Water, 2010 (novel / 8,8 ns)

116

OLUFUNMILOLA ADENIRAN

The Beggar, 2012 (poem / 1,2 ns)

123 AFRICA UNFOLD 3


ODIMEGWU ONWUMERE

Poverty, 2010 (poem / 1,1 ns)

124

TONY MARINHO

The New African Talking Drum, 2010 (poem / 0,7 ns)

126

SEUN KUTI

Rise, 2011 (poem / 1,9 ns)

128

REMI ADEKOYA

Fela Kuti fearlessly proved the human spirit is stronger

GOODLUCK JONATHAN

than any government, 2012 (article / 3,1 ns)

131

Independence Day speech, 2012 (speech / 7,1 ns)

135

CHAPTER 5: MIGRATION

PAGE 143 Introduction

144

SEFI ATTA

Twilight Trek, 2010 (short story / 16,4 ns)

146

'KEGO ONYIDO

An Immigrant’s Prayer, 2013 (poem / 1,1 ns)

158

DIANA ADESOLA MAFE

Knowing your place, 2010 (essay / 5,6 ns)

160

AISSATA HAIDARA

No place like home, 2013 (article / 4,8 ns)

164

CHAPTER 6: POSTCOLONIAL PERSPECTIVES

PAGE 169

Introduction

170

BINYAVANGA WAINAINA

How to write about Africa, 2005 (essay / 5,3 ns)

172

CHINUA ACHEBE

The role of the writer in Africa, 2012 (memoirs / 4,4 ns)

176

CHINUA ACHEBE

Things Fall Apart, 1958 (novel / 5,5 ns)

180

FELA KUTI

Colonial Mentality, 1977 (lyrics / 1,7 ns)

185

BEN OKRI

The Mysterious Anxiety of Them and Us, 2009 (stoku / 1,7 ns)

188

CHAPTER 7: GHANA ON THE MOVE

PAGE 191

Introduction

192

NII AYIKWEI PARKES

Socks Ball, 2009 (short story / 12,7 ns)

195

TAIYE SELASI

Ghana Must Go, 2013 (novel / 8,4 ns)

203

PRINCE KWASI MENSAH

Accra, 2009 (poem / 2,0 ns)

210

WANLOV THE KUBOLOR

Green Card, 2007 (lyrics / 3,1 ns)

213

SANGU JULIUS DELLE, NANA KWASI SINTIM-MISA, SAMUEL AMEBLEY YAYRA

Rude Awakening, 2012

ABENA BUSIA

Liberation, 2010 (poem / 1,3 ns)

219

Witch camps

222

VOICES OF AFRICA

(poem / 1,0 ns)

Ghana’s poor eke out a living from toxic e-waste, 2013 (article / 2,4 ns)

CREDITS

ns

Tilknyttet film, musikvideo, TV program, oplæsning el.lign. Tekstens sværhedsgrad: er lettest, er sværest. Normalside á 1300 anslag eller 30 linjer lyrik

4 AFRICA UNFOLD

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PAGE 227


FORORD Africa Unfold er en undervisningsantologi om et spændende og ret overset emne, nemlig Afrika i det 21. århundrede. Antologien er tænkt som en døråbner til Afrika, særligt Vestafrika. Afrika af i dag er et kontrastfyldt kontinent, som er inde i en rivende udvikling. Mon ikke det er kommet som en overraskelse for mange i vores del af verden, at 1/3 af Afrikas befolkning i dag tilhører middelklassen? Det er måske én af årsagerne til, at Afrika siden årtusindeskiftet er blevet langt tydeligere på den globale scene. Tiden må være inde til at få udvidet horisonten og blive klogere på den omfattende udvikling, der sker i Afrika i disse år, og også til at gøre op med vores tilbøjelighed til at betragte Afrika som et land og ikke et kontinent. Afrika er det næststørste kontinent i verden bestående af 54 selvstændige nationalstater med hver deres befolkning, kultur, historie og udvikling. I et område som Vestafrika er landene beslægtet i en grad, som muliggør interessante udblik og sammenligninger. De vestafrikanske lande Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia og Sierra Leone er alle tidligere britiske kolonier og stærkt prægede heraf, hvilket bl.a. kommer til udtryk i, at engelsk er det officielle sprog i disse lande. Vi har valgt Nigeria og Ghana som udgangspunkt for antologiens præsentation af Britisk Vestafrika. Nigeria, fordi det er Afrikas folkerigeste land med knap 180 millioner indbyggere (1/6 af alle afrikanere), og fordi det – sammen med Sydafrika – regnes for den mest indflydelsesrige nation i den Afrikanske Union. På det kulturelle område sker der rigtig meget i disse år, og påvirkningen fra nigeriansk litteratur, film og musik rækker langt ud over landets egne grænser. Det er derfor naturligt, at hovedvægten i antologien ligger på Nigeria, hvilket samtidig har den fordel, at eleverne har mulighed for at arbejde i dybden med forholdene i et enkelt land. Ghana er til gengæld det afrikanske land, der har den tætteste historiske tilknytning til Danmark, eftersom dele af Guldkysten i det nuværende Ghana var koloniseret af Danmark fra 1658-1850. Desuden er forholdene i landet så stabile, at det er et muligt studierejsemål. Det er vores erfaring, at emnet og litteraturen appellerer til gymnasieelever, både i det umiddelbart genkendelige og i det nye og fremmedartede. Ud over at byde på meget undervisningsegnet stof, opfylder dette emne mange af de faglige mål i engelsk, ikke mindst engelsk som verdenssprog, historiske og aktuelle forhold i to tidligere britiske kolonier, samt litteraturhistoriske aspekter, herunder postkolonial litteraturteori. Aktualitet, autenticitet og indholdsmæssig bredde har været de overordnede mål for os i valget af materiale til antologien. Derfor er så godt som alle tekster i Africa Unfold skrevet efter år 2000 og af nigerianske og ghanesiske forfattere. Skrivelysten er stor i disse år med masser af nyudgivelser til følge, så udvælgelsesprocessen har været svær. Ud over de førnævnte mål har de vigtigste kriterier været teksternes litterære kvaliteter, en genremæssig bredde samt teksternes undervisningsegnethed. AFRICA UNFOLD 5


Africa Unfold indledes med et baggrundskapitel, hvor scenen sættes med henblik på at skabe en forståelsesramme og en overordnet sammenhæng, historisk såvel som litterært. Som udgangspunkt for arbejdet med antologien foreslår vi dernæst The Danger of a Single Story af den unge kvindelige forfatter Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, som med eksempler fra sit eget liv peger på en væsentlig problemstilling, der kan ses som en nøgle til læsningen af nutidig afrikansk litteratur. Herefter følger de enkelte kapitler, tematiseret, så de kan læses i vilkårlig rækkefølge. Man kan lægge hovedvægten på et enkelt kapitel eller to, eller sammensætte et forløb med tekster fra alle kapitler, alternativt fokusere på en enkelt forfatter eller genre. Et enkelt kapitel om postkolonial litteratur og litteraturteori skiller sig lidt ud fra resten, idet det lægger op til en skarpere, mere litteraturteoretisk læsning med henblik på Engelsk A og SRP. Africa Unfold er rettet mod undervisningen på Engelsk A og B-niveau. Antologien kan bruges både enkeltfagligt og tværfagligt, idet den er tonet mod en studieretning med Samfundsfag A, hvilket kapiteloverskrifterne afspejler. Desuden peger vi på samarbejdsmuligheder med andre fag, f.eks. historie, musik, religion, sprog og mediefag, evt. i forbindelse med SRP, AT og SSO, eller i forbindelse med områdestudier i KS på HF og DIO på HHX. Fokuseret læsning er vigtigt for tilegnelsen af nyt stof. Derfor har vi før hver tekst indsat et ikon, hvor der er anført en enkelt ting, som eleven skal lægge mærke til ved læsning af teksten, og som kan bruges i tekstanalysen. Desuden er der konsekvent opgaver til Før- Under- og Efterlæsning. Websitet til Africa Unfold (lru.dk/africaunfold) rummer bl.a. ToolBoxes, uddybende materiale, relevante links, oplæg til tværfagligt arbejde med forslag til konkrete emner, samt forslag til videre læsning. Dette ikon ved en tekst i Contents indikerer, at der på websitet ligger henvisninger til f.eks. dokumentarfilm, musikvideoer, TV programmer eller digtoplæsninger. Vores håb er, at Africa Unfold kan bidrage til – med læreplanens ord – "at eleverne opnår viden om … andre engelsksprogede landes samfundsforhold og kulturer, og at deres forståelse af egen kulturbaggrund dermed udvikles… [samt] at eleverne kan kommunikere på tværs af kulturelle grænser." (Læreplanen for Engelsk A – stx, juni 2013). Til sidst vil vi rette en stor tak til vores familier for inspiration, tålmodighed og støtte, til vores elever, kolleger og skolens ledelse for interesse, input og gode rammer, samt – last but not least – til vore forlæggere for at tro på ideen! ANNE HESS THAYSEN OG LISE DEBEL CHRISTENSEN Holstebro Gymnasium og HF, foråret 2015 6 AFRICA UNFOLD


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

I

SETTING THE SCENE "I did not know that people like me could exist in literature" ADICHIE

AFRICA UNFOLD 7


CHAPTER 1 – SETTING THE SCENE

SETTING THE SCENE

The historical context a'ccount (sb) beretning angle (sb) synsvinkel

M

ost historical accounts you will find of Nigeria will have a strong focus on European influences, especially colonialism. True, the nation of

formative (adj) som præger

Nigeria is to a large extent a colonial creation, but a limited, European angle on West African history will provide little understanding of Nigeria today. While

di'versity (sb) mangfoldighed

colonialism was a formative period for the Nigerian nation state, the colonial

mi'gration (sb) folkevandring en'semble (sb) samling pre'dominantly (adv) overvejende caliphate (sb) kalifat, islamisk statsform multiple (adj) mangfoldig e'pitomize (vb) sammenfatte lin'guistic (adj) sproglige ad'vantage (sb) fordel generate (vb) skabe feudal (adj) feudal, lense'mir (sb) emir, islamisk leder af muslimsk område

period proper only lasted about 60 years out of thousands of years of human population in the region. Much of Nigeria’s current diversity is a result of migration of people from across West and Central Africa. The largest ethnic groups today are the Yoruba in the Southwest, the Igbo in the Southeast, and the Hausa and the Fulani in the North. But the region has been and is still the stage for an ever-changing ensemble of ethnicities and religions. Whereas the South has been predominantly Christian since the advance of European colonialists, the North of Nigeria is mostly Muslim. Islam spread along the rich cross-Saharan trade routes and reached Nigeria in the 11th

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century. In the early 1800s the Islamic Sokoto Caliphate arose from multiple independent Hausa kingdoms and became the most powerful empire in West Africa in the 19th century.

SLAVE TRADE AND COLONIALISM The slave trade in West Africa started long before the arrival of Europeans, but the trans-Atlantic slave trade from the 16th through to the 19th centuries radically changed the social and economic landscape of West Africa, as millions of people were killed or transported into slavery in the so-called New World. By the end of the slave trade, Britain, along with other colonial powers, had already started colonizing land in West Africa, leading to the "Scramble for Africa", epitomized in the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885. The European powers divided the continent among them, ignoring religious, linguistic, and ethnic differences. Their common interests were reflected very accurately as ‘Commerce, Christianity and Civilization’ in the motto of the British explorer David Livingstone. Despite the claims of the colonizers to "civilize" the dark continent of Africa, the colonies were designed to take advantage of the natural resources of the territories and to generate profits for the colonial powers, for instance through military campaigns, the imposition of new rulers, taxes and forced labour. Nigeria became a British colony in 1900, thereby becoming part of the vast British Empire. In the feudal North, the British ruled indirectly through the local, powerful Hausa and Fulani emirs, who had the confidence of the people. The British influence was much more direct in the South among the Yoruba and Igbo people, who in return tended to adopt western educational

8 AFRICA UNFOLD

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CHAPTER 1 – SETTING THE SCENE

"The Scramble for Africa" at the Berlin Conference 1884-1885

systems, political structures, and Christianity. Hereby the traditional differences between Northern and Southern Nigeria were even enhanced.

INDEPENDENCE AND CIVIL WAR 5

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After World War II, an anti-colonial movement swept across the European colonies from South East Asia to Africa, and by the early 1960s almost all colonies had gained independence. Nigeria became independent from Great Britain in 1960, but did so with persistent divides between the North and the South of the country, between the major ethnic groups, and between a small, wealthy elite and the poor majority. Just seven years after independence, Nigeria had already experienced a series of military coups and had launched into a bloody civil war (1967-1970), when the relatively prosperous Igbo-dominated Southeast Nigeria declared independence under the name of Biafra. However, with their usual flair for simplifications western broadcast media turned the story of Biafra into a symbol of "starving Africans", showing little interest in the complex struggles about political influence and control of resources.

en'hance (vb) forøge per'sistent (adj) vedvarende di'vide (sb) skel launch into (vb) kaste sig ud i prosperous (adj) velhavende flair (sb) fornemmelse alternate (vb) veksle e'merge (vb) bryde frem inter'ference (sb) indblanding measure (sb) foranstaltning

ALTERNATING REGIMES

20

After the fall of the Biafran republic, Nigeria continued its rapid change of regimes, some by democratic elections, but many by military force. In the 1970s, Nigeria emerged as an important oil producer, but because of a mix of corrupt politicians and international interference, the Nigerian population in general did not benefit much from the upswing. In return for World Bank loans, the Nigerian leaders had to agree to economic measures that not only ruined the economy, but also destroyed Nigeria’s public services such as healthcare and education, and sent millions into poverty. AFRICA UNFOLD 9


CHAPTER 1 – SETTING THE SCENE

re'sistance (sb) modstand MEND: Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta exploi'tation (sb) udnyttelse a'genda (sb) dagsorden NGO (sb) ikkestatslig interesseorganisation consulate general (sb) generalkonsulat

Under the brutal military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha from 1993 to 1998, resistance against the government’s economic policy rose to new levels, especially marked by big student protests at university campuses. In the oil producing Niger Delta, people rose up against the oppression by the regime and the environmental destruction by multinational oil companies. Especially the

5

non-violent struggle by the Ogoni people caught the attention of international mass media, and it caused a global outcry when the military regime executed the writer and television producer Ken Saro Wiwa along with eight other Ogoni leaders in 1995.

INTO THE NEW MILLENNIUM In 1999 Nigeria returned to a democratic system. However, that did not mean the end of economic, political or social inequality – or of resistance to the central government. Most notably the islamist terrorist group Boko Haram has grabbed world attention in their extremely violent struggle to recreate the caliphate in the northern states. In the Niger Delta the oil-related conflicts continue, perhaps with some glimpses of hope. Post-millennium Nigeria is also a picture of progress. The country recently became the biggest economy of Africa and is emerging as a regional and even global economic powerhouse. Nigeria's rich and influential cultural production in the form of especially film, music and literature is gaining global momentum. Thus the most populous country in Africa increasingly hits the headlines in the international media and can give us an impression of the agenda in a modern African nation.

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RELATIONS BETWEEN NIGERIA AND DENMARK Denmark has not been a colonial power in Nigeria. Nevertheless, since the early 20th century ties have been established with Denmark through various NGO development projects, some supported economically by the Danish state, some private. The activities of Mission Afrika, for instance, have led to close ties primarily in the northeastern state Adamawa, due to long-term commitments to programmes focusing on health care, education and agriculture as well as Christian mission. Today an increasing number of Danish companies are active in Nigeria. In 2014 Denmark has opened an embassy in Abuja as well as a consulate general in Lagos to promote commerce, businesses and other activities in Nigeria's rising economy. Worth noticing is also a quite different type of business relation: professional Danish football clubs establishing their own football academies in Nigeria or making arrangements with a Nigerian club to spot promising young talents for the Danish clubs. However, this has proven more complicated and ethically questionable than first imagined. You can get more information about the history of Nigeria from the multiple choice quiz.

10 AFRICA UNFOLD

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MULTIPLE CHOICE 1. Settlements in Nigeria can be traced back to a. 11,000 BC

8. "The dimensions of ‘the true interests of the natives at heart’ are algebraically equal to the length, breadth and depth of the whiteman’s

b. 8,000 BC c. 5,000 BC

pocket" was said by a. Herbert Macauley (1864-1946), Nigerian

2. By trade volume, the largest exporter of

engineer, journalist and nationalist

slaves from Africa to North and South America was

b. Kofi Annan (1938-), Ghanaian Secretary-

a. the British

c. Muhammadu Buhari (1942-), Nigerias's president 2015 -

b. the Spanish

General of the UN 1997-2006

c. the Portuguese 3. The 19th century Islamic Sokoto Caliphate comprised about a. 800,000 people b. 4 million people c. 10 million people 4. Which of the following countries did not participate in the Berlin Conference 1884-1885: a. Denmark b. Switzerland c. Austria-Hungary 5. Nigeria’s name originates from a. a Yoruba place name dating back to ancient times b. the Scottish explorer David Livingstone c. the British journalist Flora Shaw 6. At the 1914 amalgamation, the protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria were joined to form the single colony of Nigeria. This was done mainly for a. logistic reasons b. economic reasons c. political reasons 7. The capital of Nigeria is a. Lagos b. Port Hartcourt c. Abuja o'riginate from (vb) stamme fra amalga'mation (sb) sammenlægning

9. The dictator General Abacha died suddenly in 1998. The official cause of death was a. a heart attack b. poison, administered by political rivals through prostitutes c. unknown 10. The Commonwealth of Nations is an intergovernmental organization of 53 member states, mostly territories of the former British Empire. Which is true? a. Nigeria is a member, but was suspended 1995-1999. b. Nigeria withdrew from the Commonwealth in 1970, after the civil war. c. Nigeria has always been a full member of the organization. 11. Today Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic consisting of a. 8 states b. 24 states c. 36 states 12. Nigeria is often referred to as the "Giant of Africa" due to a. the size of country b. its large population and economy c. the success of its national football team See answers on lru.dk/africaunfold.

pro'tectorate (sb) protektorat; en formelt set selvstændig stat, som står under en anden stats beskyttelse og kontrol.

AFRICA UNFOLD 11

ASSIGNMENTS

CHAPTER 1 – SETTING THE SCENE


CHAPTER 1 – SETTING THE SCENE

Modern West African literature

The internet is a tremendous platform for launching new literature and reaching new audiences

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND scholar (sb) forsker literacy (sb) det at skrive og læse spur (vb) sætte i gang prior (adj) før in'digenous (adj) oprindelig oral (adj) mundtlig dirge (sb) klagesang proverb (sb) ordsprog

12 AFRICA UNFOLD

T

he interest of this presentation is on modern West African literature in English. Even so, it is important to bear in mind that written literature is not just a modern phenomenon. Actually, scholars have identified three waves of literacy in Africa, the first based on written works from Ethiopia older than the earliest literatures in the Celtic and Germanic languages in Europe. The second wave of literacy was caused by the spread of Islam since the seventh century. To this wave belong West African manuscripts in Arabic verse from the fourteenth century and texts in Fulani and Hausa dated to the eighteenth century. The third wave of literacy in Africa was spurred by contact with Europeans in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Bible and Christian hymns, for instance, were translated into Igbo and Yoruba. Prior to that, grammars and dictionaries of indigenous African languages had been produced; these were also useful to the recorders of oral literature and to writers of fiction in African languages. African peoples have developed a great variety of oral literary genres: for instance myths, legends, fables, epics, ritual songs, praise poems, funeral dirges and proverbs. Even though these oral traditions date back to ancient times, they are still a living part of contemporary Africa and featured on radio,

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CHAPTER 1 – SETTING THE SCENE

television and in films. Likewise, present-day authors incorporate forms, images and sayings from the oral traditions into their writings.

5

The European nations who divided the African territories among themselves in the late 19th century would impose their own languages, school systems and even curriculums on the colonized African peoples. In the course of time this resulted in the production of African written literatures in, for instance, Portuguese, French and English, as is the case in Nigeria. All along, written literatures in native languages have been produced throughout the continent. In post-millennium Africa this is even a growing trend because of

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the internet and the social media – but that is a different story.

in'corporate (vb) indføje im'pose (vb) påtvinge cu'rriculum (sb) pensum anglophone (adj) engelsksproget inter'sperse (vb) indflette di'versity (sb) forskellighed en'suing (adj) følgende decade (sb) årti

MODERN NIGERIAN LITERATURE WRITTEN IN ENGLISH

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For historical reasons, right from the beginning Southern Nigeria – and particularly Lagos – was the centre of anglophone Nigerian literature. One of the first Nigerians writing in English to receive international recognition was Chinua Achebe with the novel Things Fall Apart in 1958. Achebe describes how he deliberately chose to integrate traditional oral forms into an otherwise English form, not merely in order to be true to his own background, but also in an attempt to communicate an African experience to an English-speaking audience. Achebe also interspersed the English text with words and phrases from his native tongue, a feature used by many other African writers. Some of them include Pidgin English, too, as a means of expressing social, cultural and linguistic diversity. Chinua Achebe belongs to the first generation of post-independence Nigerian writers who entered the literary scene in the late 1950s and the 1960s. Another outstanding writer from this very creative period is Wole Soyinka, who later won the Nobel Literary Prize in 1986. These writers were preoccupied with political independence, national struggle and postcolonial issues. However, the Biafran War and the ensuing years of political unrest and military dictatorships limited artists’ possibilities of expressing themselves; some were even imprisoned or killed, or fled the country. In that sense, the last decades of the century could be called the dark years of modern Nigerian literature and culture, even though the oppression itself also provided creative

savvy (adj) smart Nollywood: nigeriansk filmindustri urban (adj) by-

inspiration. The second generation of modern Nigerian writers dealt with ideology, especially Marxism and Socialism. Gender issues and immigration were other themes, as in the novels from the 1970s by Buchi Emecheta. The third generation of anglophone Nigerian writers belong to the twentyfirst century, and countless writers of prose as well as poetry are making their debut on print or online. As for now, Chris Abani, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Sefi Atta and Helon Habila are some of the best-known authors of this generation. In Things Come Together – a Journey Through Literary Lagos (2007) Frank Bures gives a vivid description of post-millennium Nigerian writers, "And there is something else, something besides time, that separates this new generation from the old. They are young and savvy. They are AFRICA UNFOLD 13


CHAPTER 1 – SETTING THE SCENE

e'lusive (adj) flygtig di'aspora (sb) uden for Nigeria

globalized and digitized. They have one foot in Hollywood and another in Nollywood. (…) these new writers have new things to write about. They don’t care about political independence or national struggle as much as personal independence and individual struggle. They have a new world to put into words, a post ideological, post-terror, post-cyber world of urban struggle and shifting identity. Theirs is a world with an elusive sense of self out there, somewhere, just beyond their grasp."1 No wonder the interest in Nigerian writing in English is flourishing! Nigerian writers as well as writers from other African countries – whether living in Africa or in the diaspora – are successfully putting Africa back on the literary map of the world with lots of creative stories and new perspectives on life in a globalized world.

1 Frank Bures: Things Come Together – a Journey Through Literary Lagos (2007). See link on the website 14 AFRICA UNFOLD

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The danger of a single story BY CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE, 2009 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (1977 – ) was born in Enugu, eastern Nigeria in 1977. She grew up on a university campus, her father being a professor, her mother an administrator. She enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age. At the age of 19 she went to the USA to go to university. Today she lives in the USA, but returns to Nigeria every year to teach writing workshops. Adichie is an eloquent speaker and writer. Her best-known works are the three novels, Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006) and Americanah (2013), besides a collection of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck (2009). In her writings she often includes Igbo terms referring to her ethnic background. She also draws on her childhood experiences of the Biafran-Nigerian civil war 1967-1970. Adichie has received several literary prizes, e.g. the Orange Prize and the US National Book Critics Circle prize. In 2013 Half of a Yellow Sun was adapted for the screen.

PRE-READING 1. What do you think is meant by the expression "a single story"? 2. How can a single story be dangerous? Find out what Adichie means by "a single story" and write down at least three examples of "single stories" given by her.

THE DANGER OF A SINGLE STORY

I’m 5

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a storyteller. And I would like to tell you a few personal stories about what I like to call "the danger of the single story." I grew up on a university campus in eastern Nigeria. My mother says that I started reading at the age of two, although I think four is probably close to the truth. So I was an early reader, and what I read were British and American children’s books. I was also an early writer, and when I began to write, at about the age of seven, stories in pencil with crayon illustrations that my poor mother was obligated to read, I wrote exactly the kinds of stories I was reading: All my characters were white and blue-eyed, they played in the snow, they ate apples, and they talked a lot about the weather, how lovely it was that the sun had come out. Now, this despite the fact that I lived in Nigeria. I had never been outside Nigeria. We didn’t have snow, we ate mangoes, and we never talked about the weather, because there was no need to. My characters also drank a lot of ginger beer because the characters in the British books I read drank ginger beer. Never mind that I had no idea what ginger

crayon (sb) farvekridt obligate (vb) forpligte ginger (sb) ingefær

AFRICA UNFOLD 15


CHAPTER 1 – SETTING THE SCENE

im'pressionable (adj) påvirkelig vulnerable (adj) sårbar Chinua Achebe: nigeriansk forfatter, 1930-2013 Camara Laye: forfatter fra Guinea, 1928-1980 per'ception (sb) opfattelse kinky (adj) kruset do'mestic help (sb) hushjælp raffia (sb) bast startle (vb) forbløffe Mariah Carey: amerikansk sanger og skuespiller, f. 1970 default po'sition (sb) standardholdning patronizing (adj) formynderisk

beer was. And for many years afterwards, I would have a desperate desire to taste ginger beer. But that is another story. What this demonstrates, I think, is how impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story, particularly as children. Because all I had read were books in which characters were foreign, I had become convinced that books by which I could not personally identify. Things changed when I discovered African books. There weren’t many of them available, and they weren’t quite as easy to find as the foreign books. But because of writers like Chinua Achebe and Camara Laye I went through

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a mental shift in my perception of literature. I realized that people like me, girls with skin the color of chocolate, whose kinky hair could not form ponytails, could also exist in literature. I started to write about things I recognized. Now, I loved those American and British books I read. They stirred my imagination. They opened up new worlds for me. But the unintended consequence was that I did not know that people like me could exist in literature. So what the discovery of African writers did for me was this: It saved me from having a single story of what books are. I come from a conventional, middle-class Nigerian family. My father was a professor. My mother was an administrator. And so we had, as was the norm, live-in domestic help, who would often come from nearby rural villages. So the year I turned eight we got a new house boy. His name was Fide. The only thing my mother told us about him was that his family was very poor. My mother sent yams and rice, and our old clothes, to his family. And when I didn’t finish my dinner my mother would say, "Finish your food! Don’t you know? People like Fide’s family have nothing." So I felt enormous pity for Fide’s family. Then one Saturday we went to his village to visit, and his mother showed us a beautifully patterned basket made of dyed raffia that his brother had made. I was startled. It had not occurred to me that anybody in his family could actually make something. All I had heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them. Years later, I thought about this when I left Nigeria to go to university in the United States. I was 19. My American roommate was shocked by me. She asked where I had learned to speak English so well, and was confused when I said that Nigeria happened to have English as its official language. She asked if she could listen to what she called my "tribal music," and was consequently very disappointed when I produced my tape of Mariah Carey. She assumed that I did not know how to use a stove. What struck me was this: She had felt sorry for me even before she saw me. Her default position toward me, as an African, was a kind of patronizing, well-meaning pity. My roommate had a single story of Africa: a single story of catastrophe. In this single story there was no possibility of Africans being similar to her in any way, no possibility of feelings more complex than pity, no possibility of a connection as human equals.

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their very nature had to have foreigners in them and had to be about things with

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I must say that before I went to the U.S. I didn’t consciously identify as African. But in the U.S. whenever Africa came up people turned to me. Never mind that I knew nothing about places like Namibia. But I did come to embrace this new identity, and in many ways I think of myself now as African. Although 5

I still get quite irritable when Africa is referred to as a country, the most recent example being my otherwise wonderful flight from Lagos two days ago, in which there was an announcement on the Virgin flight about the charity work in "India, Africa and other countries." So after I had spent some years in the U.S. as an African, I began to

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understand my roommate’s response to me. If I had not grown up in Nigeria, and if all I knew about Africa were from popular images, I too would think that Africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals, and incomprehensible

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em'brace (vb) antage incompre'hensible (adj) ubegribelig voyage (sb) lang sørejse Sub-Saharan (adj) syd for Sahara Rudyard Kipling: britisk forfatter, 1865-1936 au'thentically (adv) autentisk, ægte con'tend (vb) anføre fleece (vb) udplyndre

people, fighting senseless wars, dying of poverty and AIDS, unable to speak for themselves and waiting to be saved by a kind, white foreigner. I would see Africans in the same way that I, as a child, had seen Fide’s family. This single story of Africa ultimately comes, I think, from Western literature. Now, here is a quote from the writing of a London merchant called John Locke, who sailed to West Africa in 1561 and kept a fascinating account of his voyage. After referring to the black Africans as "beasts who have no houses," he writes, "They are also people without heads, having their mouth and eyes in their breasts." Now, I’ve laughed every time I’ve read this. And one must admire the imagination of John Locke. But what is important about his writing is that it represents the beginning of a tradition of telling African stories in the West: A tradition of Sub-Saharan Africa as a place of negatives, of difference, of darkness, of people who, in the words of the wonderful poet Rudyard Kipling, are "half devil, half child." And so I began to realize that my American roommate must have throughout her life seen and heard different versions of this single story, as had a professor, who once told me that my novel was not "authentically African." Now, I was quite willing to contend that there were a number of things wrong with the novel, that it had failed in a number of places, but I had not quite imagined that it had failed at achieving something called African authenticity. In fact I did not know what African authenticity was. The professor told me that my characters were too much like him, an educated and middle-class man. My characters drove cars. They were not starving. Therefore they were not authentically African. But I must quickly add that I too am just as guilty in the question of the single story. A few years ago, I visited Mexico from the U.S. The political climate in the U.S. at the time was tense, and there were debates going on about immigration. And, as often happens in America, immigration became synonymous with Mexicans. There were endless stories of Mexicans as people who were fleecing the healthcare system, sneaking across the border, being arrested at the border, that sort of thing. I remember walking around on my first day in Guadalajara, watching the people going to work, rolling up tortillas in the marketplace, smoking, laughing. AFRICA UNFOLD 17


CHAPTER 1 – SETTING THE SCENE

i'mmerse (vb) indhylle abject (adj) ynkelig, uværdig de'finitive (adj) afgørende, endelig

I remember first feeling slight surprise. And then I was overwhelmed with shame. I realized that I had been so immersed in the media coverage of Mexicans that they had become one thing in my mind, the abject immigrant. I had bought into the single story of Mexicans and I could not have been more ashamed of myself. So that is how to create a single story, show a people as one thing, as only

dispo'ssess (vb) fortrænge

one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become.

Anne Tyler: amerikansk forfatter, f. 1941

It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power. There is a word, an Igbo word, that I think about whenever I think about the

John Updike: amerikansk forfatter, 1932-2009 John Steinbeck: amerikansk forfatter, 1902-1968 Mary Gaitskill: amerikansk forfatter, f. 1954 adequate (adj) tilstrækkelig re'pressive (adj) undertrykkende de'value (vb) nedvurdere

power structures of the world, and it is "nkali." It’s a noun that loosely translates to "to be greater than another." Like our economic and political worlds, stories

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too are defined by the principle of nkali: How they are told, who tells them, when they’re told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power. Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person. The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti writes that if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story and to start with, "secondly." Start the story with the arrows of the Native Americans, and not with the arrival of the British, and you have an entirely different story. Start the story with the failure of the African state, and not with the colonial creation of the African state, and you have an entirely different story. I recently spoke at a university where a student told me that it was such a shame that Nigerian men were physical abusers like the father character in my novel. I told him that I had just read a novel called American Psycho – and that it was such a shame that young Americans were serial murderers. Now, obviously I said this in a fit of mild irritation. But it would never have occurred to me to think that just because I had read a novel in which a character was a serial killer that he was somehow representative of all Americans. This is not because I am a better person than that student, but because of America’s cultural and economic power, I had many stories of America. I had read Tyler and Updike and Steinbeck and Gaitskill. I did not have a single story of America. When I learned, some years ago, that writers were expected to have had really unhappy childhoods to be successful, I began to think about how I could invent horrible things my parents had done to me. But the truth is that I had a very happy childhood, full of laughter and love, in a very close-knit family. But I also had grandfathers who died in refugee camps. My cousin Polle died because he could not get adequate healthcare. One of my closest friends, Okoloma, died in a plane crash because our fire trucks did not have water. I grew up under repressive military governments that devalued education, so that sometimes my parents were not paid their salaries. And so, as a child, I saw jam disappear from the breakfast table, then margarine disappeared, then bread became too expensive, then milk became rationed. And most of all, a kind of normalized political fear invaded our lives. All of these stories make me who I am. But to insist on only these negative stories is to flatten my experience and to overlook the many other stories that formed me. The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with

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stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story. Of course, Africa is a continent full of catastrophes: There are immense ones, such as the horrific rapes in Congo and depressing ones, such as the fact 5

that 5,000 people apply for one job vacancy in Nigeria. But there are other stories that are not about catastrophe, and it is very important, it is just as important, to talk about them. I’ve always felt that it is impossible to engage properly with a place or a person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person. The

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consequence of the single story is this: It robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar.

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So what if before my Mexican trip I had followed the immigration debate from both sides, the U.S. and the Mexican? What if my mother had told us that Fide’s family was poor and hardworking? What if we had an African television network that broadcast diverse African stories all over the world? What the Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe calls "a balance of stories." What if my roommate knew about my Nigerian publisher, Mukta Bakaray, a remarkable man who left his job in a bank to follow his dream and start a publishing house? Now, the conventional wisdom was that Nigerians don’t read literature. He disagreed. He felt that people who could read, would read, if you made literature affordable and available to them. Shortly after he published my first novel I went to a TV station in Lagos to do an interview, and a woman who worked there as a messenger came up to me and said, "I really liked your novel. I didn’t like the ending. Now you must write a sequel, and this is what will happen ..." And she went on to tell me what to write in the sequel. I was not only charmed, I was very moved. Here was a woman, part of the ordinary masses of Nigerians, who were not supposed to be readers. She had not only read the book, but she had taken ownership of it and felt justified in telling me what to write in the sequel. Now, what if my roommate knew about my friend Fumi Onda, a fearless woman who hosts a TV show in Lagos, and is determined to tell the stories that we prefer to forget? What if my roommate knew about the heart procedure that

job vacancy (sb) ledig stilling con'ventional (adj) vedtagen a'ffordable (adj) som man har råd til; økonomisk mulig sequel (sb) fortsættelse justified (adj) berettiget Pidgin (sb) pidgin engelsk (se FactBox s. 128) Igbo, Yoruba og Ijo (sb) etniske sprog Jay-Z: amerikansk rapper, f. 1969 Fela Kuti: nigeriansk musiker og politisk aktivist, 1938-1997 Bob Marley: musiker fra Jamaica, 19451981 odds (sb) her: udfordringer hair braider (sb)

was performed in the Lagos hospital last week? What if my roommate knew about contemporary Nigerian music, talented people singing in English and Pidgin, and Igbo and Yoruba and Ijo, mixing influences from Jay-Z to Fela to Bob Marley to their grandfathers. What if my roommate knew about the female lawyer who recently went to court in Nigeria to challenge a ridiculous law that required women to get their husband’s consent before renewing their passports? What if my roommate knew about Nollywood, full of innovative people making films despite great technical odds, films so popular that they really are the best example of Nigerians consuming what they produce? What if my roommate knew about my wonderfully ambitious hair braider, who has just started her own business selling hair extensions? Or about the millions of other Nigerians who start businesses and sometimes fail, but continue to nurse ambition? AFRICA UNFOLD 19


CHAPTER 1 – SETTING THE SCENE

hårfletter, frisør re'silience (sb) ukuelighed

Every time I am home I am confronted with the usual sources of irritation for most Nigerians: our failed infrastructure, our failed government, but also by

thrive (vb) trives, blomstre

the incredible resilience of people who thrive despite the government, rather than because of it. I teach writing workshops in Lagos every summer, and it is

re'furbish (vb) forbedre

amazing to me how many people apply, how many people are eager to write, to

ma'lign (vb) tale ondt om Alice Walker: amerikansk forfatter, f. 1944

My Nigerian publisher and I have just started a non-profit called Farafina Trust, and we have big dreams of building libraries and refurbishing libraries that already exist and providing books for state schools that don’t have anything in

re'gain (vb) genvinde

their libraries, and also of organizing lots and lots of workshops, in reading and

re'ject (vb) forkaste

writing, for all the people who are eager to tell our many stories. Stories matter. Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity. The American writer Alice Walker wrote this about her Southern relatives who had moved to the North. She introduced them to a book about the Southern life that they had left behind: "They sat around, reading the book themselves, listening to me read the book, and a kind of paradise was regained." I would like to end with this thought: That when we reject the single story, when we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise. Thank you.

ASSIGNMENTS

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tell stories.

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COMPREHENSION

POST-READING

1. Complete the list of Adichie’s examples of

1. Watch Adichie’s talk on the internet. The link is available on lru.dk/africaunfold. Make a

"single stories"– she mentions more than five. Make sure you also note what was wrong in each of these stories. 2. What do you think Adichie means by saying "In fact I did not know what African authenticity was"? 3. What is the general problem of "single 4. 5. 6. 7.

stories" according to Adichie? How are single stories created and carried on? What are the negative stereotypes about Africa and Nigeria? Which positive stories about Nigeria does Adichie mention? What impression of Adichie do you get from her lecture?

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note of and discuss the way she builds up her speech and how she appeals to her audience. 2. In pairs, walk and talk about your personal experiences of "single stories". Discuss why "single stories" are so common. 3. Write a short text in which you reflect on this quotation from Adichie’s talk, "It is impossible to talk about the single story without talking about power."


2

CULTURE – NEW DEPARTURES

"…there’s enough room for variety, creativity, taking chances and wider leaps" THIS IS AFRICA AFRICA UNFOLD 21


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

CULTURE – NEW DEPARTURES

Introduction in'tangible (adj) uhåndgribelig in'digenous (adj) oprindelig

L

ook up the word culture in a dictionary, and you will find that it has many meanings. The word derives from Latin and means something cultivated, not inborn. We usually distinguish between the material culture of a country such as books and architecture, and the intangible culture that we see in e.g. language and customs. Nigerian culture is shaped by Nigeria’s multiple ethnic groups, by its history, and by globalization. Also, religion plays a very important part for most Nigerians. The two major religions are Islam and Christianity in a number of variations, and indigenous, traditional religions are still influential. Western influences including movies, music and fashion can be found all across the country, but Nigerians produce culture that is in itself rich and flourishing even beyond the borders of the country – in the form of both iconic artists and popular culture. In 1986 Wole Soyinka won the Nobel Prize of Literature, and today we find many book prize winners among the young writers. However, many of the Nigerian writers today live abroad, and some of their focus has turned from the situation in their homeland to the challenges of living in a globalized world. The music includes many kinds of folk and popular music, and the controversial musician and human rights activist Fela Kuti tested the power of

culture in his struggle against the former military regimes. Since the 1990s the Nigerian movie industry dubbed "Nollywood" has established itself as a cultural force all over the continent. Football is the most popular sport in the country, and on several occasions the Nigerian Football Team has given rise to the feeling of ‘Naija’ among the population. ‘Naija’ is a slang term denoting pride in being a Nigerian. If you check the internet for e.g. Nigerian music, fashion or food you will meet plenty of ‘Naija’. In this chapter you will find texts about e.g. tradition and new departures, gender roles, religion, the image of Africa, HIV and popular culture. Test your knowledge of Nigerian culture in the multiple choice quiz on the next page. 22 AFRICA UNFOLD

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MULTIPLE CHOICE 1. Nigerian Nollywood produces a. the largest number of films in the world

7. What is the distribution of religions in Nigeria?

b. the second largest number of films in the world

a. Tribal religions 30 %, Islam 50 %,

c. the third largest number of films in the

b. Tribal religions 10 %, Islam 50 %, Christianity 40 %

world

Christianity 20 %

c. Islam 50 %, Christianity 50 % 2. The nickname of Nigeria’s national football team is a. Green Antilopes b. Green Eagles c. Green Grasshoppers 3. Nigeria’s national football team won Olympic gold in a. Atlanta 1996 b. Athens 2004 c. London 2012 4. Fela Kuti a. was a famous football player, goalkeeper of the year 2000 b. was a famous novelist who served as an inspiration for many present-day Nigerian writers c. was a famous musician and composer, pioneer of the Afro-Beat music genre 5. The concept ‘Naija’ indicates a. non-acceptance of modern Nigeria b. the new, self-confident Nigeria c. corruption in Nigeria 6. The popular TV series Shuga is a. an entertaining romance series b. a soap opera focusing on sexual health education c. a series of documentaries on different aspects of Nigerian culture

8. In Abuja, the federal capital, a. a large, national mosque has been built in the city centre whereas only small churches have been permitted – because half of all Nigerians are Muslims b. a national mosque is placed close to a national, interdenominational church – in recognition of the importance of Islam as well as Christianity c. only small, local mosques and churches have been permitted – to downplay the role of religion and to prevent religious clashes 9. Generally speaking, Muslim Nigerians trust foreign institutions from the following areas the most: a. India b. America c. Europe d. The Middle East 10. One of the following Nigerian authors has won the Nobel Prize in Literature a. Wole Soyinka b. Ben Okri c. Chinua Achebe See answers on lru.dk/africaunfold.

AFRICA UNFOLD 23

ASSIGNMENTS

CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

Tomorrow Is Too Far BY CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE, 2009 Chimananda Ngozi Adichie is introduced on page 15.

PRE-READING The following groups of words are semantic signifiers (see ToolBox on lru.dk/africaunfold) from the first paragraph of the short story. Define a category, or denotation, for each set of signifiers: a. last, divorce, never again b. trees, leaves, branches, mangoes, fruits c.  heat, moistly warm, decaying leaves, soggy, rain down, tangled Discuss what to expect from a story beginning with these signifiers. Notice how the grandmother’s garden changes over the years. What significance does it have?

TOMORROW IS TOO FAR moistly (adv) fugtigt tangled (adj) sammenfiltret guava (sb) guavafrugt de'cay (vb) rådne bort soggy (adj) opblødt limbfree (adj) uden store grene nudge (vb) skubbe til padded (adj) polstret pod (sb) bælg(frugt)

24 AFRICA UNFOLD

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t was the last summer you spent in Nigeria, the summer before your parents’ divorce, before our mother swore you would never again set foot in Nigeria to see your father’s family, especially Grandmama. You remember the heat of that summer clearly, even now, eighteen years later – the way Grandmama’s yard felt moistly warm, a yard with so many trees that the telephone wire was tangled in leaves and different branches touched one another and sometimes mangoes appeared on cashew trees and guavas on mango trees. The thick mat of decaying leaves was soggy under your bare feet. In the afternoons, yellowbellied bees buzzed around your head and your brother Nonso’s and cousin Dozie’s heads, and in the evenings Grandmama let only your brother Nonso climb the trees to shake a loaded branch, although you were a better climber than he was. Fruits would rain down, avocados and cashews and guavas, and you and your cousin Dozie would fill old buckets with them. It was the summer Grandmama taught Nonso how to pluck the coconuts. The coconut trees were hard to climb, so limb-free and tall, and Grandmama gave Nonso a long stick and showed him how to nudge the padded pods down. She didn’t show you, because she said girls never plucked coconuts. Grandmama cracked the coconuts against a stone, carefully, so the watery

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milk stayed in the lower piece, a jagged cup. Everybody got a sip of the wind-

jagged (adj) savtakket

cooled milk, even the children from down the street who came to play, and

molt (sb) ham

Grandmama presided over the sipping ritual to make sure Nonso went first. It was the summer you asked Grandmama why Nonso sipped first

sheer (adj) næsten gennemsigtig

even though Dozie was thirteen, a year older than Nonso, and Grandmama said Nonso was her son’s only son, the one who would carry on the Nnabuisi name, while Dozie was only a nwadiana, her daughter’s son. It was the summer you found the molt of a snake on the lawn, unbroken and sheer like see-through stockings, and Grandmama told you the snake was called the echi

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eteka, "Tomorrow Is Too Far." One bite, she said, and it’s over in ten minutes. It was not the summer you fell in love with your cousin Dozie because that happened a few summers before, when he was ten and you were seven and you

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both wiggled into the tiny space behind Grandmama’s garage and he tried to fit what you both called his "banana" into what you both called your "tomato" but neither of you was sure which was the right hole. It was, however, the summer you got lice, and you and your cousin Dozie dug through your thick hair to find the tiny black insects and squash them against your fingernails and laugh at the tart sound of their blood-filled bellies bursting; the summer that your hate for your brother Nonso grew so much you felt it squeezing your nostrils and your love for your cousin Dozie ballooned and wrapped around your skin. It was the summer you watched a mango tree crack into two near-perfect halves during a thunderstorm, when the lightning cut fiery lines through the sky. It was the summer Nonso died.

tart (adj) sprød fiery (adj) flammende harmattan (sb) tør ørkenvind i Nordvestafrika makeshift (adj) der gør det ud for drizzle (sb) støvregn family lineage (sb) arvefølge rummage (vb) rode rundt i coax (vb) lokke ud af

Grandmama did not call it summer. Nobody did in Nigeria. It was August, nestled between the rainy season and the harmattan season. It could pour all day, silver rain splashing onto the verandah where you and Nonso and Dozie slapped away mosquitos and ate roast corn; or the sun would be blinding and you would float in the water tank Grandmama had sawed in half, a makeshift pool. The day Nonso died was mild; there was drizzle in the morning, lukewarm sun in the afternoon, and, in the evening, Nonso’s death. Grandmama screamed at him – at his limp body – saying i laputago m, that he had betrayed her, asking him who could carry on the Nnabuisi name now, who would protect the family lineage. The neighbors came over when they heard her. It was the woman from the house across the road – the one whose dog rummaged in Grandmama’s dustbin in the mornings – who coaxed the American phone number from your numb lips and called your mother. It was also that neighbor who unclasped your and Dozie’s hands, made you sit down, and gave you some water. The neighbor tried, too, to hold you close so you would not hear Grandmama as she talked to your mother on the phone, but you slid away from the woman, closer to the phone. Grandmama and your mother were focused on Nonso’s body, rather than his death. Your mother was insisting that Nonso’s body be flown back to

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CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

lurk (vb) ligge på lur

America right away and Grandmama was repeating your mother’s words and

willowy (adj) smidig

shaking her head. Madness lurked in her eyes.

hover (vb) holde sig

You knew Grandmama had never liked your mother. (You had heard Grandmama say this some summers before to her friend – That black

ab'sorb (vb) afbøde un'tended (adj) forsømt cautiously (adv) varsomt shuffling (adj) hektisk

American woman has tied up my son and put him in her pocket). But watching

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Grandmama on the phone, you understood that she and your mother were united. You were sure your mother had the same red madness in her eyes. When you talked to your mother, her voice echoed over the line in a way it had never done all the years before when you and Nonso spent summers with Grandmama. Are you all right? she kept asking you. Are you all right?

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She sounded fearful, as though she suspected that you were all right, despite Nonso’s death. You played with the phone wire and said little. She said she would send word to your father, although he was somewhere in the woods attending a Black Arts festival where there were no phones or radios. Finally she sobbed a harsh sob, a sob like the bark of a dog, before she told you everything would be fine and she was going to arrange for Nonso’s body to be flown back. It made you think of her laugh, a ho-ho-ho laugh that started deep inside her belly and did not soften as it came up and did not suit her willowy body at all. When she went into Nonso’s room to say good night, she always came out laughing that laugh. Most times, you pressed your palms to our ears to keep the sound out, and kept your palms pressed to your ears even when she came into your room to say Good night, darling, sleep well. She never left your room with that laugh. After the phone call, Grandmama lay stretched out with her back on the floor, eyes unblinking, rolling from side to side, as though she were playing some sort of silly game. She said it was wrong to fly Nonso’s body back to America, that his spirit would always hover here. He belonged to this hard earth that had failed to absorb the shock of his fall. He belonged to the trees here, one of which had let go of him. You sat and watched her and at first you wished she would get up and take you in her arms, then you wished she wouldn’t.

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It has been eighteen years and the trees in Grandmama’s yard look unchanged; they still reach out and hug one another, still cast shadows over the yard. But everything else seems smaller: the house, the garden at the back, the water tank copper-colored from rust. Even Grandmama’s grave in the backyard looks tiny, and you imagine her body being crumpled to fit a small coffin. The grave is covered with a thin coat of cement; the soil around it is freshly dug, and you stand next to it and picture it in ten year’s time, untended, tangled weeds covering the cement, choking the grave. Dozie is watching you. At the airport, he had hugged you cautiously, said welcome and what a surprise that you came back, and you stared at his face for a long time in the busy, shuffling lounge until he looked away, his eyes brown and sad like those of your friend’s poodle. You didn’t need that look, though, to know that the secret of how Nonso died was safe with Dozie, had always 26 AFRICA UNFOLD

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been safe with Dozie. As he drove to Grandmama’s house, he asked about your mother and you told him that your mother lived in California now; you did not mention that it was in a commune among people with shaved heads and pierced breasts or that when she called, you always hung up while she 5

was still speaking. You move toward the avocado tree. Dozie is still watching you and you look at him and try to remember the love that clogged you up so fully that summer you were ten, that made you hold on tight to Dozie’s hand the afternoon after Nonso died, when Dozie’s mother, your aunty Mgbechibelije,

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commune (sb) kollektiv clog up (vb) fylde op fruit fly (sb) bananflue perch (vb) sætte sig startle (vb) forskrække molten (adj) blød humid (adj) fugtig tuck a'way(vb) stoppe væk

came to take him away. There is a gentle sorrow in the lines across his

cluck (vb) smække med tungen

forehead, a melancholy in the way he stands with his arms by his sides. You suddenly wonder if he longed, too, like you did. You never knew what was

nauseate (vb) give kvalme

beneath his quiet smile, beneath the times he would sit so still that the fruit flies perched on his arms, beneath the pictures he gave you and the birds he kept in a cardboard cage, petting them until they died. You wonder what, if anything, he felt about being the wrong grandson, the one who did not bear the Nnabuisi name. You reach out to touch the trunk of the avocado tree; just as Dozie starts to say something, startling you because you think he is going to bring up Nonso’s death, but he tells you that he never imagined that you would come back to say goodbye to Grandmama because he knew how much you hated her. That word – "hate" – hangs in the air between you both like an accusation. You want to say that when he called you in New York, the first time you were hearing his voice in eighteen years, to tell you that Grandmama had died – I thought you would want to know, were his words – you leaned on your office desk, your legs turning molten, a lifetime of silence collapsing, and it was not Grandmama you thought of, it was Nonso, and it was him, Dozie, and it was the avocado tree and it was that humid summer in the amoral kingdom of your childhood and it was all the things you had not allowed yourself to think about, that you had flattened to a thin sheet and tucked away. But instead you say nothing and press your palms deep into the rough trunk of the tree. The pain soothes you. You remember eating the avocados; you liked yours with salt and Nonso didn’t like his with salt and Grandmama always clucked and said you did not know what was good when you said the unsalted avocado nauseated you.

ob'scenely (adv) uanstændigt cinnamon (adj) kanelfarvet dashiki (sb) løs, stærktfarvet bluse cowry (sb) muslingeskal brugt til smykker toddler (sb) rolling

At Nonso’s funeral in a cold cemetery in Virginia with tombstones jutting out obscenely, your mother was in faded black from head to toe, even a veil, and it made her cinnamon skin glow. Your father stood away from both of you, in his usual dashiki, milk-colored cowries coiled round his neck. He looked as if he were not family, as if he were one of the guests who sniffled loudly and later asked your mother in hushed tones exactly how Nonso had died, exactly how he had fallen from one of the trees he had climbed since he was a toddler. Your mother said nothing to them, all those people who asked questions. She said nothing to you, either, about Nonso, not even when she cleaned up his AFRICA UNFOLD 27


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

(be) in the running (id) (være) med i opløbet

room and packed his things. She did not ask if you wanted to keep anything, and you were relieved. You did not want to have any of his books with his

re'luctant (adj) modvillig

handwriting that your mother said was neater than typewritten sentences. You did not want his photographs of pigeons in the park that your father said

ancestor (sb) forfader

showed so much promise for a child. You did not want his paintings, which

fetish (adj) overtroisk

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were mere copies of your father’s only in different colors. Or his clothes. Or his stamp collection. Your mother brought Nonso up, finally, three months after his funeral, when she told you about the divorce. She said the divorce was not about Nonso, that she and your father had long been growing apart. (Your father was

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in Zanzibar then; he had left right after Nonso’s funeral.) Then your mother asked: How did Nonso die? You still wonder how those words tumbled out of your mouth. You still do not recognize the clear-eyed child that you were. Maybe it was because of the way she said the divorce was not about Nonso – as though Nonso was the only one capable of being a reason, as though you were not in the running. Or maybe it was simply that you felt the burning desire that you still feel sometimes, the need to smooth out wrinkles, to flatten things you find too bumpy. You told your mother, with your tone suitably reluctant, that Grandmama had asked Nonso to climb to the highest branch of the avocado tree to show her how much of a man he was. Then she frightened him – it was a joke, you assured your mother – by telling him that here was a snake, the echi eteka, on the branch close to him. She asked him not to move. Of course he moved and slipped off the branch, and when he landed, the sound was like many fruits falling at the same time. A dull, final plop. Grandmama stood there and stared at him and then started to shout at him about how he was the only son, how he had betrayed the lineage by dying, how the ancestors would be displeased. He was breathing, you told your mother. He was breathing when he fell but Grandmama just stood there and shouted at his broken body until he died. Your mother started to scream. And you wondered if people screamed in that crazed way when they had just chosen to reject truth. She knew well enough that Nonso had hit his head on a stone and died on the spot – she had seen his body, his cracked head. But she chose to believe Nonso was alive after he fell. She cried, howled, and cursed the day she set eyes on your father at the first exhibition of his work. Then she called him, you heard her shouting on the phone: Your mother is responsible! She panicked him and made him fall! She could have done something afterwards but instead she stood there like the stupid fetish African woman that she is and let him die! Your father talked to you afterwards, and said he understood how hard it was for you but you had to be careful what you said so that you didn’t cause more hurt. And you thought about his words – Be careful what you say – and wondered if he knew you were lying. That summer, eighteen years ago, was the summer of your first selfrealization. The summer you knew that something had to happen to Nonso, 28 AFRICA UNFOLD

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so that you could survive. Even at ten you knew that some people can take

stifle (vb) kvæle

up too much space by simply being, that by existing, some people can stifle

maim (vb) lemlæste

others. The idea of scaring Nonso with the echi eteka was yours alone. But you explained it to Dozie, that you both needed Nonso to get hurt – maybe maim

mar (vb) spolere

him, maybe twist his legs. You wanted to mar the perfection of his lithe body, to make him less lovable, less able to do all that he did. Less able to take up your space. Dozie said nothing and instead drew a picture of you with your eyes in the shape of stars. Grandmama was inside cooking and Dozie was standing silently close to

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you, your shoulders touching, when you suggested Nonso climb to the top of the avocado tree. It was easy to get him to; you only had to remind him that you were the better climber. And you really were the better climber, you could

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lithe (adj) smidig scale (vb) klatre op ad nne (sb) (igbo) tiltale af kvindelig slægtning azure (sb) himmelblå farve shrug 'off (vb) ryste af sig gingerly (adv) varsomt

scale a tree, any tree, in seconds – you were better at the things that did not need to be taught, the things that Grandmama could not teach him. You asked him to go first, to see if he could get to the topmost branch of the avocado before you followed. The branches were weak, and Nonso was heavier than you. Heavy from all the food Grandmama made him eat. Eat a little more, she would say often. Who do you think I made it for? As though you were not there. Sometimes she would pat your back and say in Igbo, It’s good you are learning, nne, this is how you will take care of your husband one day. Nonso climbed the three. Higher and higher. You waited till he was nearly at the top, till his legs hesitated before inching farther up. You waited for that short moment when he was between motions. An open moment, a moment you saw the blueness of everything, of life itself – the pure azure of one of your father’s paintings, of opportunity, of a sky washed clean by a morning shower. Then you screamed. "A snake! It’s the echi eteka! A snake!" You were not sure whether to say that the snake was on a branch close to him, or sliding up the trunk. But it didn’t matter because, in those few seconds, Nonso looked down at you and let go, his foot slipping, his arms freeing themselves. Or maybe the tree simply shrugged Nonso off. You don’t remember now how long you stayed looking at Nonso before you went in to call Grandmama, Dozie all the time silent beside you. Dozie’s word – "hate" – floats around in your head now. Hate. Hate. Hate. The word makes it difficult to breathe, the same way it was difficult to breathe when you waited, those months after Nonso died, for your mother to notice that you had a voice pure like water and legs like elastic bands, for your mother to end her good-night visits to your room with that deep ho-ho-ho laugh. Instead she held you too gingerly while saying good night, always speaking in whispers, and you started to avoid her kisses by faking coughs and sneezes. Year after year as she moved you from state to state, lighting red candles in her bedroom, banning all talk of Nigeria or of Grandmama, refusing to let you see your father, she never again laughed that laugh. Dozie speaks now, tells you that he began to dream of Nonso a few years ago, dreams in which Nonso is older and taller than him, and you hear fruit AFRICA UNFOLD 29


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES roiling (adj) oprørt

fall from a tree nearby and you ask him without turning around, What did you want, that summer, what did you want? You do not know when Dozie moves, when he stands behind you, so close that you smell the citrus on him, perhaps he peeled an orange and did not wash his hands afterwards. He turns you around and looks at you and you

5

look at him and there are fine lines on his forehead and a new harshness in his eyes. He tells you it did not occur to him to want because what mattered was what you wanted. There is a long silence while you watch the column of black ants making its way up the trunk, each ant carrying a bit of white fluff, creating a black-and-white pattern. He asks you if you dreamed the way he did and you say no, your eyes avoiding his, and he turns away from you. You want to tell him about the pain in your chest and the emptiness in your ears and the roiling air after his phone call, about the doors flung open, about the flattened things that popped out, but he is walking away. And you are weeping, standing alone under the avocado tree.

ASSIGNMENTS

COMPREHENSION 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

6.

Why are the narrator and her brother Nonzo in Nigeria? Why is the snake called ‘Tomorrow Is Too Far’? How does Nonzo die? How does the grandmother react when Nonzo dies? What are the mother and grandmother quarrelling about on the phone after Nonzo’s death? What do we hear about the mother’s laughter?

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7. 8.

What explanation do we get of the parents’ divorce? What is the story the girl tells her mother

about Nonzo’s death? 9. How does the mother react? 10. How does the father react? 11. What makes Nonzo fall down from the tree? 12. How does the relationship between mother and daughter develop? 13. What makes the girl return to Nigeria 18 years later?

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ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

POST-READING

1.

1. In the first part of Tomorrow Is Too Far we

Analyse the composition of the first two pages. How are the readers prepared for the

hear of a mango tree cracked into two near-

final statement, "It was the summer Nonzo died"?

perfect halves. In the story, find as many examples as you can of other things cracking into two and make some kind of visual

2.

Analyse the composition of the rest of the story. What is obtained by this composition?

presentation of it. 2. Make a role play in which you relate the themes of Tomorrow Is Too Far to a Western

3.

Make a mindmap with the ‘you’ in the centre. Fill in the other main characters around her with a few keywords giving the main facts of each of them and their roles in the girl’s life.

4.

5.

What are the girl’s motives for wanting to hurt Nonzo? Consider family structures and gender roles in Africa as well as America. Dozie is present when Nonzo dies. Why does he keep the girl’s secret? Which of the other characters do you think know that the girl is responsible for her brother’s death? Why don’t they say anything?

6.

Why does the ‘you’ cry in the end?

7.

What symbols of repressed feelings can you find in the text?

8.

Discuss the point of view: Who is telling the story? How does the use of a second

European context. 3. Discuss if Tomorrow Is Too Far exposes traditional Nigeria to ridicule.

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT (A LEVEL): Write an analytical essay in which you compare Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s short story Tomorrow Is Too Far with the Biblical myth of The Fall (Genesis, chapter 3; see lru.dk/ africaunfold). Part of your essay must focus on the use of symbols and on the relevance of relating a modern short story to an ancient religious text. Remember that a comparison includes similarities as well as differences.

person narrator work? 9.

What themes do you see in the story?

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ASSIGNMENTS

CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

NOLLYWOOD INDUSTRY CREATING NEGATIVE IMAGE OF AFRICA?

THIS IS AFRICA

PRE-READING 1. Find out what the term "Nollywood" means and what genres and characteristics are typical of Nollywood productions. 2. On the internet, watch a trailer of at least three Nollywood productions. For each trailer, note down the genre and make a list of characteristics. You can find links on lru.dk/africaunfold. 3. In groups, compare your findings with your class mates’, focusing on similarities and differences. Pick five words from the text and explain in English what they mean. Prepare a small word game for your neighbour.

NOLLYWOOD INDUSTRY CREATING NEGATIVE IMAGE OF AFRICA? en'capsulate (vb) sammenfatte de'piction (sb) skildring per'ception (sb) opfattelse average (sb) gennemsnit stock (adj) som haves på lager

32 AFRICA UNFOLD

W

hen I think of a major city like New York City or London, there are particular visuals in my memory bank created purely by images I've seen in films, television shows and even music videos made in those cities. These images give us the imagery we use to feel familiar with the unfamiliar. Sometimes a particular movie manages to encapsulate the tone and feel of the city; the depiction may be mostly fictional and include clichés and stereotypes, but it still gives the viewer an impression of the place. Many African film and television productions are criticised for lack of quality and poor depiction of

Africans – and some of the criticism comes from Africans, too – but these industries are making money – entertainment without a commercial interest doesn’t sustain an industry. Nollywood’s imagery and storylines have greatly affected people’s perception of Nigeria and Africa beyond the continent. The second largest film industry in the world, its average of about 2,000 movies a year provides more than enough material for viewers to create a visual impression of Africa beyond National Geographic stock photos or BBC headlines. Most people that have come across a Nollywood movie have in some way or another allowed it

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AFRICA UNFOLD 33


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

to contribute to their opinions about

smaller group of wealthier Africans. I

Nigeria, Nigerians and even Africa

think this is a key reason why there is

exagge'ration (sb) overdrivelse

as a whole. But it’s no different from Bollywood: gross exaggerations

a tendency in Nollywood to unmask and uncover the problems of the

demo'graphic (adj) befolkningsmæssig

of homegrown truths created for

wealthy. It may appear on the surface

great entertainment. Then again,

that these movies glorify the rich and

there are many people who watch these movies and believe Indians

elite, but in fact they chip away at the belief that money buys happiness,

walk around singing and dancing on

because aside from bank balances,

staircases, and many who also believe

everyone has the same problems,

people from Hong Kong are ever ready to bust some kung-fu moves.

and no one’s life is perfect. Sure, this is as much a fairytale as anything

Bollywood: indisk filmindustri gross (adj) grov

docu'mentary (sb) dokumentar(film) charity (sb) velgørenhed per'petuate (vb) fastholde un'mask (vb) afsløre chip a'way at (id) fjerne gradvist lens (sb) linse represen'tation (sb) fremstilling subtle (adj) fin, nuanceret reverence (sb) anerkendelse

I’ve often felt frustrated by the depiction of Nigerians in Nollywood movies – the witchcraft, the greed, the violence, etc. – but then I have to remind myself that it is only entertainment, and entertainment that is created to appeal to a particular demographic group and it’s not a documentary, not made for charity or to show at Cannes but to make money and entertain. It’s been argued that the depictions perpetuate stereotypes, and there’s some truth in that. On the other hand, it took years for Nollywood to arrive at its successful formula, which is to take factual issues and over-dramatize them. Besides, like it or not, witchcraft is very much an African issue, as is AIDS, and corruption. Not just Nigerian issues, but African issues. This is why Nollywood movies are so popular around the continent, despite our different languages, cultures and history. We share similar issues, many of which are unique to our continent. The masses are going to relate to a particular interpretation of an issue in a different way to people from the

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Hollywood produces, but we need fairytales, too, for comfort. As T. S. Eliot wrote, Humankind cannot bear very much reality. Beyond Nollywood, there are movies being made specifically with the international market in mind, i.e. the international market that includes non-Africans. An example of such would be the South African film Tsotsi, which won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2005 and a Golden Globe for best foreign language film in 2006. Many saw this as a turning point for African film, but there were also those that believed the movie portrayed Africans through the lens of a Western perspective, and not the national representation it claimed. These types of films are being made to higher technical standards, with better-developed scripts and more subtle acting. They are being made with higher budgets and take up to a year or more to complete, unlike the days it takes for the typical Nollywood movie. It is easy to brand such films as sell-outs, simply because they are after international reverence and because they may

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glorify or depict imagery that is

short film, the first of its kind – is an

usually swept under the carpet, or

example of uncharted territory that

downplayed in our regular Nollywood movies.

the African film has yet to explore,

a'cclaim (sb) anerkendelse,

but which we might see more of

graphic (adj) malende

as the filmmakers themselves step out of their comfort zones, with the

continent-bound (adj) knyttet til et kontinent

permission of an audience ready for

co'mmend (vb) rose

more experimental films.

en'tirety (sb) helhed

of Congo, as well as for what some

At the moment, though, it appears

considered graphic scenes of violence and sex. But such criticism remained

that if we are telling African stories to

re'ception (sb) modtagelse

continent-bound; internationally the film wasn’t branded too violent or too sexual, it was a successful piece of work from Africa, with an African cast and directed by an African. South African movies such as Jeruselama and District 9 were both directed by white directors, as tends to be the case with African films created for an international market. So to see black directors telling an African story should be something we commend, even while remaining critical as film fans, but unfortunately this isn’t always the case. We – the African audience – accept Hollywood in its entirety (and don’t expect them to be proxy trailers for America’s tourist industry), but continue to judge

must apply, even if we are affirming stereotypes. It’s about box office sales and making back the investment, and for that the African ‘ghetto’ story seems to fit the bill. If we are telling African stories to African audiences, then another set of rules seem to apply, and the latter is what Nollywood has traditionally done well. Nollywood has built a massive industry on the premise that it is entertainment for everyone. Rough around the edges, yes, but playing by our own rules, using our own actors, filming in real Africa and not fake backdrops, making mistakes along the way, but at least they are our own mistakes. It doesn’t have to be

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African entertainment somewhat unfairly. Perhaps our reception to these movies will change as we see more and more co-productions with transnational themes like The Mirror Boy and The Assassin’s Practice, films that do not conform to the high volume/low quality production churn of Nollywood, and whose scripts are quite different from ‘traditional’ Nollywood fare. And looking beyond Nollywood again, a movie like Pumzi – an African sci-fi

a western audience, certain formulas

down'play (vb) nedtone

proxy (adj) stedfortrædende

trans'national (adj) overnational con'form (vb) tilpasse churn (sb) kværn, mølle fare (sb) takst un'charted (adj) uudforsket a'ffirm (vb) bekræfte box office (sb) billetkontor fit the bill (id) passe til forventningerne latter (adj) sidstnævnte premise (sb) forudsætning backdrop (sb) baggrund

one way or the other; there’s enough room for variety, creativity, taking chances and wider leaps. Some will work and others fail miserably, but the boundaries will be pushed at a pace that works for us.

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ASSIGNMENTS

CHAPTER 3 – SOCIAL CHANGES – CHANGING IDENTITIES

COMPREHENSION AND ANALYSIS

POST-READING 1. In groups, discuss the characters and themes

1. What factual information are we given about Nollywood film industry? 2. How do Nollywood movies depict Nigeria

that you find in the film poster for Nollywood Hustlers. Compare it with film posters of your own choice and make sure you point out similarities as well as differences.

and Nigerians according to the article? 3. Which of the following statements are correct according to the article:

2. Find out what Kannywood means and how it reflects cultural diversity within Nigeria. On lru.dk/africaunfold you can find a useful link.

a. Nollywood movies are of poor quality. b. Nollywood movies portray Africans too positively. c. Nollywood is not able to make enough money. d. Nollywood movies are poor entertainment. e. Nollywood movies are not watched outside the African continent. f. Nollywood movies should be less elitist. g. Nollywood movies are capable of unmasking the problems of wealthy Africans. h. Nollywood glorifies the rich. i. Nollywood movies are too expensive to produce. j. Nollywood movies make too many mistakes. 4. Despite the criticism, why does the writer defend Nollywood? Point out at least three arguments from the article.

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WRITTEN ASSIGNMENT (A LEVEL) Write an analytical essay in which you analyse and interpret a Nollywood movie. Part of your essay must focus on genre characteristics and on the portrayal of women. In your essay you must include references to the film. You may use information from the internet in your essay. All sources must be documented.


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

SHUGA: THE SOAP OPERA HELPING AFRICA CONFRONT HIV BY MONIKA MARK, THE GUARDIAN, 29 NOVEMBER 2013

PRE-READING 1. Search the internet for ten minutes, looking for facts about HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Share your finds with your classmates and discuss if you were surprised by any of your discoveries. 2. Find out about the present status of homosexuals in Nigeria. 3. Make lists of the verbs, nouns and adjectives used in the following lines: "For decades, attempts to curb HIV in Africa have either focused on medical solutions or behavioural changes – normally tied in with Christian-based abstinence messages. That has rarely worked in the continent’s countries which have borne the brunt of a 30-year epidemic." a. Which verb means ‘to control or limit something in order to prevent it from having a harmful effect’? b. Which nouns mean ‘the worst part’ and ‘the practice of not having something you enjoy’ respectively? c. Which adjective means ‘involving or relating to conduct’? Note down a quotation from the text that you find interesting and be prepared to explain why.

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CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

SHUGA: THE SOAP OPERA HELPING AFRICA CONFRONT HIV Successful sex drama moves to Nigeria to help people in country with world’s second-highest HIV rate open up about Aids. en'courage (vb) tilskynde sugar daddy (sb) (slang) mand som overøser ung pige med penge og gaver for sex croon (vb) synge smægtende savour (vb) nyde handout (sb) almisse (neds.) a'ppease (vb) formilde decade (sb) årti gritty (adj) kras

A

Nigerian university student

successful seasons in Kenya,

wakes up with her middle-

have shifted the drama to Lagos

aged sugar daddy one morning and suggests that they start using

in the hope of tapping Africa’s most populous country – and the

condoms.

continent’s movie powerhouse.

5

"Baby," the man croons smoothly, before brushing off her concerns with a Yoruba phrase that translates roughly as "an orange is not savoured with its peel on".

The show premiered to rave reviews this week at a Lagos event studded with Nollywood stars, Afrobeats luminaries and some of the ordinary Nigerians who shine in the series.

10

When the university student – who lives off handouts from multiple sexual partners – confronts him after discovering he is HIV positive, he tries to appease her with a shopping trip to Dubai.

"The issues are so real, but people can relate because it’s not preachy or trying to change society," said Maria Okanrende, a DJ who plays a student trying to break into the music industry as an ex-boyfriend waltzes back into her life. "A lot of people are not going to like its rawness, but if you’re watching it, you’re going to talk afterwards. Everybody knows

curb (vb) bremse be'havioral (adj) adfærdsabstinence (sb) afholdenhed bear the brunt (id) blive hårdest ramt air (vb) blive udsendt tap (vb) prikke til powerhouse (sb) kraftcenter rave (adj) begejstret studded (adj) overstrøet luminary (sb) stjerne, berømthed preachy (adj) moraliserende soar (vb) stige markant cluster (sb) klynge

The scenes are being played out by actors, but activists say Shuga, a gritty sex-and-relationships TV drama, is reaching young people in a way traditional Aids campaigns have rarely done. For decades, attempts to curb HIV in Africa have either focused on medical solutions or behavioural changes – normally tied in with Christian-based abstinence messages. That has rarely worked in the continent’s countries which have borne the brunt of a 30year epidemic. Now the producers behind Shuga, which has aired for two hugely

38 AFRICA UNFOLD

15

20

someone like my character." The producers believe it is that ordinariness which appeals to young people, among whom Aids-related

25

deaths have soared even while they fall within the general population, as the World Health Organisation reported this week. 30

"My 15 year-old hates it when I say this, but my belief is that in order to conquer HIV we really need to talk more about sex," Georgia Arnold, of MTV’s Staying Alive Foundation,

35


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

which has backed the series, said as clusters of teenagers tried to sneak into the star-studded event. 5

10

15

20

25

When she repeated that message later in front of a packed cinema audience, a nervous murmur ran through the crowd. But as the lights dimmed, it was clear just how much they were drawn by the painfully realistic depictions of campus life: the boozefuelled mishaps with exes, wayward visiting younger sisters, friends in abusive relationships and the roommate with an unwelcome live-in girlfriend. The crowd roared with appreciative laughter when one character, at an HIV testing centre, struggled to remember how many sexual partners she had had, furtively counting on her fingers under the table.

Eventually she asks the unimpressed counsellor: "This year?"

de'piction (sb) skildring booze-fuelled (adj) alkoholdreven

FIGHTING AN EPIDEMIC

mishap (sb) uheld

With around 3.3 million patients, Nigeria’s HIV rate is second only to South Africa globally. But in an often deeply religious and conservative society, social taboos about discussing sex mean up to 80% of people don’t know their HIV status.

wayward (adj) egensindig a'busive (adj) voldelig roar (vb) brøle a'ppreciative (adj) anerkendende furtively (adv) i smug unim'pressed (adj) uimponeret literally (adv) bogstavelig talt

"When you talk to people about HIV in Nigeria, they say: ’We really don’t have that problem here’," said Biyi Bandele, one of the show’s writers, best known for directing the hit film Half of a Yellow Sun. He said research trips to clinics had been an eye-opener. "There were people you would never guess had Aids queuing up, literally everybody you could ever meet. My hope is that this story will go into living rooms, AFRICA UNFOLD 39


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

and families will discuss it across

Lee said he hoped the next series

whole generations."

would be set in South Africa.

charged (adj) ladet

There is evidence that initiatives

For now, many of Shuga’s Nigerian

vast (adj) omfattende

such as Shuga are already doing that.

fans say the series has raised a crucial

gobsmacked (adj) målløs wrung out (adj) udmattet

crucial (adj) afgørende bar (sb) skranke

bar in the country’s film industry. When South African health professor James Lee saw the first series

"That kind of quality and social

screened in Amsterdam, he was

lifestyle it discusses is really

gobsmacked: "At the end of it, I felt

important because Nigerian films

completely emotionally wrung out. I’d been waiting for this series for 20

have a way of catching fire online – you have people from London to

years." Lee said he had since handed out thousands of copies of the film to community health workers and teachers.

Rio to Houston who are going to be watching this," said one enthusiast at the Lagos screening.

A study this year found watching the series produced dramatic results in both awareness and willingness to talk about the disease among Lee’s pupils – a breakthrough in a country where discussions around Aids are emotionally charged. "What a lot of people sitting at their desks in Geneva or Brussels don’t understand is that in the middle of an epidemic is a lot of trauma. When you have watched two, three, four loved ones, even the guy at the post office, go through incredibly painful deaths, would you be able to talk about it? Ironically, many teachers have vast personal experiences of HIV within their families, [but] most have been unable to bring that experience to their classrooms."

40 AFRICA UNFOLD

5

10

15

For Treasure Uchegbu, whose onscreen role as an Aids counsellor mirrors her real profession, filming was so realistic it brought back memories of one of her most heartbreaking experiences. "There was a 22-year-old who had never had sex; never done drugs. She fainted when we told her she was positive. But immediately before the test she had told me the place where she got one very small tattoo done, and I just knew what I was going to [have to] tell her."

20

25

30

As night approached, Treasure left the after-party to prepare for a 6am start at her mobile testing clinic. 35


COMPREHENSION AND ANALYSIS

POST-READING 1. Watch an episode of Shuga and compare

1. The article begins with a reference to a scene from an episode of the soap Shuga. What is the problem that it refers to? 2. What has characterized traditional Aids campaigns in Africa?

it to Beverley Hills 90210, Friends or a similar tv series that you know. Consider setting, characters, conflicts and themes. Links to Shuga episodes can be found on lru.dk/africaunfold.

3. Why does Shuga work? 4. According to Georgia Arnold, what is the main problem that has to be overcome in Nigeria? 5. Do the figures about HIV in Nigeria correspond to what you found on the internet in the pre-reading exercise? 6. What role does it play that many people, e.g. teachers, have personal experiences with HIV or Aids? 7. Discuss the screen dump from the Shuga website. Does it strike you as particularly African or as international in its expression? Give reasons for your answer.

2. Make a thorough analysis of an episode of Shuga. See the ToolBox on lru.dk/ africaunfold for an analysis model. 3. In groups, make your own screen education campaign about HIV/Aids, directed at a young Danish audience. Be prepared to show and discuss it in class.

AFRICA UNFOLD 41

ASSIGNMENTS

CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

WORLD CUP 2010: NIGERIA, GHANA, IVORY COAST, CAMEROON AND SOUTH AFRICA – MY BOYS BY CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE, THE GUARDIAN, 11 JUNE 2010 See the presentation of the author on page 15.

PRE-READING 1. Memory game: Think of all the different football expressions that you know and write small cards with the words in Danish and English respectively. Play the game in groups of four. 2. Speed writing: Write for four minutes without stopping to think – even though some of it may be complete nonsense – about the topic "What does football mean to you?". 3. Afterwards, read what you have written to your neighbor and discuss the cultural, social or political values of football. Notice how Adichie broadens the perspective on football continuously through the article.

WORLD CUP 2010: NIGERIA, GHANA, IVORY COAST, CAMEROON AND SOUTH AFRICA – MY BOYS When the World Cup comes around, us Nigerians are Africans, too, writes Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. humid (adj) fugtig biased (adj) forudindtaget

42 AFRICA UNFOLD

O

n a humid Lagos night in July 1996, my family gathered around the television, all of us armed with hope: Nigeria was playing Argentina in the final game of the Atlanta Olympics. We shouted – "Go now, go go!" "What is he doing?" "Look at this stupid boy!"– and fell silent, by turns; we hoped and despaired; and we threw Igbo and English insults at the

bald referee who we were convinced was biased against Nigeria. The score was 3-2 for Nigeria and there were a few minutes left to go and I could no longer breathe properly. I wanted to fast-forward time, to leap into our victory because I feared that the longer we waited, the less likely it would come. But it came.

5

10


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

5

10

15

20

The shrill pee-pee-pee whistle went

Still, football nationalism, for many

shrill (adj) skinger

off. We had won gold.

of us, often expands past Nigeria,

re'live (vb) genopleve be'nign (adj) venligsindet

I remember feeling very light,

and into the rest of Africa. I do not ordinarily much care for football

hugging everyone, laughing,

or for excessive nationalism, but

con'tribute (vb) medvirke til

repeating the same things that

whenever Nigeria plays a major

vanquishing (sb) besejring

somebody else had just said. We hugged neighbours we did not like.

game, I find myself undergoing a transformation. I kick the air as I

ex'pand (vb) udbrede sig

We offered drinks and relived the

watch. I scream. I pray. I will the

game over and over. From the streets

universe to make us win.

came the sounds of car horns, of shouting, of singing.

And the idea of an ‘’us’’, a collective

What happened that night was an explosion of nationalism of a certain kind, a benign, forgiving, optimistic nationalism. We forgot about neighbours who stole our electricity wires and leaders who stole our oil money. We all became, for that moment, Nigerians who had contributed to the vanquishing of the world.

identity, becomes unquestionable. Sometimes the boundary of this identity widens, as it did during the 2006 World Cup when Nigeria did not qualify. And so, for one intense day while Ghana played the United States, I became Ghanaian. I watched with my Nigerian best friend Uju, hugging each other and dancing when Ghana finally won. "Some of our boys started playing this game without

ex'cessive (adj) overdreven un'questionable (adj) indiskutabel

AFRICA UNFOLD 43


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

cautious (adj) forsigtig de'fault position (sb) standardindstilling premise (sb) forudsætning una'dulterated (adj) uforfalsket, ublandet scrappy (adj) vilkårlig ca'thartic (adj) rensende

shoes," Uju said proudly. "Our boys"

sub-Saharan Africa is that football

were, of course, the Ghanaians.

victory presents a rare chance to

Thankfully, Nigeria qualified for this

feel an unadulterated pride. The scrappy nature of this pride makes it

year’s tournament. I will watch the

remarkable.

cautious optimism that is the default position of many Nigerians about our

Our football nationalism, then, symbolises a cathartic, even if

national team. (Our boys are good, we

fleeting, addressing of historical and

fleeting (adj) flygtig

like to say, but the management and

political grievances. It is a platform

grievance (sb) klagepunkt

organisation of our team is terrible.)

on which to stand and say that we may not be part of the G8 who decide

I would be thrilled if we win all our matches but I would not despair if we don’t, because I would then aim my hope, borne of an expanded nationalism, at our other boys, from Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and South Africa.

the fate of the world, we may always rank on the bottom of health and government and economic indexes, we may have crumbling institutions and infrastructure, but hey, we won by sheer talent and grit. And a lot of the boys started playing without shoes.

crumbling (adj) forfalden sheer (adj) ren og skær

ASSIGNMENTS

Football nationalism is not particular to Nigerians or Africans, indeed the idea of national games is based on the premise of national identities, but perhaps what is different about

COMPREHENSION AND ANALYSIS 1. What football match is Adichie’s starting point in her text? 2. Describe what this match means to her. 3. What is the difference between that and the 2006 World Cup? 4. According to Adichie, why is football nationalism particularly important in sub-Saharan Africa? 5. Discuss and explain the last sentence, "Now imagine what we could do if we all had shoes – literal and metaphorical – from the beginning."

44 AFRICA UNFOLD

5

Nigeria-Argentina match with that

10

15

20

Now imagine what we could do if we all had shoes – literal and metaphorical – from the beginning.

POST-READING 1. Search the internet for the latest status of the Nigerian national football team. 2. Find a definition of the term Naija, e.g. from the link on lru.dk/africaunfold. Discuss if we have a Danish equivalent. 3. Write an article to The Guardian in Nigeria, explaining what football nationalism means in Denmark.

25


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

Rasa BY CHRIS ABANI, 2000 Chris Abani (1966 -) was born in Afikbo, Nigeria. Being the son of a Nigerian Igbo father and a white English mother, he describes himself as an outsider in his homeland. At the age of 16 he published his first novel, a political thriller, for which he was sentenced six months in prison. After his release he continued his political activism as a novelist and playwright, suffering subsequent political persecution. He claims eventually to have been placed on death row, but friends bribed government officials for his release. Since then he has lived in exile in England and the USA, where he is now working as a professor and writer of novels and poetry. He has received several literary awards for his works, often depicting life in a politically troubled Nigeria. In his book of poetry, Kalakuta Republic (2000), he describes life in prison based on his personal experiences.

PRE-READING 1. Find information about Fela Anikulapo Kuti on the internet. On which charges was he imprisoned? 2. Word classes: Fill in the missing words below. NOUN

VERB

ADJECTIVE

honour death ridicule hot disturb

Note down the words in the poem related to music.

AFRICA UNFOLD 45


CHAPTER 2 – CULTURE NEW DEPARTURES

RASA For Fela Anikulapo Kuti grit (sb) rygrad (fig) literal (adj) faktuel rasa (sb) (sanskrit) juice, essence

A

regular. Nicknamed ‘Customer’,

riffed out a forlorn blues

he even renamed his house

condensing the walls into hot tears.

Kalakuta Republic, And we believed the notes wove

regular (sb) stamgæst conscience (sb) samvittighed ridicule (vb) latterliggøre

on the wind, disturbing evil’s sleep. to ridicule them, those despots

swollen (adj) opsvulmet

swollen by their putrescence.

riff out (vb) krænge sin sjæl ud i

He had a saxophone smuggled into jail and on some nights

for'lorn (adj) fortvivlet, ensom

ASSIGNMENTS

con'dense (vb) fortætte

ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION 1. Describe the atmosphere of the poem in three adjectives. 2. What are we told about the ‘he’? 3. Use the internet to find out why Fela Kuti renamed his house Kalakuta Republic. 4. What sort of music does he play? 5. What does the music mean to the other prisoners, the ‘we’? 6. Discuss the symbolic meaning of the music.

experienced rasa. There are nine rasas: love, laughter, rage, pathos, terror, disgust, heroism, wonder and tranquility." Discuss Abani’s choice of title. 10. What do you see as the main themes of the poem?

POST-READING

7. Analyse the music metaphors in the poem. 1. Listen to some Fela Kuti songs that you What is the vehicle, the tenor and the find on the internet. Discuss the value of ground (see ToolBox on lru.dk/africaunfold)? music as a political manifestation. 8. Choose one or two other metaphors that you 2. Make up a story about how you would smuggle a saxophone into a jail, as we analyse in the same way. hear it has been done in the poem. 9. In a note for the poem, Abani writes, 3. Read the text Fela Kuti fearlessly proved "It [the concept rasa] also refers to an emotional state; in music it is the soul of the human spirit is stronger than any performance. The fifth Veda [an ancient government by Remi Adekoya, page 131. and sacred Hindu text] describes rasa as a Compare the way the two authors, permanent mood experienced by the audience Chris Abani and Remi Adekoya, present conveyed only by a musician who has Fela Kuti. 46 AFRICA UNFOLD

5

of conscience,

despot (sb) tyran

pu'trescence (sb) koldbrand

themselves into a terror that carried

to honour the death

10


Africa Unfold er en døråbner til et nyt og moderne Vestafrika og tegner et nuanceret billede af Nigeria og Ghana i det 21. århundrede. Begge lande er tidligere britiske kolonier. Antologien introducerer mange unge engelsksprogede forfattere og medier og tilbyder en vifte af muligheder for tematisk arbejde, som vil udfordre elevernes verdenssyn og opfordre til refleksion. Africa Unfold er en grundbog til Engelsk A og B på de gymnasiale ungdomsuddannelser, tonet mod studieretninger med samfundsfag. Antologien er desuden velegnet til tværfagligt samarbejde med fag som historie, religion, musik, mediefag, tysk og fransk. Africa Unfold tager udgangspunkt i Nigeria. Områdets historiske og litteraturhistoriske forhold præsenteres i Setting the scene og efterfølges af temaopdelte kapitler under overskrifterne: • • • • • •

Culture – new departures Social changes – changing identities Power and money Migration Postcolonial perspectives Ghana

Teksterne i Africa Unfold ledsages af varierede arbejdsopgaver. Det tilhørende website lægger blandt andet op til inddragelse af film og indeholder ToolBoxes, der præsenterer forskellige arbejdsredskaber. Websitet giver endvidere adgang til et stort ressourcerum med idéer, temaer, links og forslag til videre læsning, herunder til SRP, AT og andre større opgaver. lru.dk/africaunfold

ISBN 978 8770 665 599

www.lru.dk

Profile for Alinea

Africa Unfold - Nigeria and Ghana into the 21st century  

- af Anne Hess Thaysen og Lise Debel Christensen

Africa Unfold - Nigeria and Ghana into the 21st century  

- af Anne Hess Thaysen og Lise Debel Christensen

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