Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Education of a British-Protected Child


I recently read Chinua Achebe’s memoir; “the Education of a British Protected Child”. The book resonated with me especially because of its focus on identity, culture, family, Nigerian and African politics and the relevance of the events he depicted  to current events. Of course the author brings his own narrative and views; yet this does not colour the essence of what he says.
In “What is Nigeria to me”, he breaks down his identity as a Nigerian and the optimism that greeted Nigeria’s independence. He recalled; “travelling as a Nigerian was exciting, people listened to us. Our money was worth more than the dollar".  Though he experienced racism in North Rhodesia (Zambia). His retort to the ticket collector that “by the way, in Nigeria we sit where we like in the bus” was an aha moment in understanding race relations at that time.  His conclusion-“being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting"- captures the frustration and feeling I experience as a Nigerian. 
In the following chapter, “Travelling White", he examines racism in Africa. The subjugation Africans suffered on their land may explain the resentment towards White Africans. But do two wrongs make a right?
In the final story Achebe continues on the theme of white racism, how the narrative has been controlled and how black people view themselves with the lenses of former oppressors. He noted the almost equal relationship that existed pre-slavery (Walter Guyana also documented how developed Africa was before slavery in “How Europe Underdeveloped Africa”). My take is that as Africans, we have to develop ourselves and shape our own stories. Like the Yoruba proverb goes “if the in-house murderer does not kill  one, the one outside would not succeed.  Who are we? What do we want for ourselves? Obviously, we have lost years to slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Our destiny is in our hands. Are we taking it?
Though the book has repetitive stories, I recommend the book as a good read and as a teaser, enjoy these three chapters


  1. His fiction is very different, especially Things Fall Apart which is sometimes considered drier than his other fiction works, but I still like them. Looking forward to your thoughts, eventually. more information Web Site

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