Sunday, April 22, 2007

On Half of A Yellow Sun


I haven't been doing much leisure reading lately because I've been so busy but I finally found the time to pick up Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Adichie. I couldn't put it down once I started. I started it on a four hour plane ride from California back to Atlanta, and despite my exhaustion, continued reading after I got home at 11pm. I continued it during lunch at work the next day, and then finally finished it that night at about 1am. All in all, I think it took me a total of about 7 hours to read it. Then I went back to certain pages of the book to really soak some things in. It is truly a fantastic book and has really changed me. Since I put it down, not one day has passed by that I haven't thought about what the Biafran War means in the context of today's Nigeria. Especially with the elections going on right now as well.

What affected me so profoundly is that I realized that I know more about US and other world history to varying degrees but when it comes to Nigerian history, I truly know very little. I know very little about my own history. I didn't know that so many people died in such brutal ways, nor that people suffered and starved, nor that the reason Nigeria has had difficulty forming a national identity is steeped in such a bloody history. I came away from reading this book with such earnest feelings about wanting to know more and wanting to understand. I realized that I need to go back to the basics and to the beginning. Half of A Yellow Sun is without a doubt the best book that I have read in the last few years. It is an instant classic in my eyes because it is a book that fed my mind, touched my soul and will continue to have an effect on me. It has started a dialogue in my mind. I don't know Chimamanda Adichie, but I thank her for writing this book. She is my friend. If you haven't read it, be you Nigerian or not, get to it.

I left Nigeria to go to school in England at 12. I have never felt detached from home though but my knowledge about politics has been sketchy and general at best. As I've gotten older, and have become more conscious about social issues, going home every year has become less about partying and having a good time and more about surveying what's going on and trying to figure out what I can do to help make things better. I think for me, perhaps, taking a look back will help me figure out what my role is in helping to shape the future of Nigeria.

So as the new week starts and as the news starts to trickle in about who will lead Nigeria for the next few years, I encourage everyone to claim our history by learning about it, and using it as a bridge to building an understanding of why Nigeria and her people are the way WE are. Maybe that will be the key to a better future for us all.

So that's the end of my diatribe people. You all have a good week and stay blessed. To Biodun, thank you so much for the hookup to see Julius Agwu on Friday. I really needed to laugh. I hadn't slept in a week and I slept so well that night/morning. I'm so grateful. You're the bomb! I'm off to London next weekend to see the boo after a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGG time....LOL. I can't wait! Y'all pray for me. Peace.

14 comments:

Kafo said...

hmmm..
i'm with u on this
i mean i can tell you stories about most of the US prez. and how they got elected, how they lost, how they died but apart from Awolowo i have no clue about naija history.
Sad.
I must admit that when it comes to modern, or should i say current, politics i have abosolutely almost no desire and drive to become knowledge about naija politics.

the past YES
the present NO
the future HOPEFULLY SO

LondonBuki said...

Same thing here... After reading Half of a Yellow Sun, I couldn't believe so much had happened in the Biafra war. I can't remember being taught about it in primary or secondary school... when I read it and mentioned it to an Ibo friend of mine, he even told me more about it.

I can't believe the violence - like the baby being cut out of a pregnant woman's belly... why now? Such barbaric acts! And those people call themselves human!

Very good post, as always! And... woohoo!!!! Have a good good fantastic time with your man!!!

DiAmOnD hawk said...

it seems we're all taking turns going to london. anyways have fun with your man...

and i agree with u about Nigerian history... anyways im all for revamping the educational system in nigeria...

have a great week as well

Uzo said...

I love this book. I guess because my dad was alive during the civil war, i heard stories about the atrocities faced by Igbos and what my dad and his family went through.

Have fun in the UK

Pink-satin said...

i have read the book i couldnt put it down till i finished it but i really didnt like the book..i guess theyhad made so much noise about it b4 i read it..I liked purple hibiscus tho(pa Nnukwu was my fav character)

Jaycee said...

Coming this may in movie theaters near you..."Jaycee finally gets to read Half of a Yellow Sun."

bhookey84 said...

yes it was a greattttt boook, i sooo concur!

zaiprincesa said...

bout time u updated..lol..

I LOOVE THIS BOOK!!!...am waiting a few months to read it all over again..lol..yes, im that pressed!...

Have a blessed week, mami!

TaureanMinx said...

Enjoy the trip!

Inuke Omotola Davis said...

I havent read the book yet. Maybe i'll get to it by summer.

Olubusola said...

Half of a yellow sun left me absolutely speechless. I had no idea things like that happened in my country. I am yoruba but have always felt that I was Ibo in a past life. The red earth of Ibo land calls me. Everytime I go to the east, it's like home.

After reading the book, I felt cut off from my own. I did not know our history. My children will know.

?the blogger formerly known as Tinks

Naijalove said...

One of the best books I've ever read. This is a dark past of Nigerian history and understanding it is very crucial to understand the present ethnic relations in Nigeria. We will never be one Naija until we acknowledge it.

stuck in my throat o said...

I went book buying on saturday. I bgought "yellow yellow","26a","half of a yellow sun" and "Unbridled". All Nigerian. I am proud of my people.

Overwhelmed Naija Babe said...

k i need to read this book cos it seems like i'm the only one who hasn't ... have a fun fun time with your man and abeg mami.. update!