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.