Noo Saro-Wiwa was brought up in England, but every summer she was dragged back to visit her father in Nigeria -- a country she viewed as an annoying parallel universe where she had to relinquish all her creature comforts and sense of individuality. After her father, activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, was killed there, she didn’t return for several years. Recently, she decided to come to terms with the country her father given his life for. Saro-Wiwa travels from the exuberant chaos of Lagos to the calm beauty of the eastern mountains; from the eccentricity of a Nigerian dog show to the decrepit kitsch of the Transwonderland Amusement Park. She explores Nigerian Christianity, delves into the country’s history of slavery, examines the corrupting effect of oil, and ponders the huge success of Nollywood. She finds the country as exasperating as ever, and frequently despairs at the corruption and inefficiency she encounters. But she also discovers that it si far more beautiful and varied than she had ever imagined, with its captivating thick tropical rainforest and ancient palaces and monuments. Most engagingly of all, she introduces us to the many people she meets, and gives us hilarious insights into the African character, its passion, wit and ingenuity.
Singing Anthill by Ken Saro-Wiwa
Publication Date: 2000-09-01
The folk tales reflect the occupations of the Ogoni - fishing, farming and hunting; and give insight into the customs and observances of their society. Their penchant for satire and the comic are displayed, together with the values of their civilization. The centre of most of the stories is Kuru, the Tortoise, known for his cunning and wisdom, who recognises the supreme intelligence of the oracle.
In the 150 years since the birth of the petroleum industry oil has saturated our culture, fueling our cars and wars, our economy and policies. But just as thoroughly, culture saturates oil. So what exactly is "oil culture"? This book pursues an answer through petrocapitalism's history in literature, film, fine art, wartime propaganda, and museum displays. Investigating cultural discourses that have taken shape around oil, these essays compose the first sustained attempt to understand how petroleum has suffused the Western imagination. The contributors to this volume examine the oil culture nexus, beginning with the whale oil culture it replaced and analyzing literature and films such as Giant, Sundown, Bernardo Bertolucci's La Via del Petrolio, and Ben Okri's "What the Tapster Saw"; corporate art, museum installations, and contemporary photography; and in apocalyptic visions of environmental disaster and science fiction. By considering oil as both a natural resource and a trope, the authors show how oil's dominance is part of culture rather than an economic or physical necessity. Oil Culture sees beyond oil capitalism to alternative modes of energy production and consumption. Contributors: Georgiana Banita, U of Bamberg; Frederick Buell, Queens College; Gerry Canavan, Marquette U; Melanie Doherty, Wesleyan College; Sarah Frohardt-Lane, Ripon College, Matthew T. Huber, Syracuse U; Dolly Jørgensen, Umeå U; Stephanie LeMenager, U of Oregon; Hanna Musiol, Northeastern U; Chad H. Parker, U of Louisiana at Lafayette; Ruth Salvaggio, U of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Heidi Scott, Florida International U; Imre Szeman, U of Alberta; Michael Watts, U of California, Berkeley; Jennifer Wenzel, Columbia University; Sheena Wilson, U of Alberta; Rochelle Raineri Zuck, U of Minnesota Duluth; Catherine Zuromskis, U of New Mexico.
At first glance, the remote villages of the Kabre people of northern Togo appear to have all the trappings of a classic "out of the way" African culture—subsistence farming, straw-roofed houses, and rituals to the spirits and ancestors. Arguing that village life is in fact an effect of the modern and the global, Charles Piot suggests that Kabre culture is shaped as much by colonial and postcolonial history as by anything "indigenous" or local. Through analyses of everyday and ceremonial social practices, Piot illustrates the intertwining of modernity with tradition and of the local with the national and global. In a striking example of the appropriation of tradition by the state, Togo's Kabre president regularly flies to the region in his helicopter to witness male initiation ceremonies. Confounding both anthropological theorizations and the State Department's stereotyped images of African village life, Remotely Global aims to rethink Euroamerican theories that fail to come to terms with the fluidity of everyday relations in a society where persons and things are forever in motion.
When Nigeria hosted the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977, it celebrated a global vision of black nationhood and citizenship animated by the exuberance of its recent oil boom. Andrew Apter's The Pan-African Nation tells the full story of this cultural extravaganza, from Nigeria's spectacular rebirth as a rapidly developing petro-state to its dramatic demise when the boom went bust. According to Apter, FESTAC expanded the horizons of blackness in Nigeria to mirror the global circuits of its economy. By showcasing masks, dances, images, and souvenirs from its many diverse ethnic groups, Nigeria forged a new national culture. In the grandeur of this oil-fed confidence, the nation subsumed all black and African cultures within its empire of cultural signs and erased its colonial legacies from collective memory. As the oil economy collapsed, however, cultural signs became unstable, contributing to rampant violence and dissimulation. The Pan-African Nation unpacks FESTAC as a historically situated mirror of production in Nigeria. More broadly, it points towards a critique of the political economy of the sign in postcolonial Africa.