Monday, 30 August 2010

Nwoke'm e jighi beke awa oji

Kilamanjaro! Just got back from an outing with mumsy. A friend of hers had a christening and party for her grandchild. I haven't been in a room with that many Nigerians in a long long time!

My mum's friend is an interesting lady. She's from a place in Nigeria called Arochukwu very close to my mother's own hometown, and the former capital of an old political alliance called the Aro Confederacy. My mother's people, my people, were part of this alliance and fought the British at the turn of the twentieth century.

My feelings on the British expedition into Igboland are captured beautifully by Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart if you haven't read it yet, do so. It really is a wonderful piece of work. I was sympathetic to the protagonists' way of life, but Achebe would point out the ways in which change, at least from a contemporary perspective, improved the lot of the society's most vulnerable.

The Aro Confederacy achieved economic hegemony mainly via its control of the regional slave trade. So while I feel some kind of way about the British colonisation of Nigeria, I can't really say I'm sorry that the alliance is no more.

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