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The Education of A British-Protected Child by Chinua Achebe

The Education of A British Protected ChildThe name Chinua Achebe resonates around the world for his work of literature. His debut novel, Things Fall Apart, has remained a jewel of African literature for over 50 years.  The Education of A British-Protected Child is a collection of profound and mind stimulating essays in which Achebe reflects on the different experiences he has had on his life’s journey. From the title essay, Achebe delves into life as a British-Protected person living in Nigeria before independence. He makes known his views on colonialism as he writes, “In my view, it is a gross crime for anyone to impose himself on another, to seize his land and his history, and then to compound this by making out that the victim is some kind of ward or minor requiring protection.”

In the Sweet Aroma of Zik’s Kitchen, Achebe aptly puts the birth of politics in Nigeria across and you see firsthand that it has always been a muddy affair.  While in What is Nigeria To Me? – one of the post powerful essay in the collection, Achebe examines his frosty relationship with his country of birth as we learn that at just 6-years-old, Nigeria’s disastrous sequence of coup d’états had started, leading to the devastating Biafra war. It is an experience, which makes him assert that being “Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting.” Achebe goes on to discuss the issues of race, racism and identity as he begins to travel the world and experience life in other African and western countries. In Africa Is people, the last and most poignant piece, Achebe discusses Africa’s economic standing to the west, decisions made by outside forces and African leaders, which continuously circumvent and siphon the wealth away from the African people. He would once again remind us of the humanity that shines through his work. This selection of luminous essays saturated with humour once again reaffirms why Achebe is highly regarded and celebrated for his approach to both African and world issues.

The Education of A British-Protected Child is published by Allen Lane


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