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Short Stories > "Africa Kills Her Sun" by Ken Saro-Wiwa

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message 1: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 5717 comments The next story up for discussion today is "Africa Kills Her Sun" by Ken Saro-Wiwa. You can find it in our anthology, The Art of the Story: An International Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories on page 519.

The following information is the first paragraph of an article about Saro-Wiwa from the Books and Writers page at
It would be worth your time to read the entire article:

Nigerian television producer, writer of satirical novels, children's tales, and plays. In 1994 Saro-Wiwa was imprisoned by order of the dictator Sani Abacha. He had strongly defended the rights of the Ogoni people and criticized the government's oil policy with Royal Dutch/Shell. Despite wide international protests, Saro-Wiwa was hanged after a show trial with other eight Ogoni rights activists in Port Harcourt, on November 10, 1995.

message 2: by Barbara (new)

Barbara | 5717 comments This story is described in articles about Saro-Wiwa as a satirical piece on the effects of graft and corruption in Nigeria which accurately predicted the author's own death. As I read it, I kept thinking about the Nigerian parents of a child in my classroom. They are citizens of the U.S. now but the mother wanted to go back and visit. The father thought she was crazy and was having none of it. Every time I read about Nigeria, I think of him.

It was interesting to me that, though Saro-Wiwa is making a political point here, he makes Bana so imperfect. Or, maybe that is only my reaction. His main theme, that his crimes were nothing compared to the crimes of those in power, is valid. And, yet, his self-importance and frequent use of "Cool" and "See?" made him feel so vulnerable.

I was shocked when I read about Saro-Wiwa after reading the story. And, I was even more shocked that I didn't know of this situation before. How could such a thing happen without more international reaction? But, maybe, I just had my head in the sand. Did anyone else here know about what happened to him?

message 3: by Hazel (new)

Hazel | 363 comments We know of Saro-Wiwa here in the UK, but African politics hardly makes the news in the West, isn't that so? And of course, oil interests are very powerful. I think his son's memoir In the Shadow of a Saint: A Son's Journey to Understand His Father's Legacy was highly recommended.

message 4: by Barbara (last edited May 01, 2011 10:15AM) (new)

Barbara | 5717 comments African politics are covered in the U.S. but very lightly. The only in-depth articles are in magazines, not newspapers, and they are few and far between. I think the political news from African countries has been negative for so long that people just expect it. I'm sure someone will blast me for the perceived cynicism of that statement but I'm talking about perception, not reality. We visited Morocco a number of years ago and, though that is in the very north of Africa, it made me more interested in the whole continent. I'm also wondering if my lack of awareness of Saro-Wiwa speaks to my own ignorance and not others in the U.S.

I've saved the title of the book by Saro-Wiwa's son and would definitely like to read it. Thanks for linking to it, Hazel.

message 5: by Hazel (new)

Hazel | 363 comments I'd be glad to hear your thoughts, if you do read it, Barbara.

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Books mentioned in this topic

The Art of the Story: An International Anthology of Contemporary Short Stories (other topics)
In the Shadow of a Saint: A Son's Journey to Understand His Father's Legacy (other topics)