Content

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Confessions of a Bookaholic

I didn't grow up reading Nigerian literature. In fact, with exception of The Famished Road by Ben Okri, which I read part way when I was 14, and The Gods are not to Blame by Ola Rotimi  probably around that same time, Nigerian literature wasn't a staple in my life. I didn't really get into it until I was 19 and it only happened because I wanted to learn more about my culture.


If I'm honest the first Nigerian book I read, wasn't even written by a Nigerian. It was Our Wife and Other Stories written by Karen King-Aribisala but as a child of a "Nigerwife" (foreign wife of a Nigerian) I find it interesting that that was the first book I decided to read. Our Wife is a collection of short stories about female immigrants (European and Caribbean) in Nigeria who feel like outsiders. There are also stories about Nigerians who marry into a different culture from theirs and also have to battle with cultural alienation and clashes. 


It was then my love affair with Nigerian literature began.  I read any and everything that could teach me about Nigeria. The books I read introduced me to a Nigeria I never knew or was exposed to. This is one of the many reasons why I love Nigerian literature, it helped me during a time when I was struggling with my identity to really understand and grasp it.


I am so glad I made that decision when I was 19 to discover my heritage and that books in their own way helped me through it. I'm still learning and like anyone who likes to learn I didn't want my knowledge to stop at only Nigeria. I also wanted to know more about Africa and other African countries - the history, the culture, everything. That is how I started another love affair with African literature. The one thing I am still clueless about is my Hausa heritage, but the same way books taught me about Nigeria is the same way they are teaching me about Hausa culture.

2 comments:

  1. This sounds like a really interesting book and I am going to have to add it to my wish list, thanks!

    Additionally, that is a great reason to start reading Nigerian literature. For me it was trying to learn more about the culture too, though it isn't my own.

    I've not read much by Hausa authors or about Hausa culture either, must try to remedy that :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're welcome :). It's a really good read.

    I might be slightly biased but Hausa culture is really beautiful. When it comes to Hausa literature I know there's a lot written in the Hausa language but I am trying to compile a list of books that were/are either written in English or translated.

    ReplyDelete

  

Powered by Blogger.