Brendon Nicholls and his reading of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s “Sozaboy”

Dr. Brendon Nicholls, lecturer in African and Postcolonial literatures at the University of Leeds
Brendon Nicholls, lecturer in African and Postcolonial literatures at the University of Leeds

Finding Africa considers itself fortunate to have had its first seminar inaugurated by Brendon Nicholls and his insightful new reading of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Sozaboy. In bringing together a consideration of environment, psyche and objects, Nicholls was able to argue for the existence, in the text, of an embedded environmental consciousness. The significance of his reading is twofold in its relation to Ken Saro-Wiwa as an activist and figure of resistance, and in respect to Kleinian Object Relations and their applicability to postcolonial African texts.

On the 10 of November 1995 Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged by his government along with eight other members of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP). Sara-Wiwa’s activism had at its heart a concern for his Ogoni people, which in turn led him to lead a protest against the environmental damage to Ogoni lands carried out by the Shell oil company. In what has been considered a landmark victory against global exploitation, Saro-Wiwa’s campaign successfully managed to kick Shell out of the Ogoni region in 1993. The circumstances of Saro-Wiwa’s execution two years later have left little doubt regarding the government’s complicity with corporate exploitation and the price one pays for taking a stand against it. Continue reading

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