Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Independence of Convenience

Any nation can be summed up by what it remembers and forgets about its past. That is why in America the loudness that accompanies July 4th is matched only by the silence that follows January 1st, the day slavery was officially brought to an end. It’s not that the end of slavery has no meaning for Americans but that it is an occurrence that requires both moral and political effort to remember.

In Africa, one of the many casualties of cultural forgetting is the Day of Independence. Colonialism ended without leaving the world surprised for too long, just like the cold war. One day it was here, the next it wasn’t and the world trundled along nonchalantly. Besides the timid fireworks and flags fidgeting in the wind and looking strangely battered for being so new, there was not much to commemorate these independence of convenience. Not to beat around the bush, independence was a fiction that took place mainly in the heads of colonialists and anti-colonialists alike: a couple of imaginary conflicts, promised battles, and eventually a truce. That is why, apart from the fact that it’s a vacation day, Independence Day has very little significance in many African countries. It is not worth remembering, not because it is not a historical fact but because it represents a weird historical moment that no one can really make sense of.

For Nigeria, the 1st of October will mark 50 years. My question:  50 years of what?

Photo Credit: Top News

Tags: , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

4 Responses to “Independence of Convenience” Subscribe

  1. Boye 2010/09/30 at 20:21 #

    50 years of suffering and smiling.

  2. Mr. Gaskin 2010/12/06 at 22:32 #

    A very good question indeed.

  3. Levitra en pharmacie 2011/07/13 at 13:13 #

    pBvIPb As I have expected, the writer blurted out!

  4. click 2012/05/27 at 08:18 #

    How do you make your blog look this cool! Email me if you get the chance and share your wisdom. Id appreciate it.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Photos | Pages & Palette Hosts Reading of Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men in Abuja

Lives of Great Men - Frankie Edozien at Pages & Palette -- photo by Victor Adewale (9)

Last December, Abuja bookstore Pages & Palette hosted a reading of Chike Frankie Edozien’s memoir Lives of Great Men. Published […]

Mauritanian Blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir Has Now Been in Jail for 5 Years

mohamed mkhaitir

In December 2013, Mauritanian blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir wrote a blogpost criticizing his country’s government for using religion to discriminate against minorities. […]

Read Chapter One of Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities

an orchestra of minorities - graph

Chigozie Obioma’s second novel An Orchestra of Minorities was published this January. As part of The Summer Library’s “selected extracts from […]

Laila Lalami’s Fourth Novel, The Other Americans, Is a Family Saga, a Murder Mystery, and a Love Story

laila lalami - alchetron - graph

Laila Lalami’s new novel is forthcoming on 26 March 2019 from Pantheon, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The 320-page […]

Thursday’s Children: 11 Contributors to Forthcoming Anthology Discuss Experimentation and the Nature of Creative Nonfiction

thursday's children - graph

Thursday’s Children is a forthcoming anthology of personal essays. Co-edited by Adams Adeosun and Bello Damilare, it comes with an […]

Clickbait | Saddiq Dzukogi | Poetry

image by Esther Vargas from flickr

Inspired by the Western media coverage of the Dusit Hotel terror attack in Nairobi.   At the Dusit restaurant in […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.