Tuesday, 15 January 2008

In the Shadow of A Saint - Ken Wiwa

In this memoir, Ken Wiwa explores the legacy of his father, Ken Saro Wiwa, the environmental activist, most famous for his leadership of the Ogoni in Nigeria in their struggles against Shell which despoiled their land and is linked to violence against people and communities. Ken Saro Wiwa was executed in November 1995, which is what brought the struggles of the Ogoni into worldwide popular consciousness. Here, although Wiwa outlines his fathers' political battles, he talks more about what it is like to grow up in a political family and to feel your needs are subservient to your parent's political activism. He meets up with the families of Steve Biko and Nelson Mandela and with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese activist, herself the daughter of a political activist. Its a fascinating book, giving insights into family relationships, political legacies and the large contradictory country that is Nigeria.

2 comments:

gingatao said...

Ken Saro Wiwa was also an excellent writer and a great example of a writer living their principles. As for Shell and the situation in Nigeria, and their failure to act in any way to save his life and so on and the impact of the colonial days on modern Africa, and how come they still own the oil when they stole it in the first place, what possible ethical justification can there be for it, and so on, I must stop before I go apopolectic.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I had hoped that the book was going to be more in the line of your comment, gingatao. I was disappointed to find it more about Ken Wiwa than about his father