‘Tell an African Story!’ Nnenna Ifeanyi-Ajufo’s First Draft

Academic and author of ‘Gender, Anti-Colonialism and Nationalism’, Nnenna Ifeanyi-Ajufo, believes it is important that Africans tell our own stories: ‘Look at Africa and the history of Africa. Academic writings about Africa are not largely written by Africans and this has allowed for a distortion of our history.’

First Draft is our interview column, featuring authors and other prominent figures on books, reading, and writing.

Our questions are italicized.

Editor’s note: This essay is available in print in our latest issue on African Revolutions and Revolutionaries. Buy the issue here.

What books or kinds of books did you read growing up?

Growing up, I read all kinds of books. Both parents loved reading and my dad totally enjoyed studying and schooling. He kept going back to school for one course or another. My parents had all kinds of books and my mum had so many novels. I remember reading her novels including Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities, Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine, Ibe Kachikwu’s Cocaine Connection, Flora Nwapa’s Efuru and Iduand many other novels at a very young age. I remember reading her George Orwell’s Animal Farm even before I went to secondary school. Most of the books we were asked to read in school, I read them at home, e.g., Wole Soyinka’s The Lion and the Jewel, Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God, Zulu Sofola’s Wedlock of the Gods, Ayi Kwei Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born, Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night etc. Sometimes I’d hide and read some of her novels especially the romance novels.

I...

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