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Researching the Context of ‘Purple Hibiscus’ Slides prepared by 12 English Advanced, Auckland Girls Grammar School, 2011 Locations mentioned in the novel Enugu Nsukka Abba NSUKKA • Nsukka is a town in South-East Nigeria • Population (2006 Census) 309,633 • Nsukka is home to the igbo tribe Differences between North and South Nigeria • Cultural differences between North and South Nigeria. • The people of North Nigeria were mostly Muslim • People of South Nigeria were predominantly Christian. • All governments since independence had been controlled by northerners - the 1999 elections were the first to elect a southerner. Some southern Christian people resented this domination. • There have been religious riots in the north started by a dissident sect of Muslims, and numerous riots and disturbances between the majority Muslims in the north and the Christians - mostly immigrants from the south. These seem to be increasingly frequent and more violent. Oil pollution in the Niger Delta has deprived tens of millions of people from their most fundamental right to food, water, and health. Environmental degradation in the delta where about 31 million people live. People who live in this region have to drink polluted water, as well as cook and wash their clothes with the dirty water. When they have a chance to catch some, these people eat fish contaminated by oil and other toxins. The poverty of the people, in contrast with the wealth generated by oil, has become one of the most absolute and disturbing proofs of how a natural resource can be transformed into evil, according to the group •Nigeria’s economy is largely driven by their exports of petroleum and natural gas which provide the country with a large part of their GDP. •However since the economic reform of 2005 they have been trying to diversify their exporting trade by moving into other sectors such as mineral resources and agriculture. •In 2009 their main exports included oil, cocoa and timber with Nigeria’s largest trading partners being the United Kingdom and America. •The amount of money received from exports has been increasing steadily •Nigeria’s GDP in 2009 was at $173 Billion (US Dollars) as compared to New Zealand’s at $126.68 Billion. •However despite this in 2010 the poverty rate of Nigeria was up to 70% showing how large the gap between rich and the poor is in developing countries, there is no even distribution of wealth. •In New Zealand our percentage of poverty is at 8%, which, as a developed country, still leaves much room for improvement. •Despite the large GDP 70% of Nigerians are still involved with agriculture, generally as subsistence farmers. Chelsea and Gina Political situation in Nigeria •General Sani Abacha was the military dictator of Nigeria from 17 November 1993 to 8 June 1998, when he died suddenly of a heart attack. • Abacha was close to the central power base of successive military governments in the coastal West African nation of Nigeria, and finally assumed power himself through a coup in November 1993. •While continuing to assert his intention to bring democratic civilian rule to Nigeria, Abacha was criticised by prominent Nigerian democracy campaigners, human rights advocates, civil rights lawyers, and world-renowned authors. These critics doubted his sincerity and commitment after 11 straight years of virtually uninterrupted military rule in Nigeria, all accompanied by promises made by other dictators for a return to democracy. In 1995, Abacha announced a three-year program of transition to civilian rule. On March 1, 1995 there was an attempted coup by Lawan Gwadabe. Also suspected as part of this coup were Olusegun Obasanjo and Shehu Musa Yar'Adua (recent Nigerian Prime ministers). They were sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment for this. •Reign: July 29, 1966 - July 25, 1975 •Lieutenant-Colonel Yakubu Gowon became head of the Federal Military Government and Supreme Commander of the Armed forces on August, 1966. •At 32 he was Africa's youngest head of state. •He was the son of a missionary •He was a keen hockey player and took part in competitive athletics including soccer and boxing. •His other hobbies include cinematography and bird watching. •On 30 May 1967, Gowon declared the formal withdrawal of the Eastern Region, which was now to be known as the Republic of Biafra. •This was to trigger a war that would last 30 months, and see the deaths of more than 100,000 soldiers. Nigeria’s Human Rights Record Human Rights in Nigeria Police continued to violate a variety of human rights. Examples include unlawful killings, torture and enforced disappearances. Prisoners were kept in very brutal conditions. The government attempted to exploit journalists and human rights activists by harassing, bribing and threatening them. Cases • Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti: A notable human rights activist, doctor, and chairman of Campaign for Democracy (CD), who was victimised by Nigerian military dictators. His family has also been affected by his protesting and have been illegally and inhumanly treated. He was imprisoned for 15 years but was released in June 1998. • Hafsaf Abiola: Another more recent Nigerian human rights activist who promotes democracy in Nigeria. She is the one of the daughters of Moshood Abiola, who was the late President-elect imprisoned by the dictator of the time, Gen Sani Abacha. In 1996, Abiola’s mother was murdered during a plea to release her husband. Nwankiti Ogechi = Ken Saro-Wiwa • “Soldiers shot Nwankiti Ogechi in a bush in Minna. And then they poured acid on his body to melt his flesh off his bones, to kill him even he was already dead…[he was] referred to…as “a man of honour” (p. 200-201). • Ken Saro-Wiwa was a famous Nigerian author, television producer and president of the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), which defended environmental and human rights for Ogoni people that live in Nigeria. • Similar to Ogechi, Saro-Wiwa was a martyr protecting his people from the military government’s unjust treatment and human rights violations. • On November 10, 1995 Saro-Wiwa was hanged for merely attempting to bring freedom his people and environmental protection. Igbo people are mostly farmers and the yam is a staple The native, traditional religion of the Igbo food in their lives. They even have a festival for yams! people is known as Odinani – although after colonisation many people became Christian. In Wrestling is the most popular sport amongst boys and Igbo mythology the supreme God is called young men, the other popular sport is soccer. Carving Chukwu which means “great spirit”. The is a skilled occupation practiced only by men, though universe is divided into four sections: Okike (creation), Alusi (supernatural), Mmuo (spirit) women also practice many other crafts such as pottery and Uwa (world). making, spinning, weaving, basketry, grass plaiting. By Emma M, Camille and Ropa Mmanwu is the name for traditional masquerades in Igbo culture. It is a major form of entertainment, and Kambili and Jaja visit one with Aunty Ifeoma in Purple Hibiscus. The practice originally evolved from the Igbo people worshipping their traditional gods, which is why Papa would not be happy if he had Igbo [EE-bo] people inhabit south-eastern Nigeria. Igbo is known that they went to a masquerade. The the second largest group of people living in southern spirits are embodiments of the dead who have Nigeria. Population – 5.5 million approximately. European risen again. contact with the Igbo began with the arrival of the Portuguese in the mid-1600s. Igbo language Igbo phrases By Emma M, Camille and Ropa Kedu – Hi, hello Ka omesia – Goodbye The Igbo language is spoken by the Igbo people. There are Biko – Please over twenty different dialects, and it is written with the same Daalu / Imela – Thank you Latin alphabet that we use, but pronounced differently. It is Nne / Nna – Mother / Father also a tonal language, with high, mid and low ranges, and it Nwanne – Brother or sister includes accented characters. Gini bu afa gi? – What is your name? Afam bu ... – My name is ... Fufu recipe! Potato flakes, butter, salt, pepper, cream, water. 1. Bring about 2 – 4 cups of water to boil in a large pot. 2. If you are using cream of wheat, add about 1 – 2 cups of the cream of wheat into the boiling water and stir. This leaves a thick pasty mixture. 3. Add 1 – 2 tablespoonful of butter or margarine. 4. Add 2 – 4 cups of potato flakes and stir continuously. You can add hot water to the mix to achieve your desired texture. 5. You may sprinkle very small amount of salt in to taste here if desired. 6. Continue to stir until you get a smooth dough. 7. The dough is rolled into balls and served with desired soup. Religion in Nigeria By Chelsea King, Charlotte Crick-Friesen and Tessa Kirkland •The country has a dominant Muslim North, a mixed Christian and Muslim South West, and a Christian South. •In 1963 47% of Nigerians were Muslim, 35% Christian and 18% were members of local indigenous congregations. •In 2009 Islam made up 50.4% and Christianity made up 48.2% of the population with other religions making up the remaining 1.4%. (Judaism, Hinduism and indigenous religions.) National Church of Nigeria Influence of Religion on society • Major congregations of the larger Anglican and Roman Catholic missions represented elite families of their respective areas. • All major public centres had areas put aside for churches or mosques. Society in general has more gradually and selectively expanded to accommodate new influences, it is fairly certain that they will • Inter-ethnic conflict continue to assert their distinctive cultural was said to be caused identity in creative and often ingenious ways". by religion e.g there - Cultural Survival (Publications):The Texture were riots against Igbo of Change in 1953 Missionaries in Nigeria • Came to Africa in the 1840s but their mission failed, however they returned in the 1850s and were more successful. • They targeted Nigeria after their success abolishing the slave • Missionaries made good use of freed trade to convert natives slaves and other people in and discover natural evangelising Nigeria. This is portrayed resources. in ‘Things Fall Apart’ by Chinua • For many Nigerians Achebe, the missionaries use village missionaries were the converts to encourage more tribe first Europeans with members to join the church. whom they came into contact. Role Of Women Equality The role of women in Nigeria is greatly affected by religious views. The three main religions are Christianity, Islam and Igbo. In All three women are considered second to men and have to be submissive to their husbands. Marriage is considered important, and the success of marriage relies on the women to prevent a “disgraceful” divorce. Polygamy is allowed by Islam and Igbo religions for men whereas for women its shameful to even speak about sex. Women are used for sex at their husbands demand and cannot even use a female condom without permission. Rape, female mutilation and child marriages are still widespread. Colonisation & Women’s Rights In pre-colonial times women in Nigeria were workers alongside men in trades. Women who depended on their husbands were regarded with contempt. At this time women were considered free adults by law although there were restrictions in place for example women could not inherit land. During the colonial period education changed to teach women to be good housewives unlike before when some even provided for whole families. Policies in this time were clearly biased against women. In the post colonial period women again came into the workforce. In the South especially women started to gain status and power. Although in the North they were still denied the right to vote. Nigerian History in a nutshell Slave Trade in Nigeria. Slavery in northern Nigeria was abolished in 1936. • The first Europeans to trade slaves in Nigeria were the The slave trade that was Portuguese and Spaniard established was to the explorers. detriment and occasionally profit of many Nigerian ethnicities. Colonial history • In many ways, Nigeria has a unique Colonial history. Perhaps more than in any other colonial project, missionaries were used to their utmost effectiveness. • After their success in fighting for the abolition of the Slave Trade, they targeted Nigeria with a dual purpose - to convert the natives and to discover natural resources which could be traded as a substitute for slaves. Britain 4 Nigeria 4eva! x0x Biographical info on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Growing Up Adichie • Adichie was born in Nigeria on September 15, 1977. • She was born in the town of Enugu but grew up in Nsukka. • She is from an upper middle class Nigerian family. • Her novels are all set in Nigeria, because this is the place she is most familiar with. What real life parallels are there between the author’s life and Kambili’s? • In Purple Hibiscus, Kambili visits her aunty Ifeoma who lives in the same town Adichie grew up in. • Ifeoma worked at the university like Adichie’s parents. Ifeoma’s character was modelled on the author’s mother. • Adichie grew up under a repressive political regime in Nigeria. She experienced hardships / food shortages. • Adichie’s personality is far more similar to Amaka’s than Kambili’s. • Kambili Achike’s name is similar to Chimamanda Adichie.
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