Fifty Years After the Nigerian Civil War: Lessons from Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun
Keywords:Nigerian Civil War; ethnic stereotypes; post-war generations; Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Half of a Yellow Sun
Nigerian Civil War literature has become a veritable medium for stocktaking and appraisals. Numerous novels in this subgenre have been examined in terms of the causes of the civil war and its implications for different facets of Nigeria. This study aims to project the major lessons and the correctives demonstrated in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. We argue that 50 years after the civil war, the factors that necessitated the war, namely, a corrupt elite, tribal sentiments, political patronage, the loss of social and moral values, a faulty political structure/lopsided federalism, internecine conflicts, the reign of terror and lawlessness, interethnic tensions, the posturing for power by the three major ethnic groups, the struggle for survival and self-assertion by the minorities, etc., are still visible and pervasive in the country. These socio-political factors are depicted through Adichie’s use of symbols and metaphors. However, Half of a Yellow Sun demonstrates how the metaphorical broken bridges of Nigeria may be rebuilt to reconnect the various indigenous peoples across the country. The novelist does this by undermining tribal/ethnic stereotypes and foregrounding the relevance of preserving and instilling a good sense of history in post-war generations. Thus, she uses her story to humanise her audience.
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