Exploring the Breath, Range, Character, Scope and Reception of Cyprian Ekwensi’s Writings


Ekwensi one of Africa’s most productive essayists who passed on before the end of last year and was covered early this year, kept an energetic composing movement for the duration of his life, distributing an assortment of short stories, Cash On Delivery, his last work of fiction and finishing work on his diaries, named, In My Time for quite a long while on to his demise. With more than twenty books, assortments of stories and short books to his name, Ekwensi’s topical distraction similarly covered the Nigerian Civil War from the point of view of a writer and life in a peaceful Fulani setting in Northern Nigeria.

Ekwensi’s initially distributed work was the novella, When Love Whispers, distributed in 1948, ten years before the incomparable African tale, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, showed up in London. He was roused by distress over his ineffective endeavor to court a young lady whose father demanded that she makes a marriage of comfort to compose it. This short, light sentiment shaped piece of what got known as the Onitsha Market school of raw fiction, and its prosperity motivated Ekwensi to proceed in that equivalent mode.

Ekwensi had just separated himself by the few short stories he had composed for communicated on radio. These he later set up, inside ten days, while on his approach to Chelsea School of Pharmacy, London, to understand his first novel, People of the City, which Nigeria’s chief paper, The Daily Times, distributed in portions before it showed up in book structure in 1954. in any case, which was not distributed in the United States until 15 years after the fact. Individuals of the City (1954) was the primary West African epic in present day style English to be distributed in England. It’s distribution along these lines denoted a significant improvement in African writing with Ekwensi getting one of the principal African authors to get a lot of openness in the West and in the long run the most productive African writer.

The way that Cyprian Ekwensi began his composing vocation as a pamphleteer is reflected in the verbose idea of People of the City (1954) an assortment of stories hung together yet perusing like a novel, in which he gives an energetic picture of the quick moving life in a West African city, Lagos. Individuals of the City which relates the coming to political attention to a youthful journalist and band pioneer in an arising African nation is loaded up with his running editorial on the issues of pay off and defilement and dictatorship perplexing such states. In it and a few others, Gossipfunda the bait, excites and difficulties of metropolitan life, and the outrageous leniency and unoriginal connections saturating the existences of travelers to the city, where close-ties typically cultivated by the more distant family arrangement of their conventional social orders comprise a genuine keep an eye on the freak ways of life that discover full articulation in the city.

As indicated by, Bernth Lindfors, none of Ekwensi’s various works is completely liberated from unprofessional blotchs and botches. Lindfors accordingly infers that he was unable to call any “the workmanship of a cautious, talented expert.” On his depiction of the ethical flightiness in city life, Bernth Lindfors, contended that “since his evil courageous women ordinarily arrive at terrible closures, Ekwensi can be seen as a genuine moralist whose books offer guidance in righteousness by showing the heartbreaking outcomes of bad habit. In any case, it generally appears as though he is more keen on the bad habit than in the temperance and that he expects to stimulate just as educate.” While this view might be challenged, it is irrefutable that he generally endeavored hard to contact his crowd in the most prompt and private style. In reality, it was to keep up this that he clung to those topics that managed the cost of him the mass readership he such a lot of needed

In a 1972 meeting by Lewis Nkosi, Ekwensi characterized his part as essayist consequently: “I think I am an author who sees himself as an essayist for the general population. I don’t consider myself an abstract beautician: if my style comes, that is simply coincidental, however I am more keen on getting at the core of reality which the man in the road can perceive than in turning words.”

Ernest Emenyonu, a Nigerian pundit noted for his compassion towards Ekwensi, charges that Ekwensi “has never been effectively surveyed as an author.”

Another thoughtful critic,the long-standing American believer to the investigation of African Literature, Charles Larson, portrays him as quite possibly the most productive African authors of the 20th century. As indicated by Larson, Ekwensi “is likely the most broadly perused writer in Nigeria- – maybe even in West Africa- – by perusers whose artistic tastes have not been presented to the more unpredictable works of Chinua Achebe and other more gifted African authors.”

Kole Omotoso past President of Nigerian Association of Authors and Drama educator at University of Ibadan admitted a long lasting interest with him subsequent to perusing his novelette The Yaba Round about Murder as a youngster, for, as he admits, it showed him the significance of room recorded as a hard copy fiction. Omotoso proceeds to express that Ekwensi’s significant significance in Nigerian composing is on the grounds that he put stock in himself and ’caused us to have confidence in ourselves.’ The container Africanist inclination of his works and his distributions being generally in Nigeria were discovered exemplary. At the point when numerous other African essayists were in self-banish, he decided to stay in his local country, as opposed to live abroad where distributing openings are more bountiful.

While a few researchers limited Ekwensi’s books, others esteemed their social authenticity. Charles R. Larson put his work in chronicled viewpoint: “Nearby tone is their strong point, regardless of whether it be Ekwensi’s city of disarray, Lagos, or Onitsha … ; the Nigerian peruser is set without precedent for a point of view which has been beforehand neglected in African fiction.”

Setting Ekwensi’s work immovably in the well known phrase, Douglas Killam clarified their significance: “Mainstream fiction is consistently huge as demonstrating current famous interests and ethical quality. Ekwensi’s work is reclaimed (albeit not saved as craftsmanship) by his genuine worry with the ethical issues which advise contemporary Nigerian life. As such they will consistently be applicable to Nigerian artistic history and to Nigerian custom.”

Ekwensi recounted stories that, similar to all around cooked onugbu (unpleasant leaf) soup, left a wonderful after-supper tang on the sense of taste. Through his works Ekwensi disclosed to us that a work of fiction doesn’t merit that decent name in the event that it doesn’t from the outset sight-…- capture the peruser like a cop’s handcuffs….. I read a considerable lot of Ekwensi’s books, and put something aside for ‘The Drummer Boy’, which was a suggested text when I was in junior auxiliary school in Plateau State, the others were perused on the grounds that they are what an eager for book soul needs for food. Who can, having been started into the faction of Ekwensi, fail to remember the vengeance driven Mallam Iliya, the sokugo-stricken Mai Sunsaye, the skirt-besotted Amusa Sango, the awkward beauty, Jagua Nana (they don’t make ladies like that any more, regardless of whether in fiction, on the TV, and presumably, in actuality); and the awful Ngozi and brave Pedro? They are my companions forever.

Ekwensi did substantially more than make ‘air terminal spine chillers’. He recounted incredible stories that live on in the hearts of all who experienced them. ( Henry Chukwuemeka Onyeama a Lagos-based author and educator)

An Ibo, as Chinua Achebe, Ekwensi was brought into the world in 1921 in Minna, Niger State, in Northern Nigeria, yet went to auxiliary school in a dominatingly Yoruba region, Ibadan. He knows about the many significant ethnic gatherings in his country, and in this manner has an information frequently very much misused in his books. He went on hence to Yaba Higher College in Ibadan and afterward moved over to Achimota College in Ghana where he examined ranger service. For a very long time he filled in as a ranger service official and afterward showed science for a short period. He at that point entered the Lagos School of Pharmacy. He later proceeded at the University of London (Chelsea School of Pharmacy) during which period he composed his soonest fiction, his first book-length distribution Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tale (1947) , distributed in London. His works procured him a spot in the National Media where he rose to Head of highlights in the Nigerian Broadcasting Services and eventually turning into its Director.

A few occasions in Ekwensi’s adolescence offered later to his compositions. Albeit ethnically an Igbo, he was raised among Hausa close companions and classmates thus communicated in both ancestral dialects. He likewise educated of his legacy through the numerous Igbo stories and legends that his dad advised him, which he would later distribute in the assortment Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales. In 1936 Ekwensi took on the southern Nigerian optional school known as Government College, Ibadan, where he found out about Yoruba culture just as dominating in English, math, science, and sports. He read all that he could lay his hands on in the school library, focusing on H. Rider Haggard, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, and Alexandre Dumas. He additionally composed articles and stories for various school distributions, especially The Viking magazine.

During the later piece of his spell as a timberland official Ekwensi began longing for the city. So starting in 1947 he showed English, science, and science at Igbobi College close to Lagos. To his classes he read resoundingly compositions of books for youngsters, Drummer Boy, Passport of Mallam Ilia, and Trouble in From Six, and short stories. At last, following quite a while of enhancing his composing profession by working in communicating and doing other advertising work, Ekwensi allowed up his day occupations in 1984 to seek after composing full time. He got back to composing grown-up books, singling out from his own “chronicle” of prior composed compositions a lot of which he modified into the books Jagua Nana’s Daughter, Motherless Baby, For a Roll of Parchment, and Divided We Stand, which were distributed during the 1980s.

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