At first I thought this book is about his time in prison, but this book by the late Nigerian businessman, writer, poet, activist Ken Saro-Wiwa is more a book about his life, his writing, his political activities and a bit about his family.
Ken shot to international fame due to his activities to highlight the plight of the Ogoni people in the south east of Nigeria, right in the oil rich delta of the Niger. It brought him into contact with worldwide organizations to defend the rights of minority groups. He did not take the side of the Biafran side during the civil war, for he was in favour of a federal Nigeria, with much leeway for all the different ethnic groups. He saw a country being dominated by the Yoruba, Ibo and Hausa/Fulani powers. He wanted more diversity and more power at the local and ethnic level (including more oil benefits for the Ogoni !).
It is a book by a talented man who was able to succeed in many different activities. This in itself is impressive, but there is something else that impressed me. It is the attitude of those in command, those in position of authority, those who want to attain those positions. It is the shocking way they treat people, the way they abuse people, the way they bend the rules, the way they treat people as if they were animals in a rottendown shed. When you live and act in a society where people are treated without decency and dignity you are lamentable.
Ken Saro-Wiwa – A month and a Day – A Detention Diary – 1994