Scholarly New Fiction Reads Balance of Colonial & African Cultural Exchange

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In a historically dramatic era, a quiet Nigerian village tries to control the influx of Western influences to preserve its own civilization in Christopher Amatobi’s “Many Moons Ago in Africa”

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Many moons ago in Africa, in the not too distant colonial past, a typical African village in the Igbo Land of Nigeria, peacefully going about the business of existence, is turned into a confused community as the Colonialist sought to consolidate his authority over the African. In the novel Many Moons Ago in Africa, Christopher Amatobi proves himself equal to the task of writing fiction as he has distinguished himself in his professions as a university professor and an agriculturist. Moreover, it is fiction that is illuminating in its details, a quiet scholar’s passionate study of life in that problematic era.

Much has been lost to Africans in the process of colonization. In the Colonialist’s lingo, it was called civilization, the education of Africans even as they were subjugated by the deadlier weapons of the west. ‘Might is right’ was the ruling philosophy of the day. In this context, Amatobi's story takes on vital issues in the cultures of Nigeria and Africa. Many years after the white man has been administering the Igbo village named Ugbe, after he has put the stamp of Christianity on the villagers, the people of Ugbe struggle to preserve their tradition, culture, religion, and social setup.

The temptation of acquiring bigger and better things that the Colonialist brought as proof of his sincerity in giving the African the gift of civilization is strong among the villagers. Yet what it does to the humanized garden that is African village culture is destroy the essentials of the place or replace them with the trivial philosophies, sciences, and costumes that were not present in the making of African civilization. Amatobi, himself a product of Westernized education, thinks deeply and brings up the scores to balance the cultural exchange between Colonialist and African in this story. The result points the way to something inherently glorious in the African continent, and a way to make it shine through the mire of confusion that the exchange produced for decades.

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About the Author
Christopher Iwumene Amatobi was born in Ugbele, Umuaka, in Eastern Nigeria. He began his primary school education in All Saint’s Primary School, Umuaka, and completed in Holy Trinity School, Kano. He attended Okongwu Memorial Grammar School, Nnewi; Federal Science School, Lagos, Nigeria; University of Ibadan, Nigeria; University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he obtained his first degree in agriculture. He taught briefly in a secondary school before proceeding to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, to obtain an MS in agriculture and a PhD in crop protection specializing in agricultural entomology. Amatobi was a professor at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, for many years and retired in 2008. He is the author of three books in agriculture, namely, Arthropod Pests of Crops in Nigeria, Vertebrate Pests of Crops in Nigeria, and Essentials of Crop Pest Management. His latest book, Many Moons Ago in Africa, was written after his retirement.
Many Moons ago in Africa by Christopher Amatobi
Publication Date: August 22, 2012
Trade Paperback; $23.99; 456 pages; 978-1-4771-5138-9
Trade Hardback; $34.99; 456 pages; 978-1-4771-5139-6
eBook; $3.99; 978-1-4771-5140-2
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