Coming from the Nigerian culture where female survival was a big issue in the 60s when I was growing up, two of my novels, Dizzy Angel and The Broken Bond, dwell on the themes of tradtional beliefs and their inhibitions on both men and women in general, but most especially, on young women.
Before Christianity and other religions took firm roots in Nigeria, young girls suffered circumcision, and were often withdrawn from school after Primary education. The parents felt it was a waste of money and time to educate girls – after all, they were designed to become the property of their husbands, so why waste money paying school fees for them? Girls were, therefore, often married off to much older men as early as ages 15 or 16.
Dizzy Angel tackles this discrimination against the female population, as well as other superstitions that were rife in the Nigerian society at the time. There are also attempts to deal with the issue of witchcraft, which, I fear, is still quite prevalent in the Nigerian society. Mingling traditional values and Christianity – which was new at that time – was a challenge for Ogbanje, the heroine of Dizzy Angel. Ogbanje, herself, is said to be a spirit-child, one who has reincarnated so many times before and has come again now to continue the torment of her parents. Reincarnation – this is another huge issue in Nigerian traditional beliefs.
My first published novel is Dizzy Angel. It was published in 1985 by the University Press Limited, Ibadan, Nigeria.
It won an award in 1985 as ” best novel for portraying the Nigerian traditonal and Western values and their intermingling conflicts.”
Briefly, Ogbanje is a spirit- child, born to die. She has been born several times before to the same mother, Obiageli, and each time she was born, she lived a few months, died, and reincarnated soon after. This time around, her parents, Dolise and Obiageli are determined to keep her alive – will they succeed?
Dizzy Angel deals with the pertinent issues of superstition and other traditional beliefs in Nigeria and juxtaposes these with Christianity and other beliefs imported from the Western world. “Thrilling, enthralling and full of suspense” – West Africa Magazine, London, 1985.
Dizzy Angel has been an examination text in Nigeria for many years for Secondary School Children up to age 14.
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