It has been a dozen years since Nigeria’s greatest novelist last published a major work and 29 since he captured so poignantly his country’s oil-fuelled decline into mediocrity and decadence in The Trouble with Nigeria. Now, at the age of 81, Chinua Achebe has broken his silence on the 1967-70 civil war with a first-hand account of the events that brought the post-independence aspirations of elite Nigerians crashing down. Coming as it does when fault lines in Africa’s most populous nation are painfully evident, There Was a Country ought to be essential reading. A new, dynamic generation is bursting from the shackles of the past in what looks like the start of a renaissance for business, politics and the arts. Yet some of the same religious, ethnic and regional tensions that combined to create the conditions for the Biafran war are tearing again at the fabric of the Nigerian federation.
more from William Wallis at the FT here.