I came upon the trailer of the movie adaptation of Chimamanda Adichie’s ‘HALF OF A YELLOW SUN’, of the same title last week, and I was amazed as to how a crucial aspect of Nigeria’s history has refused to remain buried despite all ‘official’ efforts to have it so.
The crucial aspect of Nigeria’s history that I refer to is the Nigeria-Biafra war and the events preceding it as well as proceeding from it, and the refusal by the government and personalities involved in the attempt to wipe out a section of a constituent part of the agglomeration of peoples within the contraption called Nigeria.
I have read the book, and I’m glad that now there’s a movie adaptation of it. I am particular impressed that it was written by someone who didn’t witness the war, but like many children born of Igbo parents gleaned quite enough to present a story that totally had the trappings of that perilious times, besides the fact that I could tell that a particular aspect of that story was true and hence not totally a work of fiction.
The fact that mention is still being made of the sad events that occured immediately post-independent Nigeria, to the coup and the subsequent pogrom in the Northern part of Nigeria against mostly people of South-Eastern origin (who they accused of planning and executing Nigeria’s First Coup), to the Civil War which claimed more than a million lives of South Easterners (with majority dying from ‘the Starvation As A Weapon Of War’ policy of the Nigerian government), especially with the efforts of government (at all levels) and powers that be to expunge the story from the official history and literature of Nigeria.
I’m further gladdened by the fact that this production was not left in the hands of the fledgling and mediocre Nollywood (even though some Nollywood actors played certain roles in the movie), which the Nigerian Film and Video Censorship Board, NFVCB would readily ban from shooting in the first place or even ban from airing in the other anyway.
The Biafra story is one of the few instances where the ‘CONQUERED’ (despite General Yakubu Gowon’s declaration of ‘No Victor, No Vanquished’) wrote the history of a war which isn’t in tandem with widely held notion that ‘history is written by the victors’.
Many books have been written by the major and minor actors, even spectators local and foreign about that conflict that took place between 1967-1970, and which was to later determine much of the direction of Nigeria ever since, but none of these have been as vocal as those written by Nigerians of South-Eastern extraction as those who suffered gravely from the outcome of the war.
Their tale has been passed down even orally from parents to their children that most kids could relate some of the stories like they were there when the unfortunate events took place, infact most Igbo kids were brought up under certain principles that point to a reaction to lessons learned from the war, and even though the examples for these are a myriad I will mention only one – most Igbo kids are brought up never to despise breakfast, even before it was widely held knowledge that ‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’, this is because most of their parents who made that mistake during the war, had to trek several days after as well as several miles without food after their last refuge was shelled sometimes immediately after a ‘fateful breakfast’.
I can’t wait to see the movie once it is released, especially as I am a fan of the lead actor ‘Chinwetel Ejiofor’, an American with possible Igbo ancestry by reason of his name as well as others casted in this movie.
For now, I will leave you to relish the trailer below, while we wait for the real deal. I just hope I won’t be disappointed with the movie as many other adaptations from novels have been in recent and former times.
Watch “HALF OF A YELLOW SUN Trailer | Festival 2013” on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wF4wU6HuUk&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Finally, it is my sincere hope that this movie will provide yet another opportunity for Nigerians to engage truthfully with each other over what happened back then and work towards ensuring justice for all, because Nigeria will continue to group in the darkness of chaos unless some of these issues are addressed, for there can be NO PEACE, WITHOUT JUSTICE.
Late Chinua Achebe’s final work, ‘THERE WAS A COUNTRY’ was acrimoniously recieved along sectional divides, I hope the story this movie will tell will recieve positive reviews from critics.