Onuora Nzekwu Healed The World With Eze Goes To School
The young boy manifesto, the coming of age story, the prompt that the Nigerian story was vital enough to exist in the golden pages of books, this was what Eze goes to school was and as we celebrate the well spent life of its author, its important we realize that through this work, Nzekwu healed the world.
“The reason for Eze Goes To School was because a few books had been written for Nigerians by Nigerian writers. But there was nothing about Nigerian children or for them to read. All the books that we had, when I was in school and when I came out, were books about European children. So I thought I should write something about our own children and how they live. And I wrote it based on our surroundings so that the child who is reading it will understand and appreciate that this is something that is familiar,” Nzekwu said at an event in Lagos in 2012.
Teaming up with Micheal Crowder in 1966, the Nigerian professor, writer and editor and the historian were able to tell a story that was most familiar to the Nigerian boy. The story of a Eze, a boy who was, who existed, who needed no validation before becoming a story. Nzekwu taught us that Igbo words and African expressions had a space in global literature, that they were just as important, just as necessary.
Nzekwu has published three novels. Huthinsons, London, published his Wand of Noble Wood in 1961, Blade Among the Boys in 1962 and Highlife for Lizards in 1965. His Troubled Dust, a novel based on a fictionalized account of the Nigeria Civil War was published in 2012.
In an interview with Victor Eze in 2012, Nzekwu said, one writes from experience and with things that are happening around us. A writer has an opportunity at any given period to pick up a subject that will interest him and once you are interested, you begin to devote your time to follow it up.
We can say the same for Eze goes to school, it was a subject that not alone interested Nzekwu but subsequently, the world.
Featured Image: Tosin Kolajo