Before I Am Hanged: Ken Saro-Wiwa, Literature, Politics, and Dissent

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This is a full-length study of Kenule Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni Minority and Human Rights activist who was judicially murdered on November 10, 1995. One remarkable feature of the essays selected for this volume is the intensity of each contributor's voice to the very controversial man whose judicial murder has come to signify the extent of misrule in Nigeria.

Questions of nationhood, ethic minority and power politics in Nigeria are discussed as each contributor examines the corpus of this literary and political ideas, pointing out the direction of this thought and the enduring contribution this writer and social critics have left behind on Nigeria's literary and political arenas.

Ken Saro-Wiwa, a controversial figure in both life and in death, was hanged for his political views on the position of the majority/minority discourse in Nigerian politics. Those who find in his political tactics upstart from that "small minority" revile him, yet his name calls up problems faced by decimated minorities of the Niger Delta areas of Nigeria.

For some, Ken Saro-Wiwa is the epitome of what must be scourged and recycled into the abyss of a forgotten life. For others, especially those who feel aggrieved by the economic and political situation in Nigeria, Saro-Wiwa has become a model.

Far beyond the personality of Saro-Wiwa, the essays discuss Nigeria-the state of its nationhood, ethnicity, its new political literature-as well as the possibility of dissent and the consequences of dissent. Contributors include Harry Garuba, Azubuike Ileoje, Grace Okereke and Felix Akpan.