What are the causes and implications of colonial rule? Does colonialism influence a nation’s politics? What effects do a nation’s politics and colonialism have on the citizens of a particular country? Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun attempts to address the configuration of colonial rule In Nigeria and its association with Nigeria politics. The book utilizes historical events to gain leverage on current occurrences, to destabilize the stereotypic elements that dictate multiple contemporary discourses on Africa. The book’s genre of chronological fiction surpasses mere historical recitation and restructures the polyphonic circumstances of diverse groups of individuals before and after the war (Ganapathy 90). The author integrates a temporal misrepresentation in her account, whereby the description of events interlinks the effects of the current and the past. The clear manifestations of the occurrences are well described to enable the audience’s comprehension. The entire account focuses on Nigerian Politics and colonialism and its impact on Nigerian citizens.
The theme of betrayal and loyalty in politics manifests through the secession of Biafra, the dedication of Igbo people to Biafra, and the mass execution of the Igbo. The book focuses on betrayal at an individual level between the two sisters, Kainene and Olanna, who represent the Nigerian conflict when they break apart and eventually reunite. The sisters are twins though they do not resemble each other, and while they have a close relationship when they are younger, though they tend to grow apart when they are older. Betrayal occurs when Olanna betrays her sister Kainene by having relations with her partner, Richard, as evidenced by “Or she should have told him more: that she regretted betraying Kainene and him but did not regret the act itself. She should have said that it was not a crude revenge or a scorekeeping, but took on a redemptive significance for her. She should have said the selfishness had liberated her”. In turn, Kainene avoids any relationship between the two of them by completely shutting off Olanna. Similarly, betrayal manifests when Odenigbo betrays Olanna by having relations with Amala, the helper. Richard also betrays Kainene, and it is evident when he mutters, “I will never forgive myself if I lose you, Kainene.” All the betrayals instigate immense pain and reflection among the characters who eventually forgive each other. They later improve their relationships. The same applies to the Nigerian conflict, where there were disputes among the people that caused disunity (Feldner 74). Their reconciliation led to their fight for independence. The author depicts the individuals’ inclinations toward betrayal and loyalty while she simultaneously demonstrates how these inclinations influence political issues.
The narrative’s focus is on colonialism and Nigerian politics and its implications. The theme of war and violence is evident throughout the entire story. The Nigerian political divisions at the time led to tensions that later resulted in battle and the mass execution of the Igbo. As much as the institution of Biafra brought hope to the citizens, it also triggered conflict as evident from “The notion of the recent killings being the product of “age-old” hatred is, therefore, misleading. The tribes of the North and the South have long had contact, at least as far back as the ninth century, as some of the magnificent beads discovered at the historic Igbo-Ukwu site attest. No doubt, these groups also fought wars and slave-raided each other, but they did not massacre in this manner. If this is hatred, then it is very young. It has been caused, simply, by the informal divide-and-rule policies of the British colonial exercise.” Moreover, all the characters are affected by violence, “The skinny soldiers – with no boots, no uniforms, no half of a yellow sun on their sleeves – kicked and slapped and mocked Ugwu during physical training… the casual cruelty of this new world in which he had no say grew a hard clot of fear inside him”. The violence led to ethnic conflicts and there was fear among individuals. There was a lack of trust amongst the people that ked to further division. The author demonstrates the actual atrocities that occurred when Nigerian citizens fought against colonialism and its effects on the nation at the time and after independence. Nigerian politics also play a critical role in causing the war due to the division it creates. The Biafra movement was a political movement that fought for its citizens’ rights. However, it was also a cause of conflict.
Generally, the book central ideas focus on Nigerian Politics and Colonialism. The author describes the situation at the time when Nigeria had just liberated itself from British colonial rule. However, after Nigeria’s independence in 1960, its politics were still influenced by its colonizers. The colonizers’ influence is apparent in “There are two answers to the things they will teach you about our land: the real answer and the answer you give in school to pass. You must read books and learn both answers. I will give you books, excellent books. Master stopped to sip his tea. They will teach you that a white man called Mungo Park discovered River Niger. That is rubbish. Our people fished in the Niger long before Mungo Park’s grandfather was born. But in your exam, write that it was Mungo Park.” In turn, Britain’s influence enabled the Northern Hausa to control over other groups. Conflicts later arose between the different groups leading to the execution of the Igbo people and the secession of Biafra. The narrative acknowledges that characters, including Kainene, Olanna, and Ugwu, belonged to the Igbo tribe and were thus affected. Ugwu then identifies that the colonizers are people who look like Richard, “Ugwu moved closer to the door to listen; he was fascinated by Rhodesia, by what was happening in the south of Africa. He could not comprehend people that looked like Mr. Richard taking away the things that belonged to people that looked like him, Ugwu, for no reason at all.” Neither Biafra members nor the colonizers acknowledged their involvement in violence. This demonstrates the diverse aspects of politics and its harsh effects on the noble citizen.
In conclusion, Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun fundamental idea focuses on Nigerian politics and colonialism, their association, and consequences on the people of a particular nation. The author describes the implications of politics and colonialism at that time, and in current society. War and violence appear to be outcomes of the political divisions and diverse ideologies among different groups. There is an association between politics, betrayal and loyalty, as evidenced by Kainene and Olanna’s relationship. An outline of various aspects and their influence on a nation’s politics is provided in addition to colonizers’ impact on colonies.
Feldner, Maximilian. ““Teach Them Our History”: Nigerian Identity Formation in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.” Africa Research in Austria. Approaches and Perspectives (2016): 65-88.
Ganapathy, Maya. “Sidestepping the Political “Graveyard of Creativity”: Polyphonic Narratives and Reenvisioning the Nation-State in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.” Research in African Literatures 47.3 (2016): 88-105.