Becoming Nigerian by Elnathan John – a tongue-in-cheek look at Nigeria’s relationship to itself
A Guide by Elnathan John moves between the sublime and the ridiculous, deftly capturing both the hilarity and the horror of Nigeria.
‘The Nigerian god loves money. Because money answereth all things. You know how Nigeria is, things may be difficult, but they are always possible with money.’
Be(com)ing Nigerian provides an affecting, unrestrained and satirical guide to the Nigerians you will meet at home and abroad, or on your way to hell and to heaven.
It is a searing look at how power is performed, negotiated and abused in private and in public; in politics, business, religious institutions and in homes. From the exploration of religious hypocrisy to inequality in matters of the heart, the collection is a jab at Nigerian society and what it means to be a Nigerian.
Beyond poking fun at the holders of power, it is a summons, a provocation and a call for introspection among all levels of society. As is often said in Nigeria, when you point with one finger, there are four others pointing back at you.
‘You may start our thin and flat bellied. Do not see that as a thing of pride. You will look awkward with your police uniform tucked into a thin waist with your stomach looking like a chalk board … God forbid a flat, hungry belly. It will not be your portion.’
This engrossing read is a must-have for Nigerians on how to move beyond shame and arrogance, and for non-Nigerians, a uniquely informative guide on how to accept their awe and envy of Nigerians. It is an invitation for everyone to embrace and rejoice in their inner Nigerian. Here is your definitive guide to Be(com)ing Nigerian.
‘The Nigerian god loves elections and politics. After you have bribed people to get the Party nomination, used thugs to steal and stuff ballot boxes, intimidated people into either sitting at home or voting for you, it is important to declare that your success is the will of the almighty God.’
About the author
Elnathan John is a lawyer, novelist and satirist. His short stories have been shortlisted twice for the Caine Prize for African Writing, in 2013 and 2015. His novel Born on a Tuesday won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Nigeria Prize for Literature. It has been translated into German and French and won the 2019 Le Prix Littéraire Les Afriques . His most recent book – the satirical collection Be(com)ing Nigerian:
A Guide – was published by Cassava Republic Press in 2019. On Ajayi Crowther Street, his graphic novel, will be published in November 2019. Elnathan lives in Berlin and is a 2019 recipient of the Berlin Senate grant for non-German literature.