For years, the name SARS hung in the air here in Nigeria like a putrid fog. SARS, which stood for Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was supposed to be the elite Nigerian police unit dedicated to fighting crime, but it was really a moneymaking terror squad with no accountability. SARS was random, vicious, vilely extortionist. SARS officers would raid bars or stop buses on the road and arbitrarily arrest young men for such crimes as wearing their hair in dreadlocks, having tattoos, holding a nice phone or a laptop, driving a nice car. Then they would demand large amounts of money as “bail.”… Seguir leyendo »
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de agosto de 2007. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.
Quand notre ami Theo a fait la connaissance de Libby, dans la province du Shandong, les parents de la jeune Chinoise, qui allait devenir son épouse, d’abord soucieux de protéger leur fille unique et méfiants envers les Africains, ont finalement accordé leur bénédiction avec ces mots : «Au moins, ce n’est pas un de ces Noirs qui sont moches.» Theo raconte l’anecdote avec un amusement narquois, donnant à penser qu’il développerait la question s’il n’était déjà autrement accablé. C’est un homme agréable et doux, respectueux et fiable, quelqu’un dont on dirait en Afrique de l’Ouest : «C’est un garçon bien élevé.»… Seguir leyendo »
When our friend Theo first met his Chinese wife, Libby, in Shandong Province, her parents, protective of their only daughter and wary of Africans, finally gave their blessing with the words, “at least he’s not a bad looking black.” Theo tells this story with wry amusement, as though he would parse it more if he were not already so burdened. He is a pleasant and gentle man, respectful, trustworthy, the kind of man who in West Africa would be said to have had “good home training.” But for the past year, a dark sighing heaviness has blanketed him.
He is an Anglophone Cameroonian, and his home is in peril.… Seguir leyendo »
He had an opportunity to make real reforms early on, to boldly reshape Nigeria’s path. He wasted it.
Perhaps the first clue was the unusually long time it took him to appoint his ministers. After an ostensible search for the very best, he presented many recycled figures with whom Nigerians were disenchanted. But the real test of his presidency came with the continued fall in oil prices, which had begun the year before his inauguration.
Nigeria’s economy is unwholesomely dependent on oil, and while the plunge in prices was bound to be catastrophic, Mr. Buhari’s actions made it even more so.… Seguir leyendo »
We call it light; “electricity” is too sterile a word, and “power” too stiff, for this Nigerian phenomenon that can buoy spirits and smother dreams. Whenever I have been away from home for a while, my first question upon returning is always: “How has light been?” The response, from my gateman, comes in mournful degrees of a head shake.
Bad. Very bad.
The quality is as poor as the supply: Light bulbs dim like tired, resentful candles. Robust fans slow to a sluggish limp. Air-conditioners bleat and groan and make sounds they were not made to make, their halfhearted cooling leaving the air clammy.… Seguir leyendo »
On New Year’s Day, in my ancestral hometown of Abba in Anambra State in eastern Nigeria, my family and I woke up to unbelievable news: the price of petrol had doubled. Overnight, the government had removed what it called the subsidy on fuel, and almost immediately, transport fares exploded and food prices rose astronomically. It used to cost 4,000 naira — about $25 — to fill my petrol tank. Then it cost 10,000 naira. When I stopped to buy okpa, a steam-cooked bean dish, from a street hawker, she said it was no longer 50 naira; it was now 100.
“Why?”… Seguir leyendo »
I was annoyed the first time an African American man called me "sister." It was in a Brooklyn store, and I had recently arrived from Nigeria, a country where, thanks to the mosquitoes that kept British colonizers from settling, my skin color did not determine my identity, did not limit my dreams or my confidence. And so, although I grew up reading books about the baffling places where black people were treated badly for being black, race remained an exotic abstraction: It was Kunta Kinte.
Until that day in Brooklyn. To be called "sister" was to be black, and blackness was the very bottom of America's pecking order.… Seguir leyendo »
My friend Funmi Iyanda hosts a talk show on Nigerian TV in which she interviews state governors, actors and pastors. Her social consciousness is crusading without being self-righteous, her journalism intelligent and honest, her mind deeply kind. One day last December, on her way back from Lagos, she was stopped by policemen. They pointed at her knee-length dress and called her a prostitute, a harlot, a useless woman. They told her she was immoral, that women like her were the reason Nigeria was in such a bad state. Other women have no doubt experienced similar harassment, but things will become worse, horrendously so, if the senate passes a bill that would criminalise "indecent" dressing: necklines must be two inches or less from the shoulders, and the waist of a female over 14 must not be visible.… Seguir leyendo »