July 19, 2024

After Okonkwo, Ikemefuna, Nigerian Literary Society celebrates Unoka

  • June 13, 2024
  • 2 min read
After Okonkwo, Ikemefuna, Nigerian Literary Society celebrates Unoka

By Editor

IT has become the literary tradition of Nigerian Literary Society (NLS) to celebrate Africa’s most widely read literary piece Things Fall Apart by Prof. Chinua Achebe every year. The tradition of celebrating ‘Things Fall Apart’ started in the year 2021. June 29, 22024 will be a celebration of the 66 years of the publication of Things Fall Apart. In 2022 the Character In Focus was Okonkwo. Last year, Ikemefuna was on the literary radar. But this year, the focus is on Africa’s most misunderstood artist Unoka who will the Character In Focus, when literary experts and enthusiasts gather at the usual venue, Port Harcourt Club, 31 Forces Avenue, Old GRA, Port Harcourt, Rivers State. On June 29, 2024 @1:00pm. The theme is ‘Unoka: Between Laziness and Talent’, and the event is a collaboration The Book Section, Port Harcourt Club and Nigerian Literary Society.

Over the years, many critics, including the author of Things Fall Apart have continued to portray Unoka as a lazy man, with his death and burial being regarded as disgraceful ones, since he was literally thrown away into the evil forest for swollen disease. How have artists been viewed in Africa, who are now remade after European model societies? What was the role of artists prior to the coming of Europeans and how did this tally with Unoka’s character? What can African societies learn from Unoka’s debt management style and unique wisdom in approaching life? And did wealthy Okonkwo not fail his father as a good son? In Africa, children are parents’ insurance against the vagaries of old age and hard life. Did Okonkwo display his familial responsibility to his own father? Was Okonkwo inadvertently sowing the seed for his ultimate downfall by despising his father for being lazy and fickle?

Experts like former Chair of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Rivers State Chapter and author of Dance of the Delta, Rhythm of the Gods among other works argue that Unoka should not be seen as a lazy man. Rather, he should be seen as an accomplished flutist, an artistic vocation that had and still has its merit and usefulness in society. According to the Curator and Founder of Nigerian Literary Society (NLS), Mr. David Chukwueke, apart from Dr. Nwamara, Professor Hellen Sokari Okujagu, Salome Ojorie-Ikokoyo and Dr. Joel Leebe will be on hand to explicate Unoka’s character to the audience.

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