“HOW TO DIE
1. You have to first understand that death is not a noun or a state. It is an event, the success of which requires proper planning.
2. One way to die is to ensure that in life, you did something worth remembering. This action need not be good or exemplary. In Nigeria no one cares if you were good or evil when you die. The only crime is dying without having done anything worthy of note. Like dying so poor no one knows your name. Death, especially that of someone rich or powerful, confers sainthood that cannot be challenged. (…) So, please, to die in Nigeria, acquire power and wealth.”
Welcome to Nigeria, natives and non natives, and prepare to set on a journey to a country that never ceases to stimulate the imagination of its inhabitants and travelers; a country where the good and the bad coexist in such a harmonious way that one cannot always tell the difference between them.
Godly laws and mysteries (written in “The Gospel according to Nigeria”), how to succeed in life, how to behave, how to speak, how to perform in society, how to die—here are some of the lessons that Elnathan John teaches his readership.
In a biting tone, John offers us a picture of what Nigeria looks like, and provides a comprehensive guide to what one should expect when living or traveling there. Funny, sarcastic, bitter sweet, this lucid satire reveals what excesses of power, corruption, and lack of education lead to, that is a society that suffers more than it benefits from political measures.
This hilarious and brilliant read criticizes universal vices and weaknesses in a fiercely free voice. It doesn’t apologize, doesn’t try to embellish things, doesn’t want to please. As the author says, “never, ever, explain satire”.
Be(com)ing Nigerian: A Guide by Elnathan John
978-1-911115-96-0 / Cassava Republic (2019)
Review by Ioana Danaila
Ioana Danaila was born in Romania. She graduated from University Lyon 2 Lumière with a Masters in African Postcolonial Literature and a First degree in French for Non-Francophone people. She is the author of a collection of short stories and a translator of books from French to Romanian. She is trilingual in Romanian, French and English, and teaches English language and literature to highschool students in France.