Former Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada, Professor Iyorwuese Hagher has disclosed that his novel, The Conquest of Azenga, is set to be released by the publishers in February 2021. Making the disclosure earlier today, Professor Hagher wrote:
My publishers, Heinemann Plc, have just informed me that this novel will be out this February. And I wish to give my readers a sneak preview of the novel and let them know why I wrote The Conquest Of Azenga.
The novel is set in the 1900 in a fictional West African country of British Sofalia. The map of British Sofalia in 1900 is provided with its coastland, cities, tribal lands, rail systems and its two major rivers the Solomougu and Lafa rivers. The novel centers on the career of Lord Payne, the High Commissioner of Northern Sofalia who is armed with his racism, British Imperialism, the maxim gun, and white Christian missionaries, to conquer and subdue the â€œsavageâ€ tribes of Sofalia which he is determined to civilize. He even partners with a local oppressor, the Caliph of Sobikhotanu – the biggest slave trader in Africa to subdue the other tribes in Sofalia, in his erroneous belief that the Kilan tribe was racially superior and a more civilized savage tribe, than the other savages, and were born to rule over them.
But Lord Payneâ€™s high handed Imperialism, and witch-hunt, are resisted to death by the Azenga tribe which also resisted Christian missionaryâ€™s culturecide. The Azenga had defeated both the the slave trading tribe, the Kilan and their partners, the British with their poisoned arrowsâ€¦.
I write as a duty. This duty is to watch as sentry of human consciousness and to wake up an oblivious humanity when invidious forces begin to undermine human freedom, justice and existence. My novel is about Imperialism. I seek to expose the fact that imperialism then in the past and now is an evil force. The forces that enslaved mankind in the past had made slaves of generations of Africans, then and now. The same imperialist forces manifest now in Africa as: corrupt politicians, rapacious elite, Boko Haram and Fulani terrorist herdsmen and kidnappers.
It is the duty of the writer and all artists to war these forces. African citizens are narcotized from long years of mis-education through systematized brainwashing, reading and assimilating toxic nonsense from textbooks and literature and histories that were concocted to entrench low self-esteem and inferiority complexes. Millions of indigenous people were referred to in official history books as USELESS TRIBES, and they accepted this without a whimper.
This brainwashing has birthed a generation where the work ethic is replaced with criminal instant riches and the communal spirit is replaced by fear, deep insecurity and acute individualism. We now have a new generation of the fully low self-esteemed and infantilized elite; succumbing to merely conspicuous consumption and display of toys- exotic homes, cars, fashion, abuse of power, and sensual gratification.
I have used The Conquest of Azenga, in the mould of the traditional story tellers to tell my story about the past and throw search-lights on the present. It is my wake up call on all Africans to arise from stupor and lassitude to face nation building as a serious business requiring creativity, backbreaking hard work and sacrifice rather than surrendering to our new imperial masters.
The Azenga tribe in the novel resisted unto death rather than surrender to shameful culturecide. Nation building is not easy! One of my characters, Saaju, a non muslim herdsman of the privileged Kilan tribe, a former slave of the Caliph tries to escape from the town Muslim Kilan and Christianity only to fall in the trap of the imperialist overlords. He is abducted, raped, kidnapped and taken away to England where he dies in inclement weather.
It is my hope that my reader will see that the underdevelopment trap we are caught in is cyclical. We are blindfolded and move like zombies in a pit of despair controlled by external forces whose local compradors are our elite and political leaders.
Like the people of Azenga in British Sofalia in the past, these combined forces are overbearing and collapse is inevitable, unless we rise up and put up a formidable resistance. Like the Azenga our African nations are witnessing a new scramble, a new slave trade, and a new internal and external colonialism. The modus operandi of Imperialism has always been; genocide, terror and land expropriation.
My novel is available for my Imperialist readers as well. I ask them as they read the Conquest of Azenga to answer only one question. For how long can your perverse oppression mire us down in the grime without your also facing the same conditions of despair; sprawled over us in the sewers and gutters of human existence?
The COVID 19 pandemic like the smallpox epidemic in my novel has shown that humankind is held together better in mutuality rather than in mutual antagonism. We live best in love, diversity, peace and justice for all.
This I hope, will be the message my readers will find reading The Conquest of Azenga.
Iyorwuese Harry Hagher