Flora Nwapa’s Efuru @ 50: Remembrance Of Unsung Heroine | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe

arts, Arts-sun, LIFE

Flora Nwapa’s Efuru @ 50: Remembrance Of Unsung Heroine

page 2-Flora Nwapa
Posted: Aug 21, 2016 at 1:04 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Born on January 13 1931 at Oguta, Imo State as Florence Nwanzuruahu Nkiru Nwapa but popularly known as Flora Nwapa, the late writer was the forerunner to a generation of African women writers. In 1966, her book ‘Efuru’ became Africa’s first internationally published female novel in the English language by Heinemann Educational Books.
With her priceless contributions towards growth of literature, before she passed away on October 16, 1993, she was described as mother of modern African literature. She became the first African woman publisher of novels when she founded Tata Press.
Fifty years after Efuru, the world is set to celebrate the evergreen literary works and the legendary author in not less than four states of the federation between November 29 and December 11.
Chairman of the National Organising Committee (NOC) of Efuru @ 50 Colloquium, Dr. Wale Okediran, former National President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) said in a chat with journalists in Lagos that the celebration will centre around writers and academicians.
“The Conference is proposed to be a 4-City national event with a number of activities ranging from symposia to a children’s carnival, writing competitions, drama sketches of ‘Efuru’ as well as a grand finale with a Night Of Tributes. The above named activities will be situated in Lagos, Abuja, Maiduguri with the Grand Finale in Enugu.”
He said some local and foreign writers will be invited to deliver papers on the Conference Theme: ‘Rekindle the Declining Reading Culture of the Nigerian Youths: Efuru and Flora Nwapa as Iconic Symbols.’ However, there would be a call for papers with the hope of holding discussions around the book.
Narrating the significance of Nwapa’s story, he said the 50 years celebration will encourage global writers. “The book centres around Efuru, an Igbo woman who lives in a small village in colonial West Africa. Throughout the story, Efuru wishes to be a mother, though she is an independent-minded woman and respected for her trading ability. The book is rich in portrayals of the Igbo culture and of different scenarios which have led to its current status as a feminist and cultural work. In view of the global acceptance of the book and its author, it is imperative to celebrate the golden anniversary of the publication of this very important novel with a National Conference.”
The Lagos Local Organising Committee (LOC) will be headed by the current head of department of English, University of Lagos, Prof Hope Eghagha, University of Lagos while the Abuja centre will be manned by Prof Vicky Sylvester, the HOD English at the University of Abuja and Dr. Razinat Mohammed at the University of Maiduguri. The grand finale in Enugu and Oguta will be coordinated by Prince Paschal Mebuge- Obaa and all LOC chairmen will work closely with the ANA chairmen and members in the respective states.
The committee chose University of Maiduguri because Nwapa was at one time, a visiting Professor at the University.
A major aspect of the event is the literary competition among secondary school students in the four centres and copies of ‘Efuru’ will be given to the students to read for one month before the day of the competition.
The committee is therefore soliciting for financial supports from local and international literary and cultural agencies; publishers, universities and friends of literature, including government agencies towards the success of the historic event.
The committee has also called for abstracts for 15 – 20 minute presentations during the conference on the theme: EFURU@50; A Celebration of Flora Nwapa and African Women Literature. Contributors are expected to send in article not exceeding 200 words, on any of the sub-themes which include: The Dialectics and Symbolism of EFURU; Flora Nwapa and Feminism in EFURU; EFURU and the role of Women in National Discourse; Flora Nwapa and the role of Women in African Culture; African Literature and the role of Women Writers among others.
Deadline for submission of abstracts is 30th September 2016.  This is expected to be submitted electronically to info@efuru50.com and copied waleokediran@yahoo.co.uk. Meanwhile, notification of acceptance will be given on 15 October while full paper submission deadline is 30 October.
The events planner and coordinator who is the International Director, Igbo History Foundation LLC, USA, Prince Paschal N. Mebuge-Obaa II appreciated Ogbuefi (Nwanyigbuefi), Dr. Mrs. Sabine Jell-Bahlsen for providing seed money for the take off of the project.
He said through the celebration, several innovations would be introduced to the reading public. “We hope to use the celebration to advance human achievement by introducing attractive and stimulating intellectual innovation models to promote education and especially reading among our children and wards, precisely now when the internet, social media, home video etc. are the order of the day and have become a source of worry to well-meaning Nigerian and foreign parents and educators. A lot needs to be done, also to assist the government of Nigeria in this direction,” he said.
Son of the late writer and chairman of the Flora Nwapa Foundation, Uzoma Nwakuche, said the mother worked for the dignity and economic independent of women. He said though Nwapa, served Nigeria in her intellectual capacity as a writer and former commissioner, unfortunately, her name was not mentioned in the Nigeria’s centenary award.
In a chat with Independent Sunday, Uzoma said he missed the mother care of the late Nwapa till date.
“I was breastfed till I was two. Being a public figure, she never failed her role as a mother. She imbibed in us great sense of tolerance balance for women. I admire her way of dealing with people and things. We will surely promote her legacy,” he said.