Writers' Forum


Anezi Okoro's Fictional Characters

"Generally, many of my characters represent snippets of the kind of time and period I saw as a child. The kind of characters I portray where the kind of characters that existed in those days. Then, the teachers were respected. The teachers were happy to know that they were bringing up young minds. They served as role models for their pupils. There was no way teachers combined their duties with other jobs. There wasn't divided attention. There wasn't the TV (television) at that time. So as a student you pick your novel and go under a tree to read. It was so difficult for things to go wrong. It was mission schools in those days.


"The Village School and Village Headmaster happened in that type of school. Although I did not set out to simply record this period, yet I discovered that my characters were so representative of the period that many people who read those stories in those days say 'Oh, this is exactly, what happened in my own primary school'. So the stories represented what was general at that time.

"But then speaking of education, we, in the hinterland, came in late into education, because education and Christianity came through the coast and took some time reaching the hinterland. Once we embraced it, we went about it in a big way to get educated. So it should still be our priority because it is our passport to a good life. Other people may have other priorities, but we should ensure that education remains our priority. It may not appear to pay in the short run, but in the long run it does. Some people have made money but what is the money for? The more money you have, the more likely it becomes the money will control you. So again you don't get happiness.


"These kiddies books that showed a time, and a way, that things were properly done should be read more (often). Those books are not widely read now. If some people read those books and they get the kind of attention we are giving them now, I believe that things will be better. But nowadays people push in something that doesn't give any message and they get accepted. But the children suffer. My view on this is that our education system needs to be overhauled. Once sanity returns to the education system things will be better for the kids. So I hope that those children's books that show better educational system could be read more widely. But today the attention is divided in many ways. But then nothing can go right if the school system is wrong..."


From Children in the Wilderness

African Literary Journal ALJ B4 2003