Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wole Soyinka attacks BBC portrayal of Lagos 'pit of degradation'

According the Guardian, Nigerian playwright derides Welcome to Lagos, shot in teeming slums, as colonialist and patronising.
Speaking to the Guardian, Professor Soyinka said that Welcome to Lagos, the BBC2 observational documentary which follows various people in poor areas of the city, was "the most tendentious and lopsided programme" he had ever seen."

I watched the programme on YouTube. Soyinka has been the one consistent voice that sought to expose this country's open sores. How he turns to accuse the West of colonialist ploy, when they do the same, is a bit intriguing. Is this the triumph of Achebeanism? But then Soyinka is, after all, a man, a normal human being who can feel lonely and the need to join the mass of community.
In a country where the new crop of intellectuals seek to solve the problems of their country by attacking the Western portrait of the same, an old lion might feel lonely, dispirited in his long moral battle to right the ship of his people.

I have to think that the BBC is doing a great service to Nigerian humanity. Rather than rankle our nativist bile, this series should put all of us to shame. Those of us who squirrel thousands and millions of dollars out of the country; those of us who are in the position to try a little kindness, we all who have the leisure to think about the world, should spend some time on any part of this series. We should ask ourselves some questions and think of ways to create a decent society in Nigeria.

Enjoy the Guardian report.

And here is a part of the series.

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