I Am Kagara

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I Am Kagara

I am Kagara

I Am Kagara (2016) is political treatise shrouded within the thin veil of a novel. Tradition and contemporary issues collide here in a manner not seen since Chinua Achebe’s classic Things Fall Apart.

I Am Kagara, the third stanza in a trilogy by the author, Nwagwu. Chioma Ijeoma, is the reluctant, post-modern heroine of the series. In the last of the series, Chioma is called upon, metaphysically, by the characters Awarah and Fern to embark upon several missions. The first journey, towards to the ultimate mission, involves Chioma finding ‘faith.’ The second journey involves the heroine finding ‘self.’ It is only after the first and second journeys that she is able to complete the final mission to save others. To be successful, Chioma must displace the ‘self’ and put the welfare of others (the village) first.

The author, Mark Nwagwa, of I Am Kagara, is making a not so covert statement about the state of affairs in Nigeria in this work. First, Chioma and Nigeria must have the faith and trust from within. Interfacing conflicts and groups plague Nigeria, at present. Nigeria, is a false state. The colonial powers merged separate entities, religions, cultures, and peoples to produce an awkwardly false state that suits Europe’s needs. Tradition is suppressed by the colonials and it is repressed buy the Black modernists too, at times in the novel. This book recognizes the crisis of such and the ensuing battles that are now being fought in Nigeria. Bokora, Nigeria, is in the northeast segment of Nigeria. This area of the republic is now rift with insurgent forces such as the infamous Boko Haram. Kagara, Bokoro, Nigeria, plays host, in this novel, to the conflict of the abduction of several girls by an infamous group that debases women. BRAND and BOND are acronyms for various factions that emerge in this book fighting for the survival or destruction of the state and the university. GAP is a group that springs forth fighting for women. The author, Nwagwu captures the tempo of the times with the delegates of good and evil fighting to topple one another. This is why the second journey of the main character is so important. ‘Self,’ is a Western concept. It is the village which comes first within the African cosmos. The ‘self’ is second. The third journey towards redemption for Chioma is a not so easy. Chioma’s education and profession in American higher education puts her in conflict with African tradition and the supernatural too. She must put herself in danger to save the insular ‘self’ of the village or community of Nigeria’s girls. In doing so, it is the women of this novel that save the day for the people, male or female.

Critique: I am intrigued with the fact that the novelist, Mark Nwagwu can pack so much about contemporary Africa into one small package. But, I know that I Am Kargara (2016) is merely one segment of a trilogy of within the theatre of African affairs. This book serves as an excellent vehicle for African Political Science studies. It is also a good work for any area of Social Sciences. Reading this work was like reading the latest edition of an African newspaper. Mark Nwagwa has captured the pulse of a nation, a continent, and the colonial world. I look forward to further editions of his work. The African ‘I’ of Nwagwu is most evident.