Buy Study Guide The novel Anthills of the Savanah is a socio-political commentary set in the fictitious nation of Kangan. The story begins with the readers being treated to an inside look into a presidential cabinet meeting. It is revealed that the country has had a shaky two years of existence, having coming from a chaotic political upheaval, ousting a dictator from the highest office of the land. The three were childhood friends and have now come into power, fulfilling crucial responsibilities within their society.
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He was the child of Isaiah Okafor Achebe, a Protestant missionary. His mother Janet Ileogbunam was educated at St. In , his parents were married by G. Basden in a Christian ceremony.
Among his classmates were Christopher Okigbo and Chukwuemeka Ike. In , he got an admission into University College, Ibadan in Southwest Nigeria where he was intent on reading Science and Medicine, but he soon changed to Literary Studies and received his Bachelor of Arts in English in While in college, Achebe developed his interest in indigenous Nigerian cultures, and he rejected his Christian name, Albert, for his indigenous one, Chinua.
He relinquished this post after the crises in Northern Nigeria in and moved back to the Eastern Nigeria. When the Eastern Region declared itself independent under the name Biafra, Achebe decided to join his fellow Ibos.
He was also quite influential in the publication of new Nigerian writers. In , he co-founded a publishing company with a Nigerian poet named Christopher Okigbo and in he began editing Okike: Journal of New African Writing. In , he founded Uwa ndi Igbo, a bilingual magazine containing a great deal of information about Igbo culture.
Achebe was active in Nigerian politics from the s till his death, and many of his novels address the post-colonial social and political problems that Nigeria still faces. In the s, Achebe was one of the founders of a Nigerian literary movement that drew upon the traditional oral culture of its indigenous peoples.
In , Achebe was involved in a ghastly road accident in Nigeria and as a result, he lived in a wheelchair until his death in March 21, in Boston, Massachusetts, United States. His burial attracted people from all walks of life, both friends and foes, who eulogised him as a gallant writer and the father of African Literature.
Unlike A Man of the People which portrays the extent of political corruption and moral decadence in the civilian government in Nigeria, Anthills of the Savannah exposes the political corruption and moral decadence of the military regimes to show that neither of both forms of governments is free from this political and social malady.
Anthills of the Savannah centres around three personages—Chris, Sam and Ikem. Contrary to his earlier ambition to be a medical doctor, Sam goes to Sanhurst to be trained as a soldier. When he comes back, there is a coup in the country; his school friends invite him to be the Head of State. His friends help him to form a kitchen cabinet in Kangan with the headquarters in Bassa. After a while, Sam then wants everybody to vote for him to become a live president. The people of Abazon refuse to vote for him because to them, it is an aberration for a military officer to perpetrate in power.
Not quite long, a drought strikes Abazon. The people ask the government to help but the government refuses. The people then decide to pay the president a solidarity visit. As they get to the headquarters, the officials are afraid. The visit is not covered by the media for fear of not wanting other tribes to follow suit. After their ignoble reception, the delegation from Abazon head for a hotel room and Ikem, an indigene of Abazon is invited to meet with the delegation.
For this reason, Head of State asks Chris to prepare a sack letter to be sent to Ikem but Chris refuses. In angry humiliation, the Head of State masterminds the killing of Ikem in cold blood. After Ikem has been carefully assassinated by the power-drunk military junta, Chris is the next target of elimination as he is declared wanted by the police who accuse him of exposing the excesses of the government to foreign media.
On their journey to the northern part of the country, they are stopped by a frenzied crowd of cops and civilians who have stopped a truckload of beer to celebrate the recent coup in the country. In the drunken orgy, a police cop attempts to rape a girl but Chris will not allow him.
In the fracas that ensues, the cop shoots Chris dead. Adamma: She is one of the passengers on the bus boarded by Chris, Emmanuel, and Abdul as they leave Bassa and head north for safety. She is the same girl whom Chris tries to save from being raped by a cop and in the process; Chris is shot dead by this trigger-happy cop. Like Jesus, Chris gives his life that she may live. After all, we could not have expected anything less.
She is a devout Christian who attends services. Agatha is a semi illiterate housemaid of Beatrice and she appears as a flat character throughout the novel. Because of her educational level, she uses substandard English known as Pidgin. One may wonder why Beatrice employs a semi illiterate as a maid. She is not the only person who does this. This is usually the trend in the country. Many educated rich people prefer the services of these semi illiterates for two major reasons: they are always available to do the job at a lower pay and they are easily controlled.
For this reason, she would not do any work on Saturdays, not even to light a stove. Not much is heard from and about her except the little information she gives to unravel the mysterious disappearance of Ikem. Agnes is an image of a typical African housewife. As a wife of a taxi-driver, she belongs to the lower class society and she speaks Pidgin, a version of English typical of people from her class. Although she is illiterate, she is intelligent and has sense of humour.
Like many women of her class, Aina is at the bottom of the ladder as she has to raise a good number of children in a poorly-furnished room apartment. Although he is an active public official, Alhaji Mahmoud does not always appear in public functions. He is more or less a recluse. He does not only avoid public appearances but also speaks very little when he does go public. There is a rumour that he is one of the smugglers with fifty companies and a bank.
Attorney-General: He is a professional lawyer who knows his profession and his worth. Rather, he lets him know the ethics of his profession which sometimes guide his feelings as well as his actions and reactions. This is revealed when the Head of Sate summons him to his office and asks him about his opinion on whether Chris is loyal to him or not.
Both are gossips. Even when Major Sam demands his confirmation or objection to his fears, Attorney-General speaks more than needed. In fact, his tirade sounds like a cabinet gossip. There is no doubt that his revelation will put more strain in the relationship between Major Sam and his boyhood friend, who is now his adulthood enemy.
Beatrice Okoh: Beatrice is a Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and an old friend of the two major male characters and a lover of Chris. She symbolizes modern African woman. In a way, I could say that she is the 5 Molare heroine of Anthills of the Savannah. Unlike other female characters in the novel, she is not only well educated but also intelligent. She grows up to dislike her native name because it shows very little or no regard her Igbo traditional society has for female children in particular and women folk in general.
Braimoh: He is the taxi-driver who drives Chris out of his hideout in Bassa after an announcement by the police declaring him wanted. Like Emmanuel, Braimoh is loyal and selfless to Chris. He is not afraid that they could be intercepted by the police thereby putting his life in danger. Again, one would have expected Braimoh to disdain and condemn Chris, a member of a despotic government, to his fate but Braimoh seems to see the humanity of Chris rather than his occupation.
Captain Abdul Medani: He is a soldier who has soft spot for the so-called bloody civilians. Unlike some of his fellow soldiers, Captain Medani mingles freely with the non-members of the armed forces.
A typical example is when he gives Beatrice a strange call urging her to tell Chris to move farther to save his life. Again, we see him personally volunteer to bring the news of the gruesome murder of Chris to Beatrice and also remaining in her house to console her.
Furthermore, the type of argument that Captain Abdul Medani engages with his civilian friends—Emmanuel and Braimoh is uncommon among members of the armed forces.
He is an intellectual in government who still retains his sense of honour and morality even in a corrupt and wanton regime like the type we see in Anthills. However, his sense of honour and morality makes him an arch enemy of Major Sam despite the fact that they were both classmates at Lord Lugard College. In my opinion, Chris is the hero of Anthills. Unlike other characters such as Ikem and Major Sam who die as a result of personal vendetta and direct consequence of greed and wickedness respectively, Chris dies so that the 6 Molare helpless and oppressed society represented by Adamma may live.
It is this messianic death that makes me place him as the central character in the novel. Although she is sensitive and attractive, she was not very lucky with her first husband, whose people did not accept her as a person.
Fortunately for her, she is now married to another man, who is not from her tribe and she has two kids. Like many other characters in the novel, Dick is a flat character whose appearance only helps to emphasise the fact that Mad Madico is not abandoned by his race in the black nation of Kangan.
Elewa: She is from the lower-class society. Her relationship with Ikem symbolizes a classless society where there is connection between the poor and the highly educated. Expectedly, she speaks Pidgin English which is a lingua franca of the lower-class and semi-illiterate society.
Perhaps Ikem commits this class suicide to marry her in order to show his solidarity for the poor and illiterate class. Although Elewa does not show any overt romantic love for Ikem throughout the novel, she no doubt weeps uncontrollably when she receives the news of his death. We cannot really tell whether she cries at the loss of a lover and a friend or at the loss of a benefactor and a status symbol. Well, in my opinion, it could be both.
We only hear about her from Beatrice, her younger sister. I believe that Emily must have been very dear to Beatrice. Nothing is heard of him until in the latter part of the novel when he helps Chris to move out of the GRA to the northern slums after an announcement by the police declaring Chris wanted.
If not, he would have handed him over to the police. Again, he is fearless and selfless. He is actually a friend in deed. Arguably, Emmanuel does all these not only to protect Chris but also to protect himself from the police.
Anthills of the Savannah Symbols, Allegory and Motifs
Dotilar Again, we should not forget the fact that one of the tactics of every successive military government, especially after a coup, is to sympathise with the plight of the people anthils order to gain acceptance and legitimacy. Political Instability Anthills of the Savannah is a good example of political fervour. It is also thd as power, the central theme of the novel is said to be naked. I suppose this is a quite common feature in African literature. Major Sam furiously storms away leaving her alone on the balcony.
ANTHILLS OF THE SAVANNAH THEMES PDF
Ikem is killed because he spoke out, and the government even tries to cover up the murder by saying it occurred in a struggle. While His Excellency began his rule with good intentions, his hunger for power grows and knows no bounds. As soon as his power is questioned, he begins to silence those who doubt him and stand in his way, including his longtime friends, Ikem and Chris. His Excellency not only wants to exterminate the people who speak out, but also the ideas they are promoting, and he does this in his attempts to discredit them after their death. The claim that Ikem advocated for regicide is an example of this. The extent of the corruption spreads into every aspect of life and every relationship that the state has with its people. The Importance of Storytelling Ikem is the storyteller-in the literal and in the political sense.