Making Ejine Okoroafor’s Caste a case
By PRISCA SAM-DURU
The age long tradition of OSU caste in Igbo land has remained unresolved in spite of several attempts by concerned individuals and the impact of church. Recently a modest effort was made by a Nigerian born and United Kingdom based medical doctor and writer, who presented three fictional books that explore the traumas of the obnoxious practice.
The books; A Rose In Bloom, Pathos of a Wilting Rose and Whimsical Rhapsody written by Ejine Okoroafor-Ezediaro were presented to Nigerians at an event which doubled as both presentation and public reading.
A native of Oguta in Imo State, the writer left Nigeria after her first degree in Physics from the University of Port Harcourt and proceeded to study Medicine in Ukraine. She later relocated to the United Kingdom, where she is running a residency programme in psychiatry.
Ejine. who presently practices medicine explains that her interest in writing derives from early nurturing from her teacher –mother, who according to her,”exposed me to voracious reading.”
As a high school student, Ejine was seen to be an ardent reader of Mills and Boom series, Barbara Cartland, Pacesetters, as well as books in the African Writers series such as novels by Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and Flora Nwapa.
Growing up, Ejine said, “ changed my perception of Life.This new development motivated me into writing about the subject of Osu , having witnessed innocent people in Igbo land pass through the dilemma of this segregation and stigmatisation because of the tradition”.
Writing Pathos of A Wilting Rose which is sequel to another novel, A Rose in Bloom, the shy but elegant author said, “I did not want to be predicted. It is more diverse as there are whole lot of lessons to draw. So my aim was to let people see beyond the Osu matter, gain inspiration and know that they will always survive in spite of the situation on ground”.
Talking about the reception given to her books, she explained that her books were rejected several times by publishers in the US , “may be because they are not the kind of stories they were expecting from an African”, arguing, that “they will rather like to read about poverty in Africa” .
Not deterred in her dream of reaching out to a wider audience and perhaps affecting a change of attitude, penultimate week, she presented these two works that deal squarely with the problem of osu and a collection of Poems, in a well attended public presentation at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs(NIIA) Lagos in the presence of family members, friends, colleagues from the US, school mates in former USSR and University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Presenting the books, the Chairman of the occasion, Anogwi Anyanwu said that considering the fact that Nigeria has for long remained a land of corruption with double personality thriving even among people of God, the launching of the books was timely as they are out to educate Nigerians on the value of tolerance, genuine love, forgiveness, integrity and patience.
Reading from her poetry collection, Whimsical Rhapsody, Ejine explained that she had the urge to write the collection of poems to deal with some misconceptions about Africans after her encounter with a three year old Russian who saw a black man smoking and beckoned on his mother saying “mama mama look at him smoking like a human being”.