Abstract

ABSTRACT:

Nigerian-born Ken Saro-Wiwa was a writer, environmental activist, and representative of the minority Ogoni people. much literary criticism has focused on his novel Sozaboy: A Novel in Rotten English (1985) because it highlights the traumas experienced during the Biafran War through experimental form and pidgin english. Though Biafra was declared a homeland for the Igbo ethnic group, many others who lived within the envisioned nation-state were forced and persuaded to fight. Sozaboy details the experiences of the Ogoni people as they attempted to survive this situation. I focus on a much-overlooked aspect of Sozaboy, which contains many rich references to emerging forms of neoliberalism as assemblage, a topic usually reserved for when Saro- Wiwa organized against big oil exploitation of the Ogoni in the postwar context. This essay locates how Sozaboy persuasively identifies the period of the Biafran War as the point at which the Nigerian state and society transitioned from post-independence toward neoliberalism. Written in pidgin english, the novel bends the english language to decipher aspects of both ethnic war and an emergent neoliberalism. Formally, as a novel about the socialization of mene, Sozaboy ruptures the generic features of a bildungsroman, is in fact anti-developmental, and demonstrates how war can refashion postcolonial subjectivities to meet the needs of globalization. Yet, even as the novel registers such transformations of subjectivities and social collectivities, it also signals new forms of resistance that emerge as a result of excesses of global capital.

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