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Saro-Wiwa, Ken (1941–1995)

Heather Squire

Subject History
Sociology » Social Movements

Place Africa » Central Africa
Western Africa » Nigeria

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics autonomy, bibliography, indigenous rights, revolution

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01317.x


Ken Saro-Wiwa was an author, television producer, and human rights activist from Nigeria. He was the president and spokesperson of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), an organization that fought (and continues to fight) for social and environmental justice for the Ogoni, an ethnic minority in the Niger Delta. Ken Saro-Wiwa was born into a prominent Ogoni family in 1941, in the Niger Delta of Nigeria, Africa's largest oil-producing region. He was an excellent student and earned degrees in English at the Government College Umuahia and English and literature at the University of Ibadan. Saro-Wiwa continued his education and held teaching posts until becoming a political administrator for the federal cause during the Nigerian Civil War (1967–70) . His most famous novel, Sozaboy: A Novel in Rotten English (1985), was set in the Nigerian Civil War and tells the story of a young boy who gets recruited to the army and encounters the rampant corruption of the Nigerian military. Always a strong proponent of Ogoni autonomy, Saro-Wiwa eventually lost his position as the Regional Commissioner for Education in the Rivers State Cabinet because of his views. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s he had a successful publishing career and eventually focused on his writing. Saro-Wiwa wrote 27 books and produced one of Nigeria's most popular sit-coms– Basi and Company– which had ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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