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     Interview with Catherine Acholonu, Associate Professor of English
    Literature, Awuku College of Education, Nigeria
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but whether he loses well if they say it took an outcome what led me to do certain it can come i'm it's as their work in a piano in the process of studying african nation with special emphasis on it was studies and when you begin to study african literature the fossils from writer sets a new study is a lot you can have because he's seen as the father of african writing because of the way he authenticated he's writing by tom the lost region is that the origins of his life and look at the origins of his life in the woodland which is in west africa so it becomes the mentality of all those who might be african studies african literature to begin by studying and i had a piano and that was how i began to study or live you can guess i'm the father of african writing
it was then in the process of doing the study and discovering that allowed uganda was them that indeed he has said he wasn't a woman he brought about a symbol of regions including in the words describing in the culture and ways of life of the people people even now sticking with emphasis what community intimate community came from but what was them getting cut for scalise to identify was the actual location of this week came from our people where scotland at i agreed as to what part of england he came from was sure that he was for me what it was he insisted he was the new budget would cause for a problematic wasn't what part of the world and he came from and that was so i thought that i was a really new piano hour with the every day is given in his work and the linguistic suggestions he ends up giving his writing act became get to me that it would be very difficult to
look at him if one would undo the time and move around him win and asking questions it when and if it difficult to look at in his origin so i was struck by the fact that that he he was very much interested in look at his origin it wasn't just enough for him to say he was able to i write about is their african origins and staff and some friends in the hands of his slave masters but he was high interest it a no locating having his readers know where exactly he came from who he was you know his sound my classes given that you took ten men you still want it to use its african do want his african and to be lost so far i was put up in that i felt
it just ends up it's so exciting forty sweets for fiscal reasons to identify itself to establish its own territorial and cultural integrity and i was struck by that i was also it moved by that adding last year it caught on when i read that and i felt i wanted to have i want to do something about it and so i kept it <unk> and now began to open again and i walked on your fourth trip to drip look what three to four years and end of which i began to publish in a number of articles newspaper has enjoyed most connie it's an intellectual of my book the boots of the lead a piano which was published in nineteen eighty nine and as such when he got i was invited to be live shows indifferent universe does india just a sunday and then britain so there's a story
well forgive one in africa a grandmas did tell the african to tell him he's them narrative very important because it has a couple of african studies you never disciplined is thirty pm historian speaking with a piano social scientists speaking with you can literally artists and scholars begin with deep into obsolescence it's like the granite impossible for you to forget the issue of slavery and to find that we have millions and millions of our brothers and sisters who are now no longer a part of us or to have now gone through the streets because of slavery you have no to become part of another culture when two up in twenty
bottomless and do it again to connect and so at a grandma story more than any other story carr is that within a city that's in pictures and that imperative to connect to not forget to remember and that responsibility for the actions of our forefathers so when you were doing this research surprising as well as in their research in fact almost every speech of their search was very moving for me at the stage i stumbled upon like to announce that everyday every discovery was one discovery to many every coincidence was one too many egos that because he was like the the re assemblage
of the jigsaw puzzle in which every cat fight rebecca quinn said many things for example he said that the contents of a loaded allowed a piano ice it enabled allowed to it when my first impulse was look at your city which was the word used in describing the northeast town there are quite a number of names in the mood that names of the whig towns it sound like that they're not less than five or six we were towns scattered around in woodland would that sound like the second i just had quite a number of them but i think when i can do is sit in a number of state in what is now used in nigeria i am my first question was is there any funding in this community that was my name that may sound anywhere in any way you like that may sound like
so this was a prosperous and i asked the king of the community where i was as the comeback that i can lead to content he had talked with he says he's counted elvis would achieve cindy's a kindle and i am i was so that indeed it was a family by that name in vegas about their because of that and i was asked to go and talk to the leader of the kindred where this family was from you as part of hama and there was a wonderfully intimate physically that name and this was the aboriginal family of fact home another was the the people who really belong to that land that many that were intercepted today many of them and what the city by overreaching but the a gramophone is an abortion or funding for zika and they at that time it was a family that that would've come
into george's mother was was in vietnam and that cases were decided where we're way yet another was the caucasus where we heard in there in this funding and it brought in a lot of this from anywhere because of the summit where judges confirmed that means to day you would call it is that for many of the kids the princess the notables of the town i'm so my first time to fight and i was highly highly moving for me was discovering that there was such a family caught a piano at a novelist that we was at the panel today but it is a it's got that one which means if they agree to affect which affect so yeah there was nobody goes to war without me to an agreement that would be and it also means that there's a funny isn't afraid to fight for its rights then the other moving thing was to discover that in this family memories the stories still being remembered today at a boy the little boy
in this film in mosul one little boy not to and that's what they'll and then there's somebody i also found though in the role of the nutella of the family it was an anathema at it at a chart of aiding the person from the family would be sold into slavery because this was the fun of his ticket this wasn't familiar from opiates the kings owners of the land these were the people who soared people they went out to people who whistled so the striking thing for me was to find a vet them there was in this there was a family court to one of accountability and there was a boy who was so did indeed use of slavery in this one striking thing i was afraid that i was holding the novel the grandest house which was publicly did at that point it was also putting it in my hand and people were looking at me and they were depicted book from the
hand and looked at the picture of the book in the sun portrait project in the picture and the goodman was that continues at this man in this picture looks like the atlantic and the members have been a familiar it made me eat dirt lactation to one little boy who was sitting in the gathering and i could see the resemblance between the debate be the pizza hut in my hand they bought it in my hand and the boy before me so when they started seeing the clutches of the piano in the book the reaction of the people was at the iowa more than one people want but there was more than one person who had who had the same fish shop the simple show
features and they now make it possible for me to once again that when homestead stir the members of the graham family even airing for the rest of the primal boys we're living outside house had to go home so that i could see them because it gets taken me there was one piano one weapon and i needed to see and if i saw this person than i would have no doubt as to the front that the person i was talking about was a member of this committee because this other person who was known was he released it was according to them a carbon copy the looks like it looks like a twin brother an identical twin of the person on my portrait painted i didn't believe it and whistle until i saw the weeks afterwards you and whispers and composer for me to see this moment when he can bet on one of his trips because when i saw him i stop shops and i burst into
tears i couldn't believe i couldn't i couldn't take it was too much and day and if you look that gets inside when he said it's going to get my bubble he couldn't believe it himself he was too much supply routes you know what came over me he was like yeah i could see i could see the whole thing i could cause a lot of us if i was i could transport myself to two hundred years before i can see the little boy didn't it adam segal yes this was the family this was this was a very spot where this plane was taken i can feel the reality of it all remember these and i was also say at that point when i saw a few days i thought that the grammar was the day i could feel his spirit i
thought i felt him saying yes i'm home it is jeff beck people to see in those days some slaves sent out of africa and somewhere retained in africa how many africa and noble
skips loose was people keep slaves and i'm so at that time people would have fought his people would have thought that he most had grown to be a rich man a big man some way he may in faraway africa outside africa nobody had any idea what happened to those we have the shells of africa but had any idea whatsoever because at that time those who went beyond africa never came back nobody tell the story was only after the colonial the colonial masters began to return without the freed slaves some of whom hyatt so who had received little education and welcoming as missionaries this was a time when the stories began to feel to it but by sam minister had already begun it so they find it to be you know to the government when went back
and sent people there and a knowledge of human race mo do you know we the people that i spoke to there was not a single object lesson among the people i spoke to the dusty securities sam so does it impart about what place there's no industry and so all the young people who enter it if i had a miniature audie man remembering yet which is the closest thing to a city hall and opened town and then you know the most we live in vegas and when i spoke to would never have ever even heard about the book and this book is also a factor is the recession is over is it a fresh material it wasn't ready never collected novel anything like that and i never even saw the book or stumbled upon it began to walk an african studies with vision with special emphasis on the new
studies so is able to find out in the lab or as the financial marketplace so how people respond to that to write the story of his journey his life that it was unbelievable villagers began to gather people had what was having a reckoning was like a must read so money was like a big festival something was happening that will come to listen and he connected really they sat around the village square listening to new and you know they were all alone full of surprise and shock and awe you know people are seeing colonies into what had happened to somebody who were who saw about how our son who knows what happened to her son and one was last one was set was kidnapped on sea people are talking about and they say he became a big man and a white mask hundred and in what about in your book that part of the book called icy you know things like that that sort of sense of work were coming to casting around
asking questions about what happened to him and i was one was supplying them with information about what happened to him and at the time it was fun to telling him telling them about the latest in the first of four and if they force that i met when i went into the village was utter disbelief that wouldn't believe me isn't it they didn't believe it was possible farm in a lab why didn't have to be guess i'm a little less so like you have to be the ones that would have written a novel you would actually written a story that can help a lot of people are talking about in every way and the word it was his believe that you don't quite believe me and then also the year they were withdrawing from me they were watching me suspiciously at the nomination didn't know why i was there so i had to kind of economy back into the treasury but allow me to prepare
their minds and look for them to allow me to talk to them for them to respond to me for them to answer my questions you know so and so that was what about the proprietor stages to open up to me because they didn't know me there was no reason why they should open up and talk about the sun and also they were afraid that perhaps people will begin to ask questions about this boy was kidnapped and sold into slavery and perhaps what i was planning to find those who were guilty or whatever of that crime and they have somebody was going to go to jail if they confessed that something had happened to chat so the part of the voters that had encountered before they are able to feel free and talk to you what happened one eye fixed other stories on people began to cry and other people learn why does them shucked and people felt sorrow for people felt sorrowful they felt guilty
too but then again that was a deep and i had before we get into that when a part of that was happened there were not there this happened about two hundred or so years ago a whole and them even though this was athletic pitchers and idea and sisters they were not part of that that's evil and could not be held responsible budget cuts are afraid that such things could happen there's so many people from that was part of that are really in the world and so this is a large group of them instantly places there is the va hasn't talked to them about where that they're at many of them there are millions of africans
living far away from africa and to people i talked to don't even know the map of africa don't know how fire africa is you talk about your buck africa to them they would have a somewhat to talk about they know or getting to a designated looking for land they not perhaps nigeria but what what is africa so these religious the state is losing a little joke effect of these people so they he won some of them may have heard that and they're africans who are now leaving aside africa who comb a speech they could white men behave like a white person but that you know they also must have known that the west and the people's lives so just live in those days but the details of all that and how it came to happen and what is the fate of those that because one only does that africa is not known to these people but attempts at well essentially rule untouched it's i'm just one of millions of people
were taken from vermont wins the week at a larger impact that that the trade has been on that part well on the impact of that treaty or africa the direct impact or the slave trade and africa was the loss of millions of maine women and children who had they been still living in africa might have contributed to the mental technological intellectual development of africa i thought it was the great loss of human resources it so i'm equating on to be tempted to business it
or further africa us image and identity and as of the wallet africans with people with huge with this interesting as the enslaved songs and put us outside africa so the europeans you're american college of kind of viewed africa as just as these huge defeats in deposition say this we africa last face african hosts mind last saw it and you lost the potential progress to political and intellectual the direct impact is that up and one which is not often talked about which but which is definitely the case is that is that it is
not official describe for me was he captured and how his capture and tense also means owns the biggest change well i said the tiny windowless ann patchett he was then it was it is a war ii according to this to what he said said was eleven years old heather feeney might have been wounded because in africa it would tend to think they yelled at and they actually are because there are no records and also it wouldn't it's very fast
in the natural environment and the year the biggest muslim edge of measuring each mr paul from there for example you know time was there because people ask you when the blast know they don't know they don't recognize the passing of time and so evocative enough of speeches grenell was was that growing up in an environment where the sky was his meaning that the sky was a statement he had ever been going for him he had a rich parents he was an awfully noble parentage funding and extended family of judges arm and for my findings actually was known to his father was a judge he spoke was when judges to and actual chief judge of the village on the chief elder open to make enough money to enter the king of the village was he seldom seen uncle this was what i gather from my research program a hard evidently flowing and
there was money that was so name anyhow it was the ephemeral right off his parents according to what he said so his best loved him and it was very close to his mother who was in the process of teaching to become a warrior and he was equally very close to his father who are ways that you can to be a point where because we are judged and he always carried his father sent back another was enough attacking anyone and a child a boy who carries his father's back and for his father or out is the person who is being tipped too well four after the finest profession if either from he would be different if it defies a judge he would be that they lived in and judge of the family defied it today he would be the person who committed after the phone video that would go into politics but it would've been difficult for the five surviving the present was kerry's first act was that it was booming him to
take over from himself and so this was a this society where you get where he lived and it from always gather from the panel story there was no tension in his community his knishes people wept the nation of kansas when he uses the word nation actually means community because in it weren't for my from my research i found that they cannot be put the ad basically people people who listen in on music and dance and a guy called chaw because any music and dance integral to the culture of these people never even get to the camps and bands from morning till night and done sometimes tense and they have all kinds of musical instruments people high end to go and make music with another positive one and so the that was a kid with the music people
did people assume i had a dreadful i'm dead child which he had just four regions you would never suspect that he would have had a kind of fit that he hit so as boston let's listen to why he is it happened to a piano she was also that that encounter was captured shows that's anybody could've been captured after all said and done and all the structures that were put in place to protect the children of the noblest our good not having foolproof and a wall where are the other
and i think in the house was portrayed as the hand of providence that medicine is at bagram himself was captured because in the process off a chat from the kind of noble funny being being captured the the floor the families would have seen themselves that this practice is self destructive and it might have thought about it read getting this practice and i'm also before that the panel hotdog bloody wonderful and powerful what it is he had he was intelligence was daring he was he was it was bribes or stronger he had confidence he had quote rage he was looking up to a bright future that you know the fact that the church no that's because the letter was was captured and put into slavery perhaps was the
you know like the turning point is live itself the process because then he was all those qualities to fight to make sure that the story of the slave was heard that the practice of slavery was condemned and then they'd be the deep below the evils of live radio the title slavery was made public boats to the slave masters and to be enslaved and to the africans themselves who bought the patricia deceptive or so i think in a way that a metal sculpture made with a positive development into his justice livid because then we do with puns of character which a hat he put it all into fighting against hiv earl now in the world we think he expects his awareness of slavery in his own homework with respect is usually once he is captured are definitely when atlanta was
captured he was afraid he was expecting the worst but he did you know he couldn't describe the west was not possible for for anybody to describe something that he had never experienced that we're not go from the from from experiences living in africa who would have thought that you would just well you know the heat he might be a casino i didn't has of capturing the people who wear comfortable for you know for getting them and making the tournament and his four which our practices in the coffee so the court head hunters is are people who on where so the human head in a heads to him in a four four barry us off at kings and people of that nature so it can also maybe mistakenly worst he was the biggest winner he would need he would die or he would be sold into slavery would at the keel and the headhunters all soared into slavery is that it was
but i am sure he never imagined what that you know that actually happened to him or the gory details of the you know the emotional trauma these psychological trauma the fiscal trauma that he went through i don't think he would have ever imagined anything and nobody except those who actually experienced these experienced it can ever imagine that such court is possible and it from anchorman our soul also judging from africans in africa that if he thought that he might have ended up just leaving you would've thought well is just in a prison offsetting well and if you set your mother very well he gives his own plot of land uses only know if you if you walk very had you get some plot of land some livestock
on the plane well city ran us family must have had owned slaves because every family of which may feel rich man had slaves and from a root research on the waste laced with treated in africa i know that's still is that saddam was likely one would let the audience and the defense is that ah the seventies that is to say not allowed to do but believe in the same compounds in the same food that you know just go to the stream of that water altogether it
would if the forest and cut me if i would hand them in everything else that's what it was about what everyone else does but the thing is the sense of ownership that assess of novel freedom is there and the day of this day was not free to leave the compound on homes paid off he's one and go to another one state oklahoma to his parents multiple just as an effect and it escaped he would be perhaps solidify the acute or whatever so it was difficult for forces to escape but then by and to what happened two states for people were processed lives you know europe and america they gave people wet huckabee hundred s lives in africa wayne have of that comparison to that so i'm saying that the principles of the two slaves pain with that would witness the journalist lives in his father say a compound
in his village going to disinfect what i would make your friends with and eating with that so i'm this of course would not have disposed him to begin to imagine the kind of thing that would happen to him outside africa so you would have never have imagined can of that happened you would've thought you would it wouldn't be you know they do what would happen to you would be death after he was removed of that was cut to do what was a state was there but what has got what he got revenge it was worse than death oh yeah i would read to the impact of slavery on africa i say that southern slavery and the transatlantic trade credit a great loss and majorities of resources human resources intellectual
resources for africa because most of the people who were removed from africa were actually from the week from what my research has revealed these are actually people who were deaf yet it had foundered for for change for development for progress this is because africa's culture most african cultures and customs and f about communities we're very much afraid of change africa the way it handles court shortlist closer to aggressive quarter is an end unto itself pro choice not an end unto itself which is a process is a vehicle for development somebody in africa nobody want to change these days everyone's anything was that because to my it was taken us will it is the coach of a floppy because the cost of the people are that jordan do not question their parents and so it was not and if it had pushed on its parents it became it was seen as an abomination
if a woman were stunned her husband on issues of funding or be on funding it was seen as an abomination if people ask questions didn't ask questions of people want to to somewhat wanted to know somebody wanted to know why their for all we all are you know asking questions about why things went on how it will change in the status quo that's betts who was seen as a threat to the continued existence of that of that community and that culture a nurse's office people will swiftly removed in order to maintain the status quo so the water doesn't you will hear people see that time macy's and when it's useful with food because they committed abominations was lecturing us to be a crooner is on the how to define what an abomination in africa if you have tivo won this region and this to me is just committed an abomination and she was treated like a criminal he found a safe somebody's
just given the slave runs the littlest master it escalated at this best live has a clinton has committed an abomination has committed a crime and was leno with you if you wished her if that was what i said if you were if you were to do it today what haiti for example you fight for human rights that would hand you know is this if you stood up for the rights of the people that rest of the common that has to go up and pushed and the position of the nobles and society then you oppose the dadaab effect to the community and then somebody would average about this and it moved so in this way more than it would have yet who would have spearheaded development who would appoint new ideas would be beheading of change if you want to have because of change we're rebuffed i knew them because of those working with people who had a worm had the western mind and these are the candidate would eventually became bb camera event us beginning when he thanked us would you would be
given that you know people of great ideas will brought about great ideas and you know they feel resound whatever so i feel that because of the of being afraid of change because of the department and the status quo because of being killed for protective towards this culture and traditions and customs africa actually costs and incidents of some of the greatest minds of abundant continent and that is why ok linda and to speak about what can you catch an owl his passion changes
the mass culture did not actually changing when you read it you know you realize that time he was a very powerful character and he was set in his opinion about life about about about love and the men said this about one of the guys it cannot was an honorable man who was one hundred and he'd remained honorable to the end of these even as part of the brutalities a fight in the hands of people who we're not honorable he didn't change he didn't become like them hit is that hitting because of the treatment he received is that he once drove to change those people he
strove to use his narrative and he's actions and he's them he's no he's not in time each and he set up he's at ease is acceptance and respect off and that's given those who brutalized him he it is known to teach that lesson of how to be taking it so that it even if he had been changed by that experience he would have perhaps have begun to hit his thumb and tubs but he did not grow was it was like this is the length of your kind of person i think and it doesn't go into simple there is like a kind of jesus like it doesn't like nelson mandela michael like martin luther king led one of those who bought his cornish wolf human hatred this court of racism and he bought it as a lesson
to or unable it and he remained the same he remained on and changed except to say that he lost his own childish navy to do that may feel that on man and you know i'm an honorable a soap and then also a way could see at that price if you think that when you read it again at slate reading huckleberry finn in one week in one respect to say that when you hear the voice of the child and the voice of chad becomes aware of the child becomes a weapon four un for integrity in the beginning of the process of change because of changed from one committed to another from one person to another you see that peep you see the different nuances of human behavior that person essentially doesn't change the official winner remains the same
but the child needs you to see yourself as humanity the different nuances of behavior and how you define then you look at the definitions of conch shell and our productivity civilization savagery and you could see that i was being turned you could see the irony of that one cause another savage
Africans in America
Episode Number
The Terrible Transformation
Raw Footage
Interview with Catherine Acholonu, Associate Professor of English Literature, Awuku College of Education, Nigeria
Contributing Organization
WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/15-f76639m612).
Catherine Acholonu is interviewed about the importance of Equiano's narrative, how Africans reacted to the possibility of being stolen into slavery, Equiano's family's reaction when told about Equiano's story, Equiano's people and the difference between African slavery and American slavery.
Race and Ethnicity
American history, African Americans, civil rights, slavery, abolition, Civil War
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Chicago: “Africans in America; 101; The Terrible Transformation; Interview with Catherine Acholonu, Associate Professor of English Literature, Awuku College of Education, Nigeria ,” 1998-00-00, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2024,
MLA: “Africans in America; 101; The Terrible Transformation; Interview with Catherine Acholonu, Associate Professor of English Literature, Awuku College of Education, Nigeria .” 1998-00-00. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Africans in America; 101; The Terrible Transformation; Interview with Catherine Acholonu, Associate Professor of English Literature, Awuku College of Education, Nigeria . Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from