Articles and reviews


Written by Bada Yusuf Amoo

Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s “In Dependence” revolves around two major characters, Omotayo Ajayi and Vanessa Richardson, both of whom met, fell in love, but had their love affair turned, twisted, and ruined by elements such as cultural differences, racial differentiations, familial pressure, political upheaval, distance, remoter commitments, and most important of all, fate. All through the story, we see the manifestation of love, longed for, unrequited, toyed with, abused, betrayed, and unfulfilled. Around the dominant theme of love are: the weight of history (political and social), the phenomenon of racism, the process of ageing, the impact of travelling and exposure, the guiding of family secrets; etc.

In 1963, Tayo Ajayi, an exceptionally brilliant 19 year old graduate of Fiditi Boys College, Ibadan, won a scholarship to study in England. His destination was Balliol College, in Oxford England. His success brought untold joy, particularly to his father (Inspector Adeniyi Ajayi, whom everyone fondly called ‘Baba’), his mother (fondly called ‘Mama’), and his polygamous and extended family (the Ajayis). As he prepared to leave for Oxford, he was pampered by everybody, and his going with his father from one relative’s house to another to seek their collective blessings reminds us of the halcyon days of communal living when everyone cared about others, and one person’s success was seen as a shared success. He got pieces of advice from everybody, especially Uncle Bola, Uncle Kayode, as well as the Headmaster of his school, Mr. Faircliff, who came with other white teachers (Mrs. Burton, teaching Latin; Mr. Clark, teaching Maths; and Mr. Blackburn, teaching British Empire History).

On board the ship to Oxford, he met two Nigerian students, Mr. Lekan Olajide (from Ogbomosho) and Mr. Ibraheem Mohammed (from Kaduna), both of whom were also travelling to different places abroad, for schooling. In his first letter to his father, written on the 27th November, 1963, about two weeks after leaving Nigeria, Tayo narrated his travelling experience on board the ship and his efforts at properly acclimatizing to Oxford life. Two weeks after receiving Tayo’s letter, Baba wrote him back, and in his letter, he informed Tayo of the different happenings at home, politically, socially, and in the family – his mother was preparing to go to Mecca.

Tayo Ajayi met three other Nigerians in Oxford: Mr. Ike Nwandi (studying History), Mr. Bolaji Oladipo (studying Law at Magdalen) and Miss Christine Arinze (studying Modern Languages at St. Hilda’s). Also, he eventually met Professor Edward Maximillan Barker (with his Italian wife, Isabella Barker), to whom he had been recommended by Headmaster Faircliff. The affable couple warmly welcomed him and invited him to dinner.

No sooner had Tayo met the very beautiful Christine than he began to forget Modupe, his first love, back in Nigeria. He tried to justify his switching affection by saying he and Modupe had been too young to make promises to each other; that his three years of being in England would be too long a time for them to be apart at their tender ages (p.10). Christine was quick to fall in love with Tayo, as it seemed she was desperate for companionship.

However, it wasn’t long before she and Tayo began having differences, threatening their relationship. Tayo’s eventual meeting with Vanessa Richardson further deepened the rift between him and Christine. Their relationship was short-lived, as Tayo’s affection sooner switched to Vanessa.
As African countries began gaining independence, several associations began to spring up within and outside Africa, organizing meetings, conferences, etc. all aimed at fashioning out ideas and policies needed to strengthen the African states newly becoming independent. One of such associations was the West African Society (WAS), established at Balliol. African youths schooling abroad, such as Ike Nwandi, Bolaji Oladipo, Francis, Tayo Ajayi, Simon, Christine, etc, all were members of the WAS. The meetings of the West African Society created the platform where Africans and African enthusiasts converged to discuss issues affecting Africans and the African states newly attaining independence.

As Tayo and Vanessa saw each other more often, their love deepened, and the more their love deepened, the fainter Tayo’s affection for Christine got. Christine once tried to win back Tayo’s attention by inviting him to her flat (pp.20&21) and confessing to him her fear and depression, caused by the sky-high expectations of her family from her, and that meeting only ended in the two kissing each other.

Tayo and Vanessa continued seeing each other regularly, and they would talk about each other’s families – Tayo’s polygamous, extended, middle-class family, bonded strongly by the shared traditional Yoruba values and customs and by their deep-rooted communal culture; and Vanessa’s posh but weird family, with a very pleasant grandfather; a very racist and anti-black father (Mr. Jonathan Richardson); an amiable, Africa-loving but alcohol-drinking mother; and an unserious, unmarried Uncle Tony, who preferred male sexual partners to women.

Vanessa, unlike her father, had always liked Africa, and that explained why she joined the Labour club called JACARI (Joint Action Committee Against Racial Inequality), and later becoming a regular member of the West African Society. It was on her first day at the WAS meeting that she met Tayo Ajayi. Vanessa didn’t enjoy visiting her parents’ home in Aberleigh, London, because of her malicious, ex-colonial officer father, but she often visited, because of the kinder mother.

In 1965, on Vanessa’s invitation, Tayo visited her family home for a Christmas party. There, he got humiliated, by being deliberately treated as a servant by some of Mr. Richardson’s colonial officer friends from South Africa. While she convinced Tayo to sleep over, Vanessa shielded him from meeting with her father, and she apologised to him profusely for the harassment. The two shared the same passions – Literature, Music, African Independence and African politics. With Simon and his girlfriend (Nina), Vanessa and Tayo journeyed to Paris, in France. Vanessa knew so much about Paris and she made the visit very exhilarating for him. However, their romantic adventure took a sad turn when news reached Tayo, through telegram, that Christine had killed herself (p.39). The news shattered him, as guilt haunted him, because he felt he must have, in some way, had a hand in her death. He had refused to reply many notes she sent to him, in which she asked for his attention. Now, he felt “her desires to please with academic success” largely contributed to her death. Christine died on April 4, 1965.

Vanessa and Tayo grew so fond of each other and they trusted each other’s brilliance so much that each foresaw a wondrous future for each other. Tayo was confident that Vanessa was going to become a renowned journalist someday (p.37), and Vanessa nursed the conviction that Tayo Ajayi was going to become a Chancellor or a professor sometime in the future (p.46). While in France with her family – Mr. Jonathan Richardson, Mrs Richardson, Uncle Tony, Madame Pagnole (Vanessa’s maternal grandparents’ chef), Mr. Murdoch (Mr. Richardson’s ex-colonial officer friend) and his wife (Mrs. Nancy Murdoch) – Vanessa wrote a letter (on 30th June, 1965) to Tayo, who, then, was in Bradford, England, with his cousin, Tunde, and another friend, Yusuf.

They had their fair share of quarrels – over Tayo’s lie to her about his true relationship with Christine, over Tayo’s friend’s lie about getting married to Joyce (a young British lady) but ending up marrying Joy (a Nigerian lady) – but they later soon reconciled. They both ended up spending the New Year’s Eve at the home of Tayo Ajayi’s benefactors, Professor Edward Maximillan Barker and his wife Isabella Barker, where, for the first time, they had sex, and twice (p.65). Tayo’s soldier uncle, Uncle Kayode, visited the following day, and his visit so much delighted Vanessa, as that was the first time she would be meeting someone from Tayo’s family. Uncle Kayode thrilled her with his joviality and eloquence, such that Vanessa felt that, with an uncle like this, she would feel certain that she would love the rest of Tayo’s family. (p.69)

By 1966, Tayo completed his study at Balliol College, Oxford, and obtained a First Class degree. Shortly after then, Vanessa’s father invited him to come and give a lecture on Nigeria to his students at Bellamy Boys School, and this really surprised Tayo. He delivered a dazzling speech, in which he properly enlightened the young British students at Bellamy about the true picture of Nigeria, for they had earlier been misinformed about Nigeria. After the speech, Tayo was more surprised to get rousing commendation from his lover’s racist father, who, cunningly, let Tayo know he (Tayo) couldn’t marry his daughter. When Vanessa was later told, reluctantly, by Tayo, about her father’s disapproval of their union, she vowed to Tayo that she would rather disown her own family than to lose Tayo (p.72). After separating from each other that night, Tayo gained some strange confidence and he vowed to himself he was going to propose to Vanessa, but then, he received an urgent message from home, in Nigeria: Baba is in hospital, recovering. Return home immediately. (p.73)

On 28th July, 1966, Tayo returned to Nigeria; returning as a changed man, a lettered man. Now at home, nostalgic memories of his growing up days came back to him. On 29th July, 1966, while a crowd of people gathered in front of his father’s house, having heard there had just been a military coup, Tayo came out of the house and saw Modupe, his long abandoned girlfriend, now a married woman. The military head of state, General Aguiyi Ironsi had just been overthrown and killed. That event and many other unexpected happenings – Baba’s suffering his second heart attack, Uncle Kayode in danger, as a military man, etc. – unsettled Tayo so much that he couldn’t write to Vanessa.

Finally, in 1967, while the Nigerian civil war was going on, Vanessa received Tayo’s first letter from Nigeria, in which he narrated the many ordeals at home that had prevented him from writing her. Despite his assurances to her of his love, she couldn’t bear his absence any longer. She left England, and, defying all odds and risking her life, she arrived in Lagos, Nigeria. Though he scolded her for taking such risk, Tayo lodged her into a hotel in Lagos. There at the hotel, they had fun, and then, she got the shocker! Tayo had impregnated another woman! There, they split, and were never to see again for many years.

The SECOND PART of the book spanned 24 years, 1970 to 1994. After splitting with Tayo, in 1967, Vanessa had gone to seek an escape in St. Louis, Senegal, staying there with one of Uncle Tony’s friends. Rather than return to England, she had decided to remain in Africa, basically because he wanted to stay closer to Tayo, in spite of her anger over his betrayal. However, she found it too hard to get over her depression. So, she finally returned to England, wanting to continue with her studies but she couldn’t! So, she resorted to doing some casual jobs until she met Tayo’s benefactor, professor Edward Maximillan Barker, who, having learnt about all that had happened to her, advised her to return to Senegal. He gave her the names and addresses of some friends she could link up with in Senegal. So, she returned to Senegal. Then, she lost her new Senegalese friend, Salamatou, in a fatal accident. After Salamatou’s death, Vanessa adopted her only child, Suleiman.

Omotayo Ajayi later got married to Miriam, the lady he impregnated in 1967, during his one year separation from Vanessa. Though Miriam lost the first pregnancy, she later had another one, and later had a baby girl, named Kemi. Tayo first met Miriam shortly after he returned from England, during his father’s sickness. Miriam so caringly took care of Baba while he suffered a stroke and she nursed him till he fully recovered. Every member of the Ajayi family grew to love her, and then, Tayo fell in love with her, though he later confessed that he had fallen in love with her in his time of weakness, that Vanessa was his true love (p.97). He and Miriam later relocated from Ibadan to Jos, on Miriam’s prompting.

Vanessa finally left Senegal in 1975, with his adopted son, Suleiman. She returned to England on hearing that her mother was seriously sick. July 15, 1976, she got married to Professor Edward Maximillan Barker, Tayo’s old benefactor in Oxford. Not long after then, in 1978, her mother passed away.

By 1984, Omotayo Ajayi, now in his middle age, had become a highly celebrated scholar, human right activist, and professor of History, and he was lecturing at the University of Jos. In spite of the many coups that had taken place in the country, and the huge political disappointment and betrayals that Nigerians had suffered at that time, Tayo remained so committed to fighting for the liberation of the country from the shackles of the military rulers, and he continually dreamt and strove for a better Nigeria. He wished Nigerians would just be patriotic enough and patronize locally made goods; and he wished Nigerians would just stay back in the country, rather than fleeing abroad, to help in rescuing the crumbling nation. In spite his patriotic attitude, he was still being accused by his wife (Miriam), his younger sister (Bisi) and some other relatives that he was far too English in the way he dressed, in the music he listened to, and in his preference for speaking English rather than Yoruba. Tayo and Miriam’s daughter, Kemi, was growing into an intelligent and very inquisitive young lady.

Tayo’s undying affection for Vanessa would always make other women seem inferior to him. He always disliked Miriam’s simplicity, contrasting it with Vanessa’s intellectual prowess, and he would wish Miriam was more inquisitive (p.94). Tayo had reunited with his England-trained compatriot, Yusuf, who had, by 1984, become a District Manager of NEPA (National Electrical Power Authority), with his wife (Joy) holding a senior position at NTA (Nigerian Television Authority). Tayo felt sad that in spite of Ike’s revolutionary principles back in school, he had now joined politics and had forgotten all the great ideals he preached to get into power. When in power as the minister of Education, Ike had refused to do anything significant to revamp the dying educational system.

A return to civilian rule, in 1979, had rejuvenated the dying or dead hopes of Many Nigerians, including Tayo. However, it wasn’t long before the revived hopes started waning again, and some people, including Tayo, were longing for a military take-over. Despite now having a democratic government (of Shehu Shagari) installed, the hardship in the country had continued unabated and more citizens were becoming disillusioned and were fleeing the country.

By 1984, Uncle Kayode and his wife, Aunty Bayo, had been divorced, over his extra marital affair with another woman, Helene. Aunty Bayo had immediately left Nigeria, after the divorce. Tayo and his wife, with their daughter had visited Uncle Kayode, like always, for the summer holiday, and they had planned, as usual, to visit Mama, in Ibadan, as well as some other relatives in Ibadan. However, Tayo suddenly found a tempting opportunity (p.101) when he met, at Uncle Kayode’s place, a carver (named Akin), who was into carving statutes of old colonial officers, and who knew someone that knew so much about Lord Lugard, the famous British High Commissioner to Nigeria. Tayo had been longing to write about the man, and he wouldn’t let the opportunity slip away, even if he had to disappoint his family by disorganizing all their well-thought out plans for the holiday. Miriam was justified accusing Tayo of caring too much about work than his family.

The trip with Akin had taken Tayo far away to the village of Atan to meet with an old sage and custodian of old tales of colonial days. Tayo ended up staying for three days in the village, because, the old sage was always busy with visitors or playing the game of ayo, and Tayo himself was busy attending to people, who had trooped to see him on hearing that a certain professor had arrived in the village. They wanted him to help their children secure admission into the university. Tayo was finally able to speak with the sage on the third day and he succeeded in extracting from the old man as much information as possible from him.

Unfortunately, on returning back to uncle Kayode’s house in Lagos, Tayo got the shattering news that his mother (Mama) had died in a car accident. Mama, having waited fruitlessly for Tayo and his family to come visit her, had decided to come meet them in Uncle Kayode’s house, but the car she was in suffered an accident. She was buried according to the Islamic tradition, and Tayo was so sad, haunted by guilt, feeling he had, once again, been responsible for the death of yet another woman she loved so much.

After Mama’s death, the mass exodus (people fleeing the country) continued. It’s 1985, and another coup had just occurred to topple the civilian government and impose the Babangida regime, and people had become more apprehensive. Miriam pressured Tayo to let them relocate abroad, where things were relatively better but Tayo would rather stay back in Nigeria and inspire many others, especially the youths, to fight relentlessly against the deepening injustices and worsening corruption in the government. He and Miriam had hot arguments and quarrels over the need to relocate abroad, but Tayo would not be shaken by her repeated requests borne out of frustration. In 1989, Miriam left Nigeria with her daughter, Kemi.

Tayo also witnessed and so much felt the frustration in the country, but he determined to stay back, notwithstanding. He once received a huge amount of bribe money from the government, to stop him from complaining about government policies. Then, Tayo met Hawa, whom he later reluctantly began to date. He grew more frustrated as days passed, and things grew worse, especially educationally. He felt sad about how much the educational standard had fallen. Then, he was arrested by some soldiers manning some roadblocks. They warned him to stop harassing the government with his activism, and he was badly beaten.

After Tayo published his biography of Lord Lugard, his fame climbed higher, especially outside the country. He became more popular internationally, and that made it difficult for the military government in Nigeria to touch him again, for fear that he had become an international citizen, and hurting him might make many international communities fight them back. Then, he had gone abroad to receive an award, over the book, and then, he and Vanessa met again in 1994; after TWENTY SEVEN YEARS!

They tried to catch up on lost time, chatting companionably about happenings in their individual lives. Tayo was shocked to hear that Vanessa had been married to Professor Edward Barker, just as Vanessa was also amazed to know Tayo had divorced his wife. It had been 18 years that she had been married to Professor Barker, and twenty seven years that she and Tayo went their separate ways.

Vanessa had been struggling to properly mother her adopted son, Suleiman, who was now 18 years. Vanessa would often reminisce the fond memories of raising him since his mother’s death (p.136), and would be saddened by how he had grown into a very tough young man, influenced largely by the wild world of the university. Since she met Tayo again, they had both rekindled their habit of communicating through letters, through which they share fond memories and profound personal experiences.

Vanessa’s unrepentantly racist father had been confined to the home for the elderly, called The Carrington Home for the Elderly, where he now lived with other senile aged people, including Mrs. Nancy Murdoch, the nasty wife of his old friend. Vanessa would visit him often, and would scantily chat with him or help him cut his nails. Before her father was brought to the care home, Vanessa would avoid speaking to him or seeing him, because he had bluntly refused to accept Suleiman as Vanessa’s son and him as his grandfather.

The military government’s shutting down of the University of Jos in 1998 seemed to be the last trying experience that finally broke Tayo’s stubborn determination to remain in Nigeria. He now determined to leave the country temporarily (for about six months). While on his way to the airport, driven by his driver, Abdou, Tayo longed for the journey to end quickly so he would again see his old girlfriend, Vanessa. Sadly, a ghastly accident occurred that claimed the life of the driver (Abdou), and made Tayo sustain some leg injury.

Sometime during the summer of 1998, while Tayo waited for his leg to recover, he lived with his daughter, Kemi, in her one-bedroom flat in San Francisco, America. Kemi had organized the trip for him to come to the US, flying him through France. This prevented him from seeing Vanessa in London, as he had planned before the accident. He felt very unhappy he had to depend on her daughter and her meager salary, and he longed to get well soon, so he could resume his active life. He and Kemi weren’t best friends, as she was still hurting over his choosing his work over his family, letting her and her mother move to struggle by themselves, in America. He didn’t like Kemi’s chef boyfriend, Laurent, because he didn’t have a university education and also because he was a chef. Pushed to the wall by his attitude, Kemi once confronted him and lashed out at him. Her outburst shocked him and he, for the first in a long time, realized how much he had wronged the women he claimed to love (p.147): Mama, Miriam, Christine, Vanessa, Kemi, and even Hawa. He wished he could just go away from all these people, left everyone in peace.

He was shocked to hear, from Kemi’s conversation with Laurent, that Miriam had been responsible for his medical expenses. The realization deeply sobered him and he began making efforts to regain his daughter’s love, and by extension, apologize to his wife. He soon succeeded in scaling the first hurdle – regaining Kemi’s love.
Kemi had been working as a nanny with the grandchildren of Professor John Hopkins, a professor of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco University. She later introduced her father to him, and the man offered Tayo a part-time lecturing job in the department. Tayo reluctantly accepted the offer, because he felt he needed to help his daughter with some money. There at the San Francisco University, Tayo later met his old friend of Balliol College days, Kwame, who had been at the university for seven years, teaching arts.

His legs had almost healed, and he was regaining his vibrant life. Then, he received the news of the death of the Nigerian head of state, General Sanni Abacha, and his hopes of a better Nigeria resurfaced. Shortly after that, while he was preparing towards return to Nigeria, he got the news that Obasanjo had been elected president of Nigeria, bringing him to power the second time, but now as a civilian president, having come earlier as a military president. Then, shortly after, a package arrived for him, from the Nigerian Embassy It was a letter from Oxford. He had been awarded an honourary degree from Oxford.

He later travelled to Oxford to receive the award, along with five other honorees: two got doctorates of Civil Law; one got a doctorate of Music; another got a doctorate in Science. Tayo and one other person got the honorary doctorate of Literature. (p.157). His Family (Uuncle Kayode, Bisi, Miriam and Kemi), his friends (Bolaji, Vanessa, Suleiman, etc) and many other well-wishers all gathered at Oxford to honour him. While Suleiman and Kemi tried to bond, Tayo and Vanessa spent valuable time together chatting away into late night, in their attempts to make up for some of the lost time.

About to be sixty years, Tayo aspired to retire from full university teaching job, as the retirement age in Nigerian universities was sixty. He wished he could go back in time and change the course of events in their lives. In spite of all the odds, they were happily reunited, though never as a couple, but as intimate friends.
What became of Tayo’s college friends in their later lives? Bolaji was appointed professor of International Law at Nottingham; Francis had acquired an American accent and citizenship, and was working in the US, for the State Department in Washington DC; Yusuf first became the District Manager for NEPA (National Electrical Power Authority) and had later started several Christian television stations; Ike had become a popular politicians, and had once been the minister of education; Tunde, became the pastor of the fastest growing Nigerian Church in London; and Vanessa became a celebrated white journalist writing about Africa. Some of the interesting features found in the book are: Bildungsroman, Realism, and Epistolary.

Bildungsroman is a special kind of novel that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of its main character from his or her youth to adulthood. This is what we see happen to Tayo (and Vanessa too) in the course of the story, as his maturation processes are sequentially spotlighted, starting from his last teenage year (19), to his travelling out of the country to get educated in Oxford, to his finding love, his romantic experimentations, his keeping up with cultural and familial connections, his political activism, his trials, his elevations, etc. In the long run, he grew psychologically and morally.

Realism is the faithful representation of reality. This story may be loosely classified as a REALIST story, with the recurrent reference to the actual names of places (Ibadan, Lagos, Balliol, Oxford, Bradford, France, Atan, Lagos, Jos, Paris, etc), the persistent reference to specific periods in the history of Nigeria (the Nigeria’s independence and its development politics, the political coups in Nigeria, the historical movements across the world in the 60’s and above, etc.), the accurate portrayal of the realities in the human world (the love, the hatred, the racism, the politics, the Yoruba cultural realities, etc.)

Epistolary is used to describe stories written in the form of letters. In the story, we see the recurrent use of the letter medium to connect people and happenings. It may be said that the author used that style, to capture the social realities of that time, when letter writing was a very common form and medium through which people got connected, narrating and sharing their experiences. Aside the mention of telegram as a medium of sending very short messages, in the story, and the scanty mention of radio and television as means of passing and receiving information, letter writing was a major medium of communication; hence the story may be described as partly epistolary

1. Which of these is not part of what Tayo complained of, about Oxford, in his first letter to Baba, from Oxford? (a) Nobody in Oxford liked Africans (b) The sun sets by 5.30pm (c) The people of Oxford are not very friendly (d) People do not greet each other in passing
2. Pick out the odd item from the list (a) Mr. Richardson (b) Mrs. Burton (c) Mr. Blackburn (d) Mr. Clark
3. At what age did Omotayo first arrive at Oxford for studies? (a) 16 (b) 18 (c) 19 (d) 20
4. Omotayo was sixty by the end of the story. Considering the age he was when the story began, how many years of his life did the story cover? (a) 30 (b) 50 (c) 25 (d) 41
5. Which, of these, does not add to the quality of REALISM as portrayed in the story? (a) recurrent reference to the actual names of places (b) persistent reference to specific periods in the history of Nigeria (c) repeated reference to Tayo and Vanessa (d) the accurate portrayal of the realities in the human world
6. When Tayo first met Miriam, which three things did he like about her? (a) her youthfulness (b) her simplicity (c) her steadfast faith in God (d) her being a virgin.
7. All through the story, we see love, being ___ (a) longed for but unfulfilled (b) effortlessly pinned down (c) unrequited and toyed with (d) abused and betrayed.
“In a few hours, he would be seeing his old girlfriend, a married woman whom he still loved; a woman married to his old benefactor.” (p.142)
8. “His old girlfriend”, “a married woman whom he still loved”, and “a woman married to his old benefactor” all refer to who? (a) Hawa (b) Christine (c) Vanessa (d) Isabella Barker
9. Who is being referred to as “he”? (a) Yusuf (b) Ike (c) Omotayo (d) Suleiman
10. “…his old benefactor” refers to (a) Mr. Faircliff (b) Mr. Maximillan Edward Barker (c) Mr. Jonathan Richardson (d) Uncle Tony
11. “Anyone saying Africa makes no contribution to history or culture is not only racist but stupid.” Who said this? (a) Prof. Edwards Barker (b) Ike (c) Kwame (d) Bolaji
12. Which of these will not be a possible theme in the story? (a) political and emotional disappointment (b) familial loyalty and bond (c) inter-ethnic clashes (d) transformation through travel and exposure
13. Pick out the odd item from the following (a) Modupe (b) Miriam (c) Vanessa (d) Christine
14. Where did Christine and Tayo first meet? (a) at the first meeting of the West African Society (b) at a drinks party organized by Mr. and Mrs. Barker for foreign students (c) at the matriculation ceremony organized by oxford University for fresh students (d) at an off-campus luncheon for African students.
15. “No, I’m serious… I’m telling you that unless this country is ruled by force, we are all doomed…” Who said these? (a) Uncle Kayode (b) Yusuf (c) Kwame (d) Uncle Bayo
16. In what three ways did Tayo show too much white man’s mentality? (a) the way he was dressing (b) the kinds of music he was listening to (c) his refusal to leave Nigeria to live abroad (d) his preference for speaking English rather than Yoruba
17. Mrs Richardson, Vanessa’s mother due to which of these? (a) smoking and drinking (b) cancer (c) HIV (d) Malaria
18. Tayo was a lecturer in which universities? (a) University of London and Oxford University (b) Lagos State university and University of Cambridge (c) (d) University of Jos and San Francisco State University
19. Which of these people inspired Tayo towards activism? (a) Malcolm X (b) Michael Jackson (c) Victor Uwaifoh (d) Inspector Adeniyi Ajayi
20. All these, except one, describe the story (a) epistolary (b) realistic (c) bildungsroman (d) detective
22. Vanessa’s family is made up of all but one of these (a) Mrs. Richardson (b) Mrs. Richardson (c) Uncle Tony (d) Mrs. Nancy Murdoch
23. Jane, Mehul, Charlie, Gita, and Pat are all friends to (a) Christine (b) Madame Pagnole (c) Vanessa (d) Miriam
24. The relationship between Tayo and Vanessa was ruined by all of these except one (a) racial and cultural differences (b) familial pressure (c) religious differences (d) the Nigerian political unrest
25. Events in the story cut across all these locations except one (a) Dakar (b) Atan (c) Balliol (d) Conakry
26. Tayo also worries about whether his own family will accept Vanessa, and whether she will be able to live in African society.
27. Which of these is not true about Tayo’s mother? (a) She once left Tayo’s father for some time to be with another man before returning to Tayo’s father (b) She was a muslim (c) She was a very successful business woman (d) She was the last of Tayo’s father’s wives
28. Vanessa hated her father for the following reasons except one (a) He refused to accept her relationship with Tayo (b) He was a brutish racist (c) He refused to accept Suleiman as his grandson (d) He vowed he would never visit Nigeria.
29. Which of these is not part of where Tayo lived? (a) Bradford (b) San Francisco (c) Ibadan (d) France
30. Tayo lived in Bradford with which of these pairs? (a) Bolaji and Kwame (b) Tunde and Yusuf (c) Christine and Simon (d) Yusuf and Segun
31. Which of these is not true about what Tayo’s college friends turned out to be in their later lives? (a) Bolaji became a professor of International Law at Nottingham (b) Francis was working in the US, for the State Department in Washington DC (c) Yusuf had started several Christian television stations (d) Ike became the governor of his state, in Nigeria. (e) Tayo’s cousin, Tunde, became the pastor of the fastest growing Nigerian Church in London
32. What three things make Tayo enjoy teaching at San Francisco State University? (a) the students (b) the many African lecturers in the school (c) the easy access to materials from the library (d) the opportunity to work on his own writing
Sarah Ladipo M. 2016 In Dependence. Cassava Republic. Ibadan, Nigeria.
(c) Adebesin Ibraheem. 2017

About the author

Bada Yusuf Amoo

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