Wednesday 5 April 2017
Review by Peter Flack of "Radio Sunrise" by Anietie Isong
Anietie Isong's Radio Sunrise is a bitter satire on life in post colonial Nigeria that would have pleased fellow Nigerian musician and political commentator Fela Kuti. It is the story of Ifiok, a radio journalist who wants to produce radio drama and do the right thing from the point of view of story telling, but keeps on running into nepotism, superstition and politics. It's a world of brown envelopes that would have even satisfied Neil Hamilton.
Ifiok's radio show is cut due to government pressure for more time for religious broadcasts and official announcements, so Ifiok accepts a news job. He is sent back to his home region to report on the successful conversion of former extremists who engaged in attacks on oil pipe lines and kidnappings to peaceful educational pursuits. Ifiok teaches them how to make documentaries. Meanwhile the government has reneged on its agreement with the oppositionists, so they make a special documentary, for national consumption.
This is a witty, sardonic book, that looks at the failings of human nature with a kindly heart. But it is still an incisive piece of satire. Do yourself a favour. Read it.
About the reviewer
Peter Flack is a former teacher and member of the National Union of Teachers. He is co-founder of the Whatever it Takes literacy project and chair of Everybody's Reading Festival in Leicester.