In it, Saro-Wiwa Junior wrote: “I am struck now as I was then at the way the letter is clearly written for public consumption as much as for my benefit. I bristled back then at the realisation that I was being served up as a piece of agitprop but now I can smile at the memory.
“I duly did my duty as instructed in the letter, getting the word out to the world’s media and defending my father right up to his execution and for some time after. In a way you could say it was the making of me as a man, a journalist and a writer – pretty much as he predicted in this letter.”
Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa was one of the Ogoni nine, hanged in 1995 along with eight others by the Nigerian government for his continued protest against treatment of the Ogoni people. His death caused international outrage and sparked the banning of Nigeria from the Commonwealth of Nations for over three years. Since his trial and execution, Saro-Wiwa has become a pillar of free expression and many of his letters and short stories have been published in Index on Censorship, along with pieces about his life’s work. Most recently his son, Ken Saro-Wiwa Junior, published “A letter from Ken Saro-Wiwa” on the 20th anniversary of his death. This reading list groups together a collection of these works.
Students and academics can browse the Index magazine archive in thousands of university libraries via Sage Journals.
Adam Newey and Ken Saro-Wiwa, November 1995; vol. 24, 6: pp. 164-166
Written while Saro-Wiwa was still on trial, Adam Newey writes about how many believe that he will be found guilty and sentenced to death. This is followed by an extract from a statement that Saro-Wiwa was prevented from reading out in court.