Monday, 5 June 2017


On Friday, June 2, 2017, Onyeka Nwelue screened his documentary – The house of Flora Nwapa to a select audience. The event was held at the International Institute for Creative Development, Abuja. The Institute was founded by Mr. Ndubuisi Nduwhite Ahanonu is well known centre for creative activities.

The documentary traced the life and times of Flora Nwapa the first published African writer. Her first novel Efuru, was published 50 years ago.

Flora Nwapa was born on January 13th, 1931 in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, She attended Oguta CMS Central School, Archdeacon Crowther Memorial Girls School, Elelenwo, Rivers State; CMS Girls Grammar School, Lagos, and Queens College, Yaba, Lagos in 1951-52. She proceeded to the University College Ibadan (University of Ibadan) in 1953 where she graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in Art (BA) in 1957.  The next year, she went to the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and finished with a Diploma in education.

Upon her return to Nigeria in 1959, she became an educational officer in Calabar, Cross River State. She later taught English and Geography at Queens School, Enugu. Between 1962-1964, she became the Assistant Registrar (Public Relations) at the University of Lagos. In 1965, she went into professional career in writing which projected her and Igbo women in international scene when her first novel Efuru was in published in 1966.  When the Nigerian Civil War over Biafra broke out, Flora and her family fled Lagos for East Central State and from 1970-1971, she was appointed the first female Commissioner for Health and Social Welfare for the East Central State under the leadership of Ajie Ukpabi Aska (1970-1975), with that position, she was the first Nigerian woman to be so appointed.

The hall was filled to the brim with anxious audience looking forward to the documentary and they were not disappointed as Onyeka had reached out to interview many of her family members and those of the literary community. The interview took her to many places within and outside the country.

Some of those interviewed included; her brother - Christopher Cfine Nwapa, her sister - Weruche Emeruem, her children- Ejine Nzerbe, Uzoma and Amede, her co-wife - Maudylne Nwakuche and other extended family members of the family - Leslie Obiorah, Charles Oputa.

Among those interviewed from the literary community included Prof Wole Soyinka, Prof. Akachi Ezigbo, Prof. Mabel Segun, Denja Abdullahi, Dr. Wale Okediran, Jahman Anikulapo, James Currey, Publisher and former editor of Heinemann and myself (Chinyere Obi-Obasi).

Dr. Sabine J. Balhse, Mitterand Okojie and Akuzzor Anozie were also interviewed.

The only regret was that her second husband; Gogo Nwakuche who was described as having inferiority complex by Flora Nwapa’s brother refused to grant Onyeka an interview. 
Interestingly however, the second wife of Gogo Nwakuchee; Maudylne Nwakuche spoke glowingly of Flora Nwapa.

At the end of the screening, the audience clapped in appreciate of the work Onyeka Nwelue had done.

Onyeka seized the opportunity to thank all those who provided him with one assistance or the other.

On the quality of the documentary which is already penciled down for the AMAA Awards, Onyeka Nwelue explained that when he got the idea, he did not want to wait or waste time. Unable to get funds except $1,200  from GoFundMe, he decided to make do with what he had.

He explained that he was already working on another documentary; the life and times of the oldest band member of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

The evening ended with the audience being treated to assorted drinks and Jollof rice and a lot of people seizing the opportunity to take pictures with Onyeka Nwelue.

It was a fitting way to spend the evening.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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