The Documentary BIAFRA TO ENGLAND is a culmination of StoneCrabs Theatre Company Odoya Nigeria! Heritage Project, supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund.
The project involved in-depth reserach and oral history interviews carried out by a working group led by award-winning playwright Bola Agbaje. This Documentary presents these individual histories: professionals, skilled workers and immigrants leaving Nigeria as a result of civil war in 1967-1970, and spotlights their contributions to shaping the social and cultural identities of London communities.
“The language of oral history is spoken, not written. Written language of course has its beauties. At its best it is polished, precise, elegant and considered, the result of a series of carefully re-written drafts. But it tends not to have the immediacy, the wonderful spontaneity of spoken language. And then there is the actual sound of the voice. I am very pleased to see that this project is producing not only this excellent book but also a DVD, on which the voices themselves may be heard. Oral history captures spoken voices – the intonations, the emphases, the pauses – and of course the specific vocabulary and accent that results from life in a particular time in a particular social milieu in a particular place. This is invaluable.
This publication is a remarkable one, exploring life-changing events through the words of those who have lived through them. The contributors look back on the rich complexities of ethnic, religious, cultural and political conflict, on the role of state propaganda and of beliefs that counter such blandishments; they pass on to us their personal, lived experience of post-colonialism and of adapting to life in the UK. These testaments are important, for Nigerians in Britain and those in Nigeria, as well as for the wider public. And they are particularly important for the descendants of all those who lived through these events, for, as on of the contributors comments, ‘A river that forgets its source will run dry.’” Rib Davis – Oral Historian