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Fiction Friday: “Village Christmas” by Mike Ekunno

African Roar 2013As we enter the festive season, today’s Fiction Friday tells the story of Christmas celebrations in Enugu, Nigeria, in the time “after the war”.

The protagonist in “Village Christmas” by Mike Ekunno, a contributor to African Roar 2013, is fascinated by the prospect of witnessing the masquerade group with their Nwikpo, “conjured from ant holes in the ground with the drumming and singing”, but first there is the slaughtering of the Christmas goat, the Christmas cooking, dressing in their Christmas best and church.

“It was the first Christmas after the war. The war during which we lived away from home and moved houses three times, whenever ‘the enemy’ approached. It was the war that burnt our ‘upstairs- building’. We returned and met the first floor burnt. Daddy’s informants swore our country home was burnt before the enemy entered the village. It was not a war casualty. It was casualty to jealousy, home grown jealousy. Ours was one of the few ‘upstairs’ around the community and had to be cut to size – literally.

“After the war, Daddy was recalled to his job at the Park Lane Hospital and we went back to live at Enugu. Christmas brought the family back to the countryside. We travelled in Dad’s Peugeot 403 which survived the war by being suspended on sandcrete blocks and covered in palm fronds.

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