Main Article Content
This paper appraises gender issues in alcohol consumption in Africa, in terms of processing and control using Oladuah Equiano’s autobiography- Equiano’s Travels, Flora Nwapa’s Efuru, and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. These three literary texts are thoughtfully chosen for the study, in view of the fact that Equiano pioneered African literature, and advanced by Flora Nwapa and Chinua Achebe in their debut, Efuru and Things Fall Apart, published in 1966 and 1958, respectively. In Equiano’s Travels, published in 1789, Equiano capture and document the Igbo lifestyle in its nativity. Scholars have attempted to look at the works of these literary titans from several perspectives and themes but, to the best of the knowledge of these researchers, they have not enquired into the Igbo lifestyle in alcohol consumption and given it the desired academic attention as amply presented in the literary works of these literary paragons and pathfinders, as the present study intends to do. While Achebe looks at the traditional humane living of Igbo society in the hinterland in its pre-colonial period, Nwapa discusses the lifestyle and folkways of Igbo Lake people of Oguta. Nwapa presents a segment of this Igbo society, which grants women access to alcoholic drink in the public, in sharp contrast to the rest of Igbo society that restricts women from drinking the same liqueur. Likely, the ample liberty and tremendous respect accorded to the female folk in Oguta Igbo subculture may be responsible for this, coupled with the fact that the river deity of the Lake, Uhamiri goddess, may have provided further evidence to the improved status accorded to women. Thus, Nwapa in the pages of her literary works, especially in Efuru and One Is Enough, brings to our doorstep the lifestyle and folkways of Ogbuide Lake people of Oguta, which enable women to enjoy this unrestricted liberty of self-expression and audacious access to alcoholic drinks at the profane gaze of men, as it was. Equiano, through his travails and escapades of slavery, shows the changing trends in alcohol drinking and culture especially the differences in female drinking cultures based on geography and climate. Today, the ethos of Igbo society has changed remarkably. The paper seeks to investigate these details using Achebe's Things Fall Apart and Nwapa’s Efuru as well as Equiano’s Travels, our texts of focus. The inquiry is essentially literary or library research.
Jell-Bahlsen S. Owu. An Igbo Masquerade: Teaching culture, aiming at social integration and exposing global issues. Imt International Journal of the Arts and Sciences. 2009;1(1).
Abergrombie, Nicholas, Stephen Hill and Bryan S. Turner. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology. London: The Penguin Group; 2000.
Okigbo Christopher. Labyrinths: Poems. London: Heinemann Educational Books, Ltd; 1975.
Anyachonkeya Ngozi. Omuma Heritage: A literary approach to the historical, anthropological and sociological investigation of a people. Owerri: Chukwuemeka Printers and Publishers; 2006.
Hanson DJ. History of alcohol and drinking in (sic) the world.
(Accessed 13 may 2011)
Okonkwo Uche Uwaezuoke. A socio-economic history of alcohol in southeastern Nigeria Since 1890. PhD Thesis University of Lagos; 2013.
Basden GT. Among Ibos of Nigeria. London: Frankcass and Co Ltd; 1966.
Nwapa Flora. Efuru. London: Heinemann Educational Books; 1966.
Curtin Philip. The early travels of Oladuah Equiano. In Africa remembered. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin; 1968.
Babor TI. Alcohol, customs and rituals. New York: Chelsea House Publishers; 1986.
Umeh Marie. Flora Nwapa: The traveler in Esi Sutherland-Addy and Aminata Diaw. .In Women writing Africa: West Africa and the Sahel. New York: The Feminist Press; 2005.
Northrup David. Trade without rulers: Pre colonial economic development in South Eastern Nigeria. Oxford: Clarendon Press; 1978.
NAE (Hereafter National Archives Enugu) RIVPROF 2/1/16 File no. C.68 Vol.2 ‘Illicit Distillation’’ Acting Senior Commissioner of Police, Owerri Province to the Resident, Owerri Province; 1936.
Oha Obododimma. Flora nwapa and the semiotic of the woman of the lake. In Calabar studies in African literature: Flora Nwapa, Critical perspectives. By Eko, Ebele, Julius Ogu and Emelia Oko. Eds. Calabar: University of Calabar Press. 1997;175-190.
Agbada-Nwachukwu JOJ. Stability and change in flora Nwapa’s Femnitude.” In Calabar Studies in African literature: Flora Nwapa, Critical perspectives. By Eko, Ebele, Julius Ogu and Emelia Oko. Eds. Calabar: University of Calabar Press. 1997;51-65.
Ekpa, Anthonia Akpabio. Discourse, language and the reconstruction of femininity inFlora Nwapa’s Efuru and One is Enough. In Calabar studies in African literature: Flora Nwapa, Critical perspectives. By Eko, Ebele, Julius Ogu and Emelia Oko. Eds. Calabar: University of Calabar Press. 1997;153-174.