Theme of Corruption in the Post-colonial African Novel: A Study of Abubakar Gimba’s Witnesses to Tears and Chinua Achebe’s a Man of the People

Theme of Corruption in the Post-colonial African Novel: A Study of Abubakar Gimba’s Witnesses to Tears and Chinua Achebe’s a Man of the People.


Chinua Achebe (born Nov. 16, 1930) is a Nigerian novelist, critic and poet; he is one of the most-read African authors. The primary concern of Chinua Achebe, the recipient of the Man Booker International Prize, 2007, was his society, more precisely, the destiny of his people.

Achebe, perhaps the most authentic literary voice from Africa, wrote not only to record the African, especially Nigerian, life but to analyse the reality experienced by the native people in different times and situations. In his view, the writer must be accountable to his society.

To him it was absurd to think of art as a pure and autonomous entity coming into existence by itself in an aesthetic void. Accordingly, his aim was to make his fiction an instrument of awareness seeking to elevate the social reality to a higher level.

In this regard, the paper is an attempt to show Achebe’s endeavour to expose the rampant corruption and evil in Nigeria to exert a decisive and positive influence on his people. For Gimba, the intrigues and contestation over power, especially within the civil service, assume a metaphoric significance in unraveling social contradictions in society.


Chinua Achebe has proven his worth among English-speaking African novelists by representing the African social and political environment in a thoroughly realistic way.

His novels depict life within a particular historical background, and convey a sense of growing disgust and unrest within Nigerian society, a society that has started to emerge from the ‘colonial complex’ caused by years of denigration and self-abasement.

A Man of the People (1967) is Achebe’s fourth novel. It describes Nigeria in its post-independence phase, during which time the country became a ‘cesspool of corruption and misrule’ in the context of colonial-style social and economic development, a situation that resulted in conflict between the emergent elitist middle class and the general populace.

Achebe’s reputation as a novelist rests on his impartial understanding of, and ability to represent the Nigerian environment. His realistic characterization and diagnosis of his country’s malaise has the power to inspire a revolution informed by African ideologies.

His works have primarily focused on “African politics, the depiction of Africa and Africans in the West, and the intricacies of pre-colonial African culture and civilization, as well as the effects of colonization of African societies” (Achebe, 1988b).

His well-known literary critique An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” (Achebe, 1988a) is considered by many to be the most assertive, debated, and seminal treatise of its type. 


Achebe, Chinua. A Man of the People. New York: Anchor Books, 1988.
Alumona, V.S. 2003. Culture and societal institutions in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall
Apart: A critical reading. In (P.J. Kishindo, ed.) Journal of Humanities, 17. Univ.
of Malawi.
Amadi, Sami. (2007) Colonial Legacy, Elite Dissension and the Making of the Genocide:
The Story of Biafra. Available at: http://howgenocidesend.
printable.html (03March2008).
Amoo, Sam G. (1997) The challenge of ethnicity and conflicts in Africa: The need for a
new paradigm. Emergency Response Division, United Nations
Development Program.
Blanton, Robert, David T. Mason and Brian Athow (2001) ‘Colonial Style and PostColonial Ethnic Conflict in Africa,’ Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 38, No. 4,
Carol, D. 1975. Chinua Achebe: Novelist, Poet, Critic. Heinemann, London.
Culross, M. 2007. Chinua Achebe’s Biography and Style. Online. (Accessed Feb.
6, 2007).
Duerden, D. & C. Pieterse 1972. African Writers Talking. Heinemann, London.
Easterly, William (2006) The Whiteman’s Burden: why the West efforts to aid the rest
have done so much ill and so little good. New York: The Penguin Press.
Eko, Lyombe (2003) ‘Press Freedom in Africa,’ Encyclopaedia of International Media
and Communications 2: 95—116.
Gimba, A. (2007) Witnesses to Tears. Ibadan: Kraftgriots.
Gleason, J. I. 1965. This Africa. Northwestern UP, Evanston.

CSN Team.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.

Hey Hi

Don't miss this opportunity

Enter Your Details