Chinua Achebes first central female character in a novel is Beatrice Nwanyibuife. She is portrayed as an independent woman in the city. She is able to scrutinize the status of Kangan with a perspective more geared towards reality, and she advices Chris and Ikem on a better way of handling the situation. Achebe has been able to use his art for the service of Africans. His stories are not just meant to be read for the fun of reading, but to enlighten Africans and the world at large about the true nature of Africa and humanity.
Achebe has been noted for writing novels on political and cultural crisis in the African colonial and post – colonial society.
Anthills of the savannah is a Post – colonial novel that talks about the political unsteadiness in the African society, represent the usurpation of power through coups and counter coups, and the fight by the courageous and upright to cub it. This subject of political chaos is also seen in other publications of his, The Man of the People, a book which was in print prior to Anthills of the savannah.
Achebe, who is known for stressing the role of women in the society, introduces it in this novel. It is observed in the novel that amidst the political strife and injustice, the women maintain a calm decorum and stand for moral strength and sensitivity.
Anthills of the Savannah is a novel Achebe has used to throw a food for thought to all. Through its various themes we are called to examine ourselves and our relationship with society.
The novel stresses the theme of power, with the message that power is like a little fire in ones hand, thus if not controlled grows to consume us. Power is good but the evil of power is greed and pride, which leads to disrespect of our fellow men. Achebe in this novel draws us to this point using Sam as a character in his novel, which falls prey to the drunkenness power carries.
Achebe depicts Igbo people, not as defeated and helpless subjects of colonialism, but as victims of the white officers posturing and subterfuge. This is transformation at work. In the foregoing examples, he presents the so – called primitive communities as more humane, morally superior, and more cultured or civilised than the colonialist. That way, he punctures the infant trope attached to the natives and exercises self – representation in a manner that suggests that colonial incursion into Igboland was by no means a walkover. On the moral unadorned, the cleverness and gunboat victories of the empire were undermined by the relative transparence of the indigenes.
Anthills of the Savannah was a finalist for the Booker Prize, most prestigious literary award in Britain. The novel tells the story of three schoolmates who become major figures in a view regime in the story bound West African land of Kangan, Sam is the president; Chris is the minister of information, while Ikem is the editor of the national gazette. As the story unfolds, it is seen that the leader is consumed by his chase for absolute power; he becomes a dictator and kills his friend Ikem for standing in his way, and still strives to complete his blood testy mission by searching for Chris, who aware of danger runs for dear life. Chris who lives to see the end of Sams dictatorship also dies, but with a smile of victory. The story of Anthills of the savannah tries to suggest a sequence of a crooked history. At the end of the novel Sams regime of dictatorship is overthrown by a new regime.
The novel obtain place in the invented West African land of Kangan. Its borders were subjectively drawn by the British colonialists. Kangan is a modern African nation stressed to find constancy in post – colonial times. Although the background is modern, there are rudiments of ceremony that reflect constancy in the community and among the people. Ritual is possibly the strongest source of protection and gives the people a feeling of unity. The setting also takes the reader into the government headquarters a privilege not afforded to the citizens of Kangan. Whereas the society is enforced to rely on rumor and the push to study what is happening within the government, the reader can see first – hand how the organization is being run, how it is varying, and how the variety of forces work together or against each other in the unstable military regime.
Most of the dialogue of the ordinary nation of Kangan is in black and white in the dialect of Pidgin English. Chris, Beatrice, and Ikem are understanding as characters, as they are able to interrelate with ordinary people by speaking Pidgin English and with influential political figures by language British English. Rather than distance themselves from the ordinary citizen, as Sam does, Chris, Beatrice, and Ikem routinely abandon their British English in favor of being able to communicate in a meaningful way.
Growing up in Nigeria, Achebe saw for himself how disruptive social upheaval and political instability are and how they affect every facet of a society. Nigerian colonial period he was born, a period of remarkable conflict and sociopolitical change. Once Nigeria gained independence in 1960, vestiges of the colonial years remained, including borders and new political ideas and structures. When Achebe left his location with the Nigerian Broadcasting Company in 1966, he traditional the place of Biafran Minister of Information. It is likely that this experience informed his creation of Chris, the representative of Information in Anthills of the Savannah.
The Republic of Biafra was a short-lived Nigerian secessionist state which came into existence, when the Igbo-dominated southeastern corner of Nigeria seceded in the formation of its defeat in the Nigerian Civil War.
Anticipating further bloodshed, the Republic of Biafra announced its independence in 1967. Unfortunately, the announcement was not accepted and a civil war ensued that lasted until 1970, when Biafra surrendered. A food shortage caused by the war brought about the deaths of close to a million people. At the time Anthills of the Savannah was published, political unrest continued to dominate Nigeria. In August of 1985 a military coup, responding to the growing discontent of the people, overthrew the existing authoritarian military regime. The new leader accepted the role of president, banning members of certain past regimes from political involvement for a period of ten years.
Anthills of the Savannah narrates the story of three schoolmates or friends who become major figures in a new regime in the fictional West African land of Kangan. Achebe addresses the route unrestrained power often takes and demonstrates how the fierce pursuit of self – interest comes at marvelous cost to the society as a whole. This novel is a exodus for the author in that he creates the female character fully developed and suggests that the women are sources of ethical strength, ritual, and hope in the face of hostility and deception.
Set in the fabricated West African country of Kangan, Anthills of the Savannah opens with a gathering of the regime’s president and his Cabinet. The administration has been in place for two years, as a coup overthrew the previous dictator. Three men, friends since childhood, have an unspecified important location in the new system. Sam is the president, Chris Oriko is the Commissioner of Information, and Ikem Osodi is the editor of the government controlled newspaper, the National Gazette (Anthills – 10). Ikem is an academic and a poet who is extremely outspoken about the need to reorganization the government. Chris acts as a go-between between Ikem and Sam.
Sam has become a head without look upon for his people, seeking only to acquire more authority for himself by any means essential. Chris and Ikem understand that Sam is quickly becoming a dictator. They helped get him chosen to the position, even hopeful him when he felt that his military backdrop was inadequate preparation for a location of such importance. Now, Chris and Ikem be sorry their previous support of their friend and seek to manage Sam in their own ways. Meanwhile, Sam’s fascination with power has made him paranoid and unpredictable. When Sam decides he wants to be chosen “President for Life,” (Anthills – 31) a national referendum is called but the district of Abazon refuses to contribute. Sam in turn refute the region access to water in spite of a drought, expecting that with no water or food the citizens will give in. When hand over from Abazon arrive at the assets on a mission for mercy, Sam think that they are actually planning an rebellion. In fact, his paranoia leads him to believe that the revolution is being assisted by an important person close to him.
On finding the situation Sam commands Chris to fire Ikem from his position as editor, at which point Chris responds in a highly unusual way he refuses to obey Sam’s order. Sam believes that Ikem is involved in the “protest”(Anthills – 78) staged by the delegates of Abazon, but Chris knows better. Still, Ikem is ablaze and soon after addresses a student collection at a university. Never one to grasp his tongue, he is very verbal about his disapproval of the government. He makes a comic story about the rule minting coins with Sam’s head on them, which is turned into misinformation claiming that Ikem has describe for the beheading of the president. Ikem is taken from his home