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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Volume 42, Issue 1, 2020

Issue cover
Cover Caption: Innocent Nkurunziza, Light coming through darkness…Hope seeps in…(No. 8/8), 2020. Mixed media on metal, 190 x 96 centimeters. Courtesy of the artist.

Part I—Essays

Post-War Reintegration, Reconstruction and Reconciliation Among the Anioma People of Nigeria

Much has been written on the Nigerian Civil War. However, its impact on some minority groups has been largely neglected. This oversight has affected scholarly treatment of how forces emanating from the war impacted the Anioma people. Though predominantly Igbo-speaking, the Anioma were geographically on the Nigerian side during the war. The dynamics of the war as an ethnic conflict ensured that Aniomaland was a major battlefront. At the end of the war, the Anioma were a distressed group. Houses, homes, careers, dreams, aspirations and individuals lay in ruins. This left the people and their territory in need of major rehabilitation. This article focuses on the rehabilitation and reintegration of the Anioma into the society. It attempts this against the background of the Nigerian government’s policy of rehabilitation and the trumpeted principle of “no victor, no vanquished,” which dominates discourses on the war. Employing primary and secondary sources, the work probes how the Anioma people fared under the post-war rehabilitation program at different levels. It argues that it was difficult for the Nigerian government and society to completely forget the bitterness of the war even while implementing the rehabilitation program. This left the program struggling to manage two diametrically opposed principles, resulting in its merely scratching the surface after promising much.

The Dictatorship of Biomedicine in Equatorial Guinea

This paper offers a critique to the present-day biomedical health care system in Equatorial Guinea. It argues that biomedical care represents a failure to meet its people’s needs. A preliminary research study and the collection of published work and data drawn from observations during 2017 and 2018 concluded that the current Equatoguinean dictatorship has negatively influenced the development and success of biomedicine as a model of equitable and accessible medicine, and quality health care for all. Despite the investments of global health organizations and the government’s commitments, the rates of maternal, child, and infant mortality remain high while the prevalence of endemic and epidemic diseases, such as malaria and HIV/AIDS, continues to rise. In addition, biomedical infrastructures lack committed and caring medical personnel, efficient technological environments, accessible and affordable health care programs, and awareness campaigns that reach out to the population. This paper highlights the reasons why biomedical care in Equatorial Guinea fails to meet its people’s needs. Biomedicine was rooted and developed within a social, political, and economic terrain dominated by colonialism and two consecutive dictatorships. All of the institutional mechanisms that sustain the country are controlled by the head of state. Under the reigns of the head of state, international agencies and non-independent medical institutions lead the practice and development of biomedical care. There is real lack of incentive for Equatoguineans to participate in educational and practical enterprises that may lead to a better understanding of the roles that biomedicine can play in daily life. Health care programs and awareness campaigns fail to reach the population due to a lack of full commitment to involve communities. Biomedical care in Equatorial Guinea constitutes a failure on the part of international agencies and non-independent medical institutions to meet people’s needs, due, first and foremost, to the marginalization of the civil society and other healing systems, as well as to unlawful tendencies to fulfill obligations, limited investment, control over non-independent institutional spheres, disparity in care, and medical and educational maldistribution. This paper intends to foment further investigation into the social, economic, and political contexts of the diseases, endemic illnesses, and epidemics that are currently impacting bodies in Equatorial Guinea. This paper encourages further inquiry into the ways in which learning about perceptions, healthcare-seeking trajectories, and health care systems can support solving health and healthcare problems. The goal is to open debate over possible ways in which medical anthropologists can support rising mechanisms for quality health care, inclusivity, community, and freedom of expression.


Colonial Modernity: Progress, Development, and Modernism in Nigeria

This article reshapes modernist study through a historical approach. In a move to decenter and decolonize modernism, I focus here on its emergence in decolonizing Nigeria of the 1960s, specifically in the poetry of Christopher Okigbo, contending that modernism is an aesthetic movement that must be understood in its relation to colonialism, imperialism, and coloniality. I sketch out the coloniality of knowledge and being in Nigeria, or the ways in which colonialism has continued to impact Nigerian governance and political life, long after the country’s nominal liberation from British rule. I approach coloniality by examining notions of progress and development and the western standards to which these concepts are bound. Okigbo’s work, and its critical reception, form the centerpiece of my analysis. Like Nigerian economics, Okigbo’s poetry has been overdetermined through neocolonial notions of progress and development. I posit Okigbo’s poetry instead as a modernist negotiation of colonial history and western art, one consistently engaging with an ongoing colonial presence. From this perspective, a modernist study emerges that is comparative but not assimilative. The importance of postcolonial literature for the study of any modern art is thereby demonstrated in a decolonizing move that dwells upon the local rather than the marginal.