In This Review

In the Shadow of a Saint: A Son's Journey to Understand His Father's Legacy
In the Shadow of a Saint: A Son's Journey to Understand His Father's Legacy
By Ken Wiwa
Steerforth Press, 2001, 260 pp

In November 1995, Nigeria's military dictator, Sani Abacha, executed the human rights activist Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others in an effort to suppress a popular revolt by exploited minorities in the oil-bearing region of the Niger River delta. The story made headlines worldwide and led to Nigeria's temporary suspension from the British Commonwealth. Engagingly retold here by Saro-Wiwa's British-educated son, the story takes on the added dimension of a family saga, tracing the tensions between a father determined that his children be Nigerian patriots and a son who resents and resists the pull of his father's political causes. Succumbing to filial duty when his father faces imprisonment and death, the author tells of his participation in the campaign for clemency and his subsequent meetings with the activist children of other political heroes: Nkosinathi Biko, Zindzi Mandela, and Aung San Suu Kyi. A touching memoir written with subtlety and skill.