The Nigerian Civil War, 1967-1970 (also known as the Biafran War) has been described as a ‘forgotten war’. Yet it led to the birth of the NGO Doctors without Borders / Médecins sans frontières and equipped journalists with the intercultural skills they later used in their coverage of other African conflicts. The Biafran conflict equally ended up strengthening the special relationship between France and Nigeria. From 1970 in particular, the Nigerian education sector was taken up with a wave of francophilia, which boosted the teaching of French in Language programmes at the secondary school level. The Civil War, which ravaged the South-Eastern part of the federation, was, above all, a collective experience which inspired poets, novelists and playwrights – Achebe, Soyinka, Okigbo, Saro-Wiwa, Okpewho, Adichie and others, while bringing about a massive religious revival which affected the whole region. The war mobilised politicians and NGOs, it changed the country and brought it into the limelight. This book reveals, through the study of oral genres, radio bulletins and the impact of the conflict on literature and the Web, the human history of the war, the role played by the media and the deep scar the conflict left on the bodies and minds of survivors.
Françoise UGOCHUKWU was born in Valence (France) in 1949. She moved to Britain in 1995 after twenty-four years of lecturing at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and currently holds a post at the Open University. She is an Africanist with active links to the CNRS. Her research field is in Comparative Literature, with a focus on Nigeria and Orature. Her pioneering work in the field and longstanding contribution to the strengthening of cultural and educational ties between France and Nigeria awarded her the national distinction of Chevalier des Palmes Académiques in 1994.