Olivia Joseph Aluko, a lawyer, grassroots social justice advocate, and author of the book “Life in the Abrodi,” will be participating in an upcoming online event to discuss her work and its intersection with Pan-Africanism.
The event, which is scheduled for September 21, 2023, will also feature co-presentations of two other books: “Jelili Omotola: Memories of My Father” by Adetunji Omotola and “Life in the Abrodi,” by Olivia Joseph Aluko.
Joseph-Aluko explained that her book is not only about the experiences of Africans in the UK, but also about the importance of identity and belonging. She believes that Nkrumah’s vision of a united African continent aligns with the experiences of Africans living in the diaspora.
“Life in the Abrodi” features a protagonist named Akon, a Nigerian man who sells all his possessions to move to the UK. Akon faces many challenges, including cultural differences and the glass ceiling, but he eventually succeeds. Joseph-Aluko describes Akon as a “fighter,” though not at the same level as Nkrumah.
Joseph-Aluko’s book, “Life in the Abrodi,” explores the experiences of Africans living in the diaspora. In an interview with Diplomatic Watch’s Digital Editor, Adekunle Owolabi, Joseph-Aluko discussed the inspiration behind her book and how Nkrumah’s ideas on Pan-Africanism and self-determination influenced her writing.
Question: Life in the Abrodi” explores the experiences of Africans living in the diaspora. How do you think this narrative aligns with Kwame Nkrumah’s vision of a united African continent?
Kwame Nkrumah thinks that Africans should create their personality and identity. We are going to see that we make our African personality and individuality. We again rededicate ourselves in the struggle to emancipate other African countries, for our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.’
Life in the Abrodi is about the experiences of Africans in the UK. The novel depicts a Nigerian man, Akon, who sold all his properties to live in the UK. Akon fought against all odds of cultural differences and the glass ceiling to become successful in the UK. Akon could be described as a fighter, though not at the same level as Kwame.
Question: Your book touches on themes of identity and belonging. How have these themes been influenced by Nkrumah’s ideas on Pan-Africanism and self-determination?
Kwame Nkrumah was a socialist Marxist, and none of the characters in this novel are any of this. Having said this, the novel’s main character, Akon, forged ahead in his professional career while in the UK.
Question: Could you discuss any specific individuals or events in your book that embody the spirit of Pan-Africanism and how they relate to Nkrumah’s legacy?
Pan-Africanism was the foundation upon which the struggle for African continental independence was anchored. This ideology united Africans and other individuals of African descent under a continental ideology that created a domain for support, cooperation and understanding. Today, Pan-African ideology has become a pull factor for the African diaspora to contribute to African development initiatives. When Akon became successful in his consultancy business, the character Akon opened up opportunities to other Nigerians within the diaspora.
Question: In what ways do you hope your book contributes to a broader conversation about the African diaspora and its connections to Africa, particularly in the context of Nkrumah’s ideals?
The book continues the relentless fight about the Africans in the diaspora to make themselves relevant not only in their host country but also in their home country. This includes remittances that were sent home either to families or towards other projects. For example, Akon supported his close and distant family until they began to ask for more, which was endless. Many in the diaspora work 2 to 3 jobs to contribute either in cash or kind to what is happening back home.
Question: Can you share a personal experience or journey that inspired you to write “Life in the Abrodi” and the role that Nkrumah’s writings may have played in shaping your perspective?
Nkrumah inspired me more as a writer; he has over 75 published books and documented his political and socialist thoughts. From my teenage years, I have enjoyed writing, but because I studied law, my focus was mainly on building my career in the legal profession, and writing took a back seat. My attempt at writing was made when I turned one of my dissertations into a book, and the rest is history.