Thèse de doctorat en Etudes africaines
Sous la direction de Jacques Leclaire.
Soutenue en 1989
à Rouen .
Ekwensi aime le Nigeria mais il n'hésite pas à montrer surtout les côtés les plus sordides. Nous montrons que toute l'œuvre ekwensienne est une suite d'histoires : celle de Wilson Lyari dans Beautiful Feathers; celle de Jagua Nana dans Jagua Nana, etc. Il fait preuve d'une satire et d'un cynisme mordants parce qu'il ne veut trahir la vérité sous aucun prétexte. Il ne cherche pas à ménager la susceptibilité des dirigeants de son pays. Compte tenu de l'importance de l'exode rural et des nombreuses victimes qui arrivent à la ville sans y être préparées, Ekwensi dresse des garde-fous. Il essaie d'aider les gens, les villageois surtout pour que les villes fassent le moins possible de victimes.
Ekwensi's fiction derives from life, life as it is lived in different areas in Nigeria. His writing is rooted in street-level realities, in the day-to-day problems of ordinary city life. What excites him is the difficulties of ordinary people in real-life situations. He is not a masochist although he's highly interested in those situations. He wants people to be aware of the problems. He wants to help them. He wants them to live successfully in the city. He tells them how to handle money; how to avoid shame and scandal; how in short, to chart their way through the rough waters of urban life. His attention is mainly focussed on city life, which is often contrasted with the traditional patterns of rural life. The type of life people live in towns spoils many people. Ekwednsi wants to avoid this spoiling. The writer preaches the values of rural life, but at the same time he wallows in the joys of a different life entirely. This ambivalence may be seen as the cultural conflict which affects Nigeria and Africa. We've tried to bring out life as faithfully as the writer himself has described it. He has described life with a biting satire and an acrid sarcasm. This enables us to say that Ekwensi is a key figure in the development of West African writing in English.