This little story is so packed with so many obscure proverbs that I was
often tempted to give up on it. Yet it held my interest because of the
picture it gives of pre-colonial village life. The book was purchased in
Nigeria in November, 1983, but I did not tackle the translation until many
years later. My first helper was Tina Durunna, and the second was Jennifer
Ekeanyanwu, both of whom generously shared their knowledge and their time
while working outside their homes and raising their young sons. Needless
to say, I owe them a big debt of gratitude.
In addition, I am indebted to the online class "Uwandiigbo,"
whose members always responded to my pleas for help. Many of them shared
childhood experiences in their own villages--a gold mine for a non-native
translator like me. Thanks, fellow students!
Regarding the proverbs and idioms, if I had any helpful suggestions about
them, I put these in brackets. But in some cases even my helpers were stumped
as to how to relate the proverbs to the context, so you readers will have
to be on your own in puzzling them out. Your ideas will be welcome!
About the author, Joseph Uchechuku Tagbo Nzeako, I have been able to learn
that he comes from Anambra State and was born in 1940, one of ten children.
He studied journalism and worked for the Nigerian Television Agency in
Enugu. He has many publications to his credit, some of which I have been
able to obtain. The ones I have are: Okuku Agbasaa Okpesi, 1964
(Thomas Nelson, Nigeria); Erimma, 1973 (Thomas Nelson, Nigeria);
and Juochi, 1981 (Macmillan, Nigeria).
In July 2002, my friend Dr. Bertram Okolo of the University of Benin sent
me the following biodata, apparently prepared by the author himself:
Uchechuku Tagbo Nzeako
DATE OF BIRTH: 14th June,
Attended Central School, Abagana; Okongwu Memorial Grammar School, Nnewi;
Anglican Grammar School, Oraukwu and International School of Journalism,
Budapest, Hungary (I.O.J.)
WORKING EXPERIENCE: Editor
(News) N.T.A. [Nigerian Television
Associaton] Channel 8, Enugu; Assistant
Controller (News) Anambra
Television, Channel 50, Enugu.
PARENTS: Late Mr. Joseph
C. Nzeako (retired Anglican pastor) and late Mrs. Priscilla M. Nzeako.
POSITION IN THE FAMILY:
The last of the four sons and the eighth of the parents' ten children.
MARITAL STATUS: Happily
married to Dr. Mrs. Constance Uzoamaka Nzeako
CHILDREN: Blessed with
two sons and four daughters.
WRITINGS: Author of 23
published books in Igbo customs, poetry and literature.
Okuko Agbasaa Okpesi
Aka Ji Aku
Omenala Ndi Igbo
Chi Ewere Ehihie Jie
Nkata Ekpudo Onye Aghugho
12. Ihe A
MOTIVATION: My first
publication, "Okuko Agbasaa Okpesi," was written when I was a first year
student in secondary school. Incidentally it was the recommended literature
for W.A.E.C. [West African Examination Council] examinations when I took
my school certificate examinations.
I wrote "Erimma"
in class two secondary school, "Chi Ewere Ehihie
Jie" in class three, and "Omenala
Ndi Igbo" in classes four and five.
Since then I have been writing as
I had the
inspiration to write after inspecting two pamphlets
written in Igbo, "Nkapi Anya Ukwu"
and "Enwe a na-akpo Chandu," thirty and thirty-two page books which were
officially recommended for our class.
Personal Assistant to the Secretary to the
Anambra State Government.
HOBBIES: Writing, travelling
and flower gardening.
[This resume was written on Oct. 10,
Frances W. Pritchett
Little Rock, Arkansas