Subject Material

Marriage is a Private Affair

Published: 03.08.2010, Updated: 03.03.2017

Pre-reading: Is a young person in love the best judge of whom to marry? In the Western world we have a romantic, individualistic notion of marriage. In other cultures marriage is more of an alliance between families, or a way to secure one's future. What are the pros and cons of these different approaches?

Chinua Achebe (b. 1930) is one of Africa’s leading writers. He has helped give his native Nigeria a modern identity. His writing has in many ways bridged the gap between the past and the present, between old and new ways of life and contributed to an understanding of what it means to be Nigerian in a modern Africa.

Nigeria remained a British colony until 1960. One of the fastest growing economies in the world due to large oil resources, Nigeria today is a federal republic ruled by an elected president. However, the country has a sad history with military dictators who violated basic human rights. It is the most populous country in Africa and this constantly leads to ethnic, tribal and religious conflicts. Militant Muslims imposed strict Muslim laws in the North in 1999. The South is predominantly Christian.

This story is set in colonial Nigeria in the decade before independence. The story highlights how the old ways in the countryside, represented by a remote village, clash with the modern ways in the large city of Lagos.

Marriage is a Private Affair - Illustration
Marriage is a Private Affair - Illustration NRK


Marriage is a Private Affair

by Chinua Achebe

The voices: Nene Atang, a young woman who has lived all her life in Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria, Emeka, a young man originally from Ibibioland, an Eastern, rural area of Nigeria, Okeke, Emeka's father, member of the Ibo tribe, Jonathan, a village friend of Okeke, Issie Mabofu, Nene's friend at the Lagos Village Meeting.

Marriage is a Private Affair


Marriage is a Private Affair – plain text