Figures in a Spare Landscape: Serving in the Twilight of Empire, Nigeria 1959-60
After two years in the US Army, and kicking around in NYC in the 50s, I wanted to see how the world was changing, as the colonies were willingly or unwillingly let loose by the European powers. I found a post as a history teacher in the government secondary school in Maiduguri, Bornu Province, in the northeastern section of Nigeria. Within a few weeks of my arrival, I was seconded to serve in the Northern Cameroons plebiscite of 1959. This meant two weeks in a grass hut in the center of a village at the Cameroon border, from which I rode on horseback to the polling stations. I also served in the last federal election before Nigerian independence, this time with Land Rover support. Every place I was has been ravaged by Boko Haram. When I learned the extent of its depredations, I fetched out my journals from that time. From them I’ve fashioned a memoir of those last months before Nigerian independence in 1960. It is a touching look at people on the cusp of change that came to be far worse than anyone could have imagined. Figures in a Spare Landscape: Serving in the Twilight of Empire, Nigeria 1959-60, text and 50 illustrations, should be on Amazon by the end of the year.