30 pages 1 hour read

Ken Saro-Wiwa

Africa Kills Her Sun

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1975

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Story Analysis

Analysis: “Africa Kills Her Sun”

In “Africa Kills Her Sun,” Saro-Wiwa satirizes Nigerian society by writing about a main character, Bana, who is happy that he will soon be executed. The story’s subtext, however, reveals that despite Bana’s renunciation and condemnation of life, Bana’s actions and attitude stem from his attachment to the living and his hope for a better future. Due to his Acceptance of Mortality, Bana chooses the power of determining his own death over prolonging his sentence to stay alive merely for the things and people he loves. Despite his consistently bitter and ironic tone, his belief in life’s potential prevails and is reflected in the very bones of the story’s epistolary form. Though Bana reaches closure at the end of the letter, his fear and sadness are still apparent.

Bana’s decision to write to Zole in the face of his execution is the story’s inciting incident. He writes to Zole to share his thoughts, feelings, and observations and thereby make his imminent death less terrifying. Without this connection to Zole and all she represents, Bana would not be able to make a meaningful human connection before his execution. Sharing his knowledge is presented as a joyful, meaningful act; readers share in this knowledge, like Bana hopes Zole will do, by reading Bana’s letter and learning about his life.