30 pages 1 hour read

Ken Saro-Wiwa

Africa Kills Her Sun

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1975

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Symbols & Motifs

The Stadium

The stadium represents the sham nature of the justice system that holds executions for entertainment. The spectators will watch Bana and his friends’ execution with bloodlust and cheer as if they are at a sporting match. This crowd is characterized as being unintelligent, forgetful, ever seeking empty entertainment, and dull. They do not challenge the status quo, and they are unable to meaningfully evaluate the social condition of their nation. For those who are able to turn a critical eye toward the government, they quickly forget and move on with their empty lives. This forgetfulness speaks to the existence of a weak collective memory. Past atrocities are effaced and erased. The people acquiesce to the course of events as if they are inevitable and natural. The existence of the spectators demonstrates how Bana views his fellow countrymen as a monolith.

The stadium is a reference to ancient Rome, which entertained its citizens with gladiator matches that ended in the loser’s death. It creates a space for the spectators who prefer the entertainment—or bread and circuses—that the government provides to distract from their own depravity and keep them from seeking justice. The stadium will be filled to capacity at the execution, showing that the spectators have become inured to death and that violence has become such a seamless part of Nigerian life.