Dear Sr. Majella,

Don’t say you are leaving Nigeria for good. I tended to read that in your letter and it left a hole in my heart. Thanks for the letter anyway. It cheered me a lot. I’m in good spirit and quite content to leave myself in the hands of almighty God. Somehow, I’m finding a lot of activity—reading and writing. I’ve now completed a volume of short stories. I’ve actually written five of the stories before now. I’ve done 5 more & gotten a book [probably A Kind of Festival and Other Stories]. I start on re-writing the novel I lost in 1992 [Lemona’s Tale] at the end of next week. It’s rather nice that I have unfailing electricity here & the room is comfortable. I’m learning to cook—I am allowed to cook my own food & NEPA [National Electric Power Authority] supplies me with fresh fish regularly. I think I’m beginning to LIKE it if you can believe me. The only problems: lack of access to relatives & doctor & lawyer.

I had my aged parents (Dad 90, Mum 73) go to newspaper offices in PH [Port Harcourt] to embarrass the authorities a bit. Very mean of me, isn’t it. So you may see them in the mags & newspapers before you leave.

I’m trying to be as inventive as possible & keeping my spirit up in that way. It’s good that my conscience is clear & that I realise things could be worse. I’m worried for the Ogoni people & for Hauwa[1] & my children. But somehow, I think they have to live with such buffeting. So long as I am fighting Shell, so long will I suffer. But that is the only way the Ogoni will get out of their bind.

Have you seen the film The Drilling Fields?[2] You must ask for a copy.

I wish I could really see the final product. I saw the rough cut before I returned to Nigeria. I actually have a copy of that in P.H. [Port Harcourt] or Lagos.

Have a good journey & God be with you. Keep me in your prayers & don’t ever forget the Ogoni people.

A million thanks.


  1. Hauwa Maidugu, Saro-Wiwa’s partner at the time of his detention and mother of his youngest son, Kwame.
  2. A 50-minute documentary film examining the activities of Shell and other oil and gas corporations in the Niger Delta. It was directed by Glen Ellis, produced by Poonam Sharma for Catma Films and first shown on Channel 4 London on 23rd May 1994.


Silence Would Be Treason Copyright © 2018 by Íde Corley; Helen Fallon; and Laurence Cox. All Rights Reserved.

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