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October 29, 1994 (1)

29/10/94
Sr. M,[1]

Thanks a lot for the corrections to the Speech.[2] I’m also sending the 5-minute address. The third one—the 30-minute paper should be ready by the end of today. I must appeal to you to wait and take them all with you. Please!

I may still need to correct them before the 14th of November because I will ask Professor Claude Ake to look all three over. I rely on his judgement a lot. If it be the case that some changes are required, they will be made, and you will be duly informed—before 14th November.

You are very kind in the way you commiserate with me. But you must know that I’m quite tough. Writing a speech of this nature is normally a joy to me and I was not exhausted after writing it. I was, on the contrary, quite elated.

The fact that the physical conditions here are quite good, that I know there’s a host of Majellas & the ordinary Ogoni people caring, praying for me, my belief in my mission and God’s purpose for me in that mission, these have buoyed me considerably. My moments of depression have had more to do with the political situation in the country, worries over the Ogoni and such-like, than the fact of my confinement. I miss my family, of course, but as I say, it is a fitting price to pay for the joy of others.

This may not sound very nice, and most people around me do not want to hear it (so don’t tell Hauwa), but I have assumed for quite some time that death cannot be very far away from me. The period of confine­ment has helped me to “a closer walk with God”. I was always religious, but the spiritual side of me was not properly developed. I am developing it now. Somehow, I do feel that God is in charge and that all I need to do is work hard, take advice and train & encourage the younger Ogoni to carry on from wherever I may stop. Sr., I’m at peace with myself. My guards are on my side, and the Asst. General Manager of the NEPA station (an Igbo of the name Godwin Oboli) has been wonderful. Replying to the letters I get keeps me busy and those letters give me pleasure too.

Yes, I have everything to be thankful for, and do not forget that I’ve been here only 23 weeks now. Mandela & Walter Sisulu were there for 26/27 years. How can I complain?

I’m going to ask to be allowed see you so we can pray together on Sunday, even if it’s for ten minutes or so. Keep smiling.

Ken.


  1. A note added to the top of this letter states: “I’ve made photocopies of the ‘To Whom It May Concern’ available to the Lagos office for transmission to the Johnstons etc.” It referred to letters publicizing the Ogoni cause which McCarron had agreed to send. The Johnstons were a Scottish couple who had lived in Nigeria for many years and were sympathetic to the MOSOP cause.
  2. Saro-Wiwa’s Acceptance Speech for the RLA award ceremony in Stockholm on 9th December 1994.

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October 29, 1994 (1) Copyright © 2017 by Text, letters and images: Copyright © 2013 John Paul II Library, Maynooth University, Republic of Ireland. Ken Saro-Wiwa’s poems: © 2013 Ken Saro-Wiwa Estate. All Rights Reserved.

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