The Barefoot Sergeant
By Claude Lambert
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Published: Dec. 01, 2011
Words: 2,062 (approximate)
Short historical fiction.
What happens to the "primitive" or "primal" art from Africa? The prices of African art are fueled by strange prejudices. In this story about Benin, a hero from the 1930s escapes oblivion and finds a home.
This is a short story (2000 words) about a boy from the Edo group of Benin (now Nigeria) who enters the British Army in the 1930s. He gets promoted to the rank of sergeant and celebrates by having his statue made. But for the following generations, working for the British is not cool anymore: all the discourse is about independence. Soldiers like that young boy are forgotten, both in Britain and in their own country. Their statues get melted by the thousands.Nobody cares, and even the Edo language slowly disappears.
, short story
, colonial history
, african art
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