Ethiopia Unbound by J. E. Casely Hayford

“Ethiopia Unbound” is a novel written by J.E. Casely Hayford, a Ghanaian journalist, lawyer, educator and politician. The subject matter of this book is African emancipation. It dwells on debates between Kwamankra, an African studying in London and his English friend, Whitely. The novel explores African history and evolving events of the African community. At the time this novel was written, our African identity was in turmoil due to colonialism and a quest to regain our African identity and emancipation was important to the writer. The writer uses Kwamankra the protagonist to explore his ideals on African emancipation.

Caserly Hayford’s arguments raised in the novel on emancipation, nationalism and the African identity is one I totally agree with as he undoubtedly raises ideas to back his claims. For ages, emancipation in Africa had been narrowed solely to the liberation of Africa from European rule. An in-depth research on Africa’s history shows that emancipation constitutes much more than freedom from foreign rule. When African nations such as Ghana fought for independence, they clearly only fought for a release from colonial masters governing the state and its affairs, a need for African rulers, national flags, national anthems etc forgetting the true sense of being a free African which was about connecting to our roots and regaining our African identity. Like Bob Marley put it “ emancipate yourself from mental slavery”, a cause that was forgotten. Many of our cultural values, norms and ethics have been lost since they were seen as outmoded and primitive.

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Casely’s touch on religion is excellently dealt with as he raises questions in the minds of readers such as myself. Questions of our blind beliefs and faith in religion.

Kwamankra gives Whitely reason to think deeply about his faith. “ At one time I thought of taking Orders, and even now I may do so. But a little evil thing in the shape of an unanswerable doubt …