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‘Half Of A Yellow Sun’ Nigeria Release Postponed Indefinitely. Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Speaks On Delays

'Half Of A Yellow Sun' Nigeria Release Postponed Indefinitely. Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Speaks On Delays

News for those of you in Nigeria…

Biyi Bandele’s Half Of A Yellow Sun – a film adaptation of celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Orange Prize-winning novel of the same name – opened in UK theaters 3 Fridays ago, April 11, and was to open in Nigeria, where the film is set, last week Friday, April 25, but that didn’t happen, as its release date was postponed to May 2nd, due to “delays in getting certification from Nigerian Film and Video Censors Board.”

The film’s debut Nigeria debut date has been postponed once again for the very same reasons, although no specific future date was given this time around.

Needless to say, many in Nigeria, who were eagerly anticipating the film’s opening today, continue to be disappointed. Some calling it business as usual. 

Government censors say that they have delayed the release of the film because “it might incite violence in the country” given its subject matter – specifically, a scene that details a massacre at a northern Nigerian airport – in light of current political turmoil within the country. Nevermind that it’s a film whose backdrop –  the Biafran war, which saw millions killed – is based on fact. The Censors Board might not be giving Nigerian audiences enough credit, and ultimately, this will likely end up being much ado about nothing, as the noise created by the film’s release delays may actually drowned out any made by audiences about the content, after the film is finally released.

Those in the USA will be familiar with these kinds of concerns; just ask Spike Lee, as one example, whose incendiary Do The Right Thing was a concern for distributors and theaters, who feared that the film would spark riots and violence. It didn’t.

Author of the novel, Adichie, has her own theories, which she expressed in an op-ed for The New Yorker, published yesterday, in which she essentially scolds the Nigerian government for trying to run, as well as shield Nigerians from the country’s history. Although she also attempts to make sense of the Censors Board’s ambivalence:

The censors’ action is a knee-jerk political response, yet there is a sense in which it is not entirely unreasonable. Nigeria is on edge, with upcoming elections that will be fiercely contested, religion and ethnicity increasingly politicized, and Boko Haram committing mass murders and abductions. In a political culture already averse to openness, this might seem a particularly appropriate time for censorship. But we cannot hide from our history. Many of Nigeria’s present problems are, arguably, consequences of an ahistorical culture. As a child, I sometimes found rusted bullets in our garden, reminders of how recent the war had been. My parents are still unable to talk in detail about certain war experiences. The past is present, and we are better off acknowledging it and, hopefully, learning from it.

You can read the full insightful piece HERE.

Half Of A Yellow Sun hits USA theaters, courtesy of Monterey Media, on May 16th, without any delays, I’m sure. 

It will also screen at the upcoming New York African  Film Festival in less than a week.

Biyi Bandele’s feature film directorial debut, stars Chiwetel EjioforThandie Newton, John BoyegaAnika Noni RoseJoseph Mawle and Genevieve Nnaji, in a drama that weaves together the lives of four people swept up in the turbulence of civil war, with a newly independent 1960s Nigeria as the backdrop.

Produced by Bafta award-winner Andrea Calderwood (The Last King of Scotland) and Gail Ega (The Constant Gardner), the film is a British/Nigerian co-production and was shot at Tinapa Film Studio in Nigeria and in the UK.

For more info on the film’s release, visit

Watch several clips and check out images from the film below:

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Quite looking forward to the release – and, unfortunately for the Censors Board, ithe movie will get to Nigeria…whether they continue burying their heads in the sand or not! Chimamanda's writing is so absorbing and her books are unputdownable, taking you right to the setting; she can restore a reading culture, and to have her books adapted into film sounds like an early Christmas present.


The most painful and annoying part is that it is only the easterners of this present generation that knows about this war. I get more bitter by the manner at which the other tribes discard the discussion whenever it arises as if the war never happened; their ignorance,lack of sympathy if they should be any and sarcasm gets me furious. I still remember my Mum's stories:is it the hunger?the massacre(where men,women and children will be laid in the open field with caterpillars,bulldozers crushing them),is it their properties that were declared "Abandoned property" by the Nigeria govt? is it the closure of Cameroun border and other borders where they would have gotten relief materials from? My Mum will always conclude by saying "may we never experience war". Up till today,my Dad's political speeches still ends with Biafran War,which i have been telling him that nobody wants to hear his story as people have all moved on and has forgotten the war which seem impossible for him to forget,eventhough within me i understand him but i just want him to stop talking about it. Nigerians should come to terms that war was fought in this country and of which a particular group of people were dealt with beyong war terms. I am not a very good writer as i had nursed the idea of writing a novel about the Biafran war before Chimamanda wrote Half of a yellow Sun. I am happy that Chimamanda has told our story to the world, some might still continue to live in self denial.TO MY FELLOW YOUNG NIGERIANS,THE BIAFRAN WAR WAS REAL. You do not know the pain,WE KNOW THE PAIN.


Do not worry, Chimamanda, they are only helping to strengthen the genius in you. After all you are trying to bestow on them, Nigerians, what is not theirs. The biafran story, they have rejected in all totality, so you should not force it on them, they don't know the pain, they never felt it, they pretend it is not in existence. The war stories I tried to squeeze out from my mother and father, remain in my heart, ever since I was five and discovered that they got married during the biafran war, my interest never ceased as every war story from mother s lips ended in tears. Do not force a rejected history on them for they do not know the pain.

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