Kachifo Limited is proud to present Adewale Maja-Pearce’s new memoir, The House My Father Built, under our Farafina Kamsi imprint.
Having inherited a house in Surelere from his late father, and having waited ten years for the terms of the inheritance to be fulfilled, Adewale Maja-Pearce is eager to take possession of his house. He offers his tenants a one-year rent-free break, after which they are to vacate his house. They accept this, and it looks like smooth sailing. Little does Maja-Pearce know that, when the time comes to leave, his tenants will put him through one of the fiercest struggles of his life in their attempts to stay put. Psychological warfare, endless court cases, intimidation by the police and a possible attempt on his life make up Maja-Pearce’s experience in trying to lay claim to his inheritance.
Simple yet profound, The House My Father Built will delight you with its earnest, humorous delivery and keen insights into the psyche of a nation and its people. This brilliant book captures the essence of Nigeria in the last decade of the 20th century.
Enjoy a short excerpt from the book.
At this point in the book, Prince, perpetual hustler and Maja-Pearce’s fixer-turned-friend (later to turn foe) has moved into one of the flats in the house rent-free, on the author’s invitation and for a period. Prince, averse to doing any actual work while he waits for God to lead him out of the ‘wilderness’, has taken to begging Maja-Pearce for money, besides whatever he manages to skim off the monies he is given to see to certain needs relating to the house. Prince’s latest claim is that he has been forced to borrow some money from a friend to take care of his only child by his third wife, who is in hospital. Maja-Pearce, by now, knows the score with Prince. He plays along anyway, and reflects on this choice.
So why did I fall for his lies? Partly because I’m gullible and tend to believe unquestioningly what people tell me; partly because I’m a sucker for a good story and wanted to see how this one would play itself out; and partly because I want to please people so that they will like me. Prince knew this instinctively, knew that I was especially anxious to please Nigerians precisely because my own sense of being a Nigerian was tenuous, if not suspect; the knowledge that I could always ‘pass’, that I did indeed pass, and could give up on the country in disgust and go back to the Europe that my compatriots were dying in the desert to reach. I was once told by a plain-speaking Lebanese that I was lucky to have taken after my mother. He meant that my hair was straight, my complexion light and my nose not flattened; in short, that I didn’t look ‘negroid’. Prince, discerning all of this, never missed an opportunity to say that I was a ‘proper African man’ whenever a third party tried to suggest that my condition might be a little more attenuated than he was allowing for. The unctuous tone with which he admitted me into a pantheon that even I was by now becoming wary of – and of which he was such a shining example – only underscored the contempt behind his outrageous lies. But to have faced that would have meant turning against him. I wasn’t ready just then. The time would come soon enough.
To read more from The House My Father Built and its author, please visit Adewale Maja-Pearce’s blog.
The House My Father Built will be available soon in bookstores near you.