ABOUT THE BOOK
Alapata Apata is a political satire by Wole Soyinka, centring on the misuse of power and natural resources, and the appropriation of self-aggrandising titles. The play revolves around the intricate circumstances that surround the surprise early retirement of a popular butcher, Alaba.
Light-hearted and amusing, the play is another one of Soyinka’s beautifully presented satirical portrayals of the Nigerian, or African, society. This time the emphasis is on the inactions and excesses of people in power, and the appropriation of natural resources for personal gain.
Most of the confusion stems from the incomprehensible decision of a young butcher, Alaba, to retire from his prosperous business and then venture to sit atop a rock all day and do nothing. Soyinka seems, by this, to refer to politicians who do nothing except count days, count how long they have spent in office, despite having all available resources at their disposal to leave a lasting impact.
But the central and perhaps the most fascinating idea in the play lies in its title. Depending on how the letters are accented, Alapata Apata may mean ‘butcher’ or ‘owner of the rock’. This ambiguity throws everyone in the play into confusion, from acquaintances and sympathisers who are puzzled as to why he has left his booming butchery business to sit continually on a rock, to others of a less than savoury nature who seek the minerals under the said rock.
All in all, the play makes for interesting reading, but then what else is expected of a play written by the foremost African literary giant himself?
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