Out of Africa

In a small office off the Southwest Freeway, an editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries

It's the kind of schedule that would drive a lesser person insane. Although his cell phone screeches to life every few minutes, Nwangwu seems to find time for his endeavors and to thrive.

He plans to start an oil and gas publication and a sweeping technology initiative for schools and libraries in Africa. He is also at work on a book about Nigeria's civil war, BIAFRA: History Has No Mercy. The subject goes to the core of the question he asked as a boy after the bombs fell on Aba: "What was that thing that almost killed me?"

The mere question may contain the antidote to more violence. Bongmba, the Rice professor, finds Nwangwu's prose reflects a clearheaded awareness of the fragility of peace. The professor says that by exposing the dangerous follies of extremists and tyrants, and by celebrating the richness and promise of African people, Nwangwu provides the kind of humane dialogue required for a sane, stable and even prosperous future.

Rice professor Bongmba says Nwangwu makes it clear that Africans in some ways stand in the way of their own progress.
Deron Neblett
Rice professor Bongmba says Nwangwu makes it clear that Africans in some ways stand in the way of their own progress.

"He certainly wants to see a critical engagement that will continue to keep the unity of Nigeria. The kind of writing he does [reflects] that that kind of unity is something people have to work for," Bongmba says. "He has a very, very broad appreciation of what Nigeria can offer and what the rest of Africa can offer."

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