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the Complete Review
the complete review - drama

Veronica My Daughter

Ogali Ogali

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To purchase Veronica My Daughter

Title: Veronica My Daughter
Author: Ogali A. Ogali
Genre: Drama
Written: 1956
Length: 40 pages
Availability: in: Veronica My Daughter
in: Veronica My Daughter - UK
  • Veronica My Daughter is included in the collection Veronica My Daughter and Other Onitsha Plays and Stories (see our review)

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Our Assessment:

B- : fairly entertaining clash of tradition and modernity

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Veronica My Daughter is Ogali Ogali's best-known and most popular work. As he says in his introduction:

The originality -- with African background -- and simple style of this play has made it the most popular drama ever written by an African.
       In his introduction to the 1980 collection of Ogali's work (see our review) Reinhard Sander reports that the play was still selling 10,000 copies a year, and had sold at least a quarter of a million copies to date.
       Ogali describes his play as:
an attempt to spotlight in form the obstructionist role which some fathers in our traditional society -- like Chief Jombo -- play in the love and marriage affairs of their daughters.
       The story is similar to that told in Okenwa Olisah's Elizabeth my Lover (included in Emmanuel Obiechina's An African Popular Literature (see our review)). Here Veronica is in love with Michael, but her father, Chief Jombo, wants her to "marry one old money-monger of the first order whose name is Chief Bassey, a grade one illiterate."
       It is a conflict of generations, and of old and new -- with Ogali clearly siding with the new. Jombo and Bassey are uneducated representatives of the old -- the passé. "Talk all your grammatical, I go hear, but wait Misisi make I askam you one small questions", is typical Jombo-talk
       Veronica's mother is supportive of her choice, while two of her brothers are against it -- going so far as to threaten Veronica's lover. One of them, Harry, is unimpressed by Michael's qualities:
I hate to see Michael, you know, irrespective of his cleverness. His being a novelist is no gratis, neither his being a first-class clerk in the secretariat.
       Comic relief is also provided in the form of bombastic Bomber Billy, who uses an elaborate and fancy (and largely nonsensical) vocabulary:
(...) our teacher called him Human Encyclopaedia, but our Prefect called him Vocab Bag.
       Paulina, Vero's mother, is more direct, telling Bomber Billy:
I assure you that you are rather very microscopic to be noticed. A negligible pocket radio that utters useless words.
       Part of the marriage-issue revolves around money. Chief Bassey is willing to pay £ 200, though Nigerian law at the time limited the legal bride-price to £ 30. As one character explains: "The old order, I assure you, has changed and anything more than thirty is illegal."
       In the end, sensible modernity does, of course, triumph.

       Ogali's play is a fairly entertaining one. The issues at the center of the play were apparently important and contentious ones at the time. Ogali has no difficulty in taking sides, as he largely ridicules tradition and embraces a more modern attitude towards love and marriage. It is too clear which side is right and which wrong to be truly effective as drama, but the scenes do make for a decent entertainment

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Onitsha market literature: Other books by Ogali A. Ogali under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Nigerian author Ogali A. Ogali was born in 1935 and was a leading author of the pamphlet literature sold at Onitsha market.

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