In fact, my stepfather was amongst those who worked for the British. He was a cook in the residence of a man called Mr. Golden. I heard him lots of time seliloqusing about his talent because he was one the best Nigerian cooks who knew how to prepare British dishes. Then, as he was cutting onions in the kitchen, Mister Francis, that was his name, kept on saying: “I am Cook and steward. I can cook and serve food. My white man loves me». When his master finally left Nigeria after independence, he refused to work for any black man. He preferred the British masters because they will never delay your pay and “Master” will always pay the leave allowance. He hated the new black elites and he would keep on repeating that they will spoil the country.
The reason why Half of a Yellow Sun is a great movie is because of the wonderful cast and the role of Chiwetel Ejiofor, who was seen in “12 years a slave”, another historic movie about slavery. He is just the type of Hollywood actor we need to make us feel the hooks and nooks of the book “Half of a Yellow Sun” written by Chimmanada Ngozie Odichi which Biyi Bamidele adapted into a movie. The other members of the cast were also perfect in their different roles. The movie is sweet and bitter at the same time. But above all the love story held all the pieces together.
The first part of the movie is very entertaining because the peaceful and romantic atmosphere. The people in Nigeria at this period were hopeful for a brighter future. The “British masters” have gone. The country is now in the hands of its elites trained by the British. They have British accent, manners and attitude to work. That’s what the viewers will feel while watching the adventures and emotions of the five main characters of the movie: Odenigbo, the husband of Olanna, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, Olanna, the wife of Odenigbo, played by Thandie Newton, Ugwu, the house boy, played by John Boyeya, Kainene, the twin sister of Olanna, played by Anuka Noni Rose and Richard, the boy friend of Kainene, played by Joseph Mawle.
The suspense unfolds gradually and from one scene to another we come to discover the issues affecting the high society in Nigeria and how they are coping with the tradition of their land. A typical example in the movie was when Odenigbo’s mother, played by Onyeka Onwenu paid him visit from the village. She looked down on Olana telling her: “I hear that you did not suck your mother’s breast. Tell your fellow witches that you did not see my son. How can my son marry an abnormal woman”. It was clear that MAMA didn’t want her son to marry an educated woman with a British accent. So, one of her biggest strategies was AMALA, played by Susan Wokoma, a young girl she brought from the village with her to Odenigbo’s house. One evening Odenigbo got drunk and made love to her. In this scene, we can see the cultural shock between the village woman and the “educated witch with British accent” who can’t cook for her husband.