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EAL Nexus resource
Not my business
Background and context
Age group:
12 - 14
Poems from other cultures
Licence information | This resource is free to use for educational purposes. ©British Council 2014
Source | This resource was originally developed by Zdravka Davies and has been adapted by EAL Nexus.
What is a dictatorship?
A dictatorship is when a country is ruled by
one person with unlimited power over
everybody else. Dictators very often use the
army to support them.
People who try to express their ideas either
in speech, writing or actions are arrested,
sent to prison, punished and possibly killed
to silence them.
Can you think of examples of
famous dictators in history?
Adolf Hitler
Saddam Hussein
Joseph Stalin
Have you heard of any political
riots against dictatorships
The setting
The poem is about Nigeria, a country in
Western Africa.
Between 1993 and 1998 the country was
ruled by a cruel dictator, General Sani Abacha.
Many innocent people were arrested, tortured
and killed.
The poet
Niyi Osundare was born in 1947
in Ikere-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.
He is a poet, playwright and literary critic.
He studied in the University of Ibadan,
Nigeria, the University of Leeds and York
University in the UK, and in Canada.
He is a professor of English at the University
of New Orleans, in the USA. He lives with
his wife Kimi and his two daughters. His son
still lives in Nigeria.
Osundare believes that African
poets have to be political. He
has protested against
generations of corrupt Nigerian
His poem Not my business is evidence for
his views.
Not my business was written as an
accusation of the murderous dictatorship of
General Sanni Abacha from 1993 to 1998.

Background and context - EAL Nexus