Background and context - EAL Nexus


This project and its actions were made possible due to co-financing by the European Fund for the Integration of

Third-Country Nationals

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 recently?

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 leaders

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.