About The Play


“Forty years ago, my homeland of Nigeria ripped herself apart.  Biafra, the Land of the Rising Sun, was born in blood and fire.  Her light shone across the world.  Her flames engulfed us all.”
– Ben Okafor

Child of Biafra is the stage dramatisation in words and music of Ben Okafor’s childhood experiences of the Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970), written and performed by Ben Okafor, co-written and directed by Justin Butcher.

Having dramatised the story for BBC Radio 4’s ‘Focus On Africa’ season in June 2005 with great success (‘Pick of the Day’ in The Guardian and The Daily Express, “Pick of the Week’ on BBC R4), Ben Okafor and Justin Butcher premiered Child Of Biafra at the Contact Theatre, Manchester, in July 2007, as part of the University of Manchester’s International “War & Our World’ conference.

This premier marked the fortieth anniversary to the month of the outbreak of the Nigeria-Biafra War in July 1967, following the secession of eastern Nigeria to form the independent Republic of Biafra on May 30th 1967, under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu.  When Biafran resistance collapsed in January 1970 after thirty months of brutal warfare, famine and blockade, the state was reabsorbed into Nigeria.  Upwards of 1.5 million Biafrans had died.

These songs reflect the origins of Ben Okafor’s musical career, his early childhood and his journey through the fields and fortunes of war and the influence of these experiences on his artistic and spiritual vocation to date.



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Copyright Ben Okafor 2007. All Rights Reserved.