Onitsha Market Literature

Onitsha Market Literature consists of stories, plays, advice and moral discourses published primarily in the 1960s by local presses in the lively market town of Onitsha, an important commercial site in the Igbo-speaking region of southeastern Nigeria. In the fresh and vigorous genre of Onitsha Market Literature, the commoner wrote pulp fiction and didactic handbooks for those who perused the bookstalls of Onitsha Market, one of Africa’s largest trading centers.

Twenty-one pamphlets from Onitsha Market appear here fully digitized and annotated to exemplify styles of expression found in this intriguing form of African popular literature. They are part of a unique collection of more than 100 pamphlets from Onitsha now held at the Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas.

Elekere Agwo : the quack doctor

This long pamphlet is described as "a novel on the dangers of illegal injections and self-medications," (pg.70). Neither an advice guide nor how-to…

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Awo-omamma, Eastern Nigeria : Oma Printing Press

Respect for human dignity : an inaugural address

A pamphlet of a political nature, 'Respect for Human Dignity', is Nnamdi Azikiwe's Inaugural Address as the first African Governor-General and…

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Onitsha, Nigeria : Union Publishing Company

The last days of Lumumba (the late lion of the Congo); a drama

This play is a historical drama by possibly the most prolific playwright of Onitsha Market Literature. Iguh writes in his preface that the purpose of…

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Onitsha, Nigeria, A. Onwudiwe & Sons

My seven daughters are after young boys : [a classical drama for schools & colleges]

This play's preface suggests that the work should be read as a closet drama. Readers are duly instructed: "When ever you are annoyed, take up this…

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Fegge-Osha ; [Onitsha?] : Njoku & Sons

Bribery and corruption : bane of our society

This serious political tract catalogues and analyzes many types of bribery and corruption. The author states that he has compiled a "compendious and…

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Aba : International Press