4.00 out of 5
1 review Add Your Review
Availability: in stock


Pages: 210
Language: English
ISBN 9791220137348

SKU: 9791220137348 Categories: , Tag:

A multi-dimensional story of a human tragedy dredged from the belly of a theatre of war.
In two and a half years, scampering from Aba to Amaeke Item and back to
Aba, a 10-year-old boy accepts his mother’s prescient prompt to document the untold sordid realities of the Nigerian-Biafran war.
Its flow connects daring adventures and unexpected events, community sense of survival, brotherhood and friendship. The narrative rhythm is thrilling and touching.
Kidding in a Theatre of War drives the reader into a metaphorical grip that’s hard to escape from.

“Well, don’t think there’s a choice; if we don’t, we all die …
if he goes, perhaps he dies for us, they spare us.”

“You feel this way because I’m alive; the dead don’t have
deformities. Do they?”

Ndu Paul Eke is a war survivor, storyteller and writer.
He has been a broadcast, newspaper and digital media Journalist rising to the post of an Editor.
Years after, Ndu transited to a banking career during which he led marketing, corporate communications and relationship marketing teams.
Lately, has been leading a leadership communications consultancy he founded.


Eke’s ‘Kidding in a Theatre of War’ Mirrors a Horror-filled Childhood Experience (

Veteran journalist, Ndu  Eke reminiscences childhood experiences – Oracle news

To Stare At History – A Review of Kidding In A Theatre Of War – Optimum Times

Europe Books Presents “Kidding in a Theatre of War” – TheNewsTurf

1 review for KIDDING IN A THEATRE OF WAR – Ndu Paul Eke

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eme Dikje

    To Stare At History – A Review of Kidding In A Theatre Of War
    The brilliant artistic work that is the cover of Kidding In A Theatre Of War tees up with the title of the book. One that is as inviting as the best of a sales copy. The brownish canvas upon which a caricature of ancient fighters is imprinted is pleasant enough. It tells you at once that it’s a historical work. The back cover with a subdued illustration of a war relic has a blurb that is as appetizing to a reader as the contents of the book. The author being a war survivor and a veteran journalist, top up the allure of a gripping story told in 210 A-5 pages.

    Is Kidding In A Theatre Of War just a figment of the fertile imagination of the author or a bird’s-eye view of history? The author is, however, quick to provide a caveat. “…many of the names of persons, institutions, communities and towns mentioned in it may exist yet, it’s a fictional work,” he says. The author may have gone the way of exploring the license of literary fiction to present a type of history – children in an enclave of war. He starts the story in a racy, and graphic showcase of Nigeria of pre-1966 when a Baba Tijani, a Fulani, Baba Rasaki, a Yoruba and Papa Emeuwa, Igbo live together, peacefully on Victoria Street, Aba.

    This reviewer doesn’t know how much influence Chinua Achebe’s book, There Was A Country… has on the author especially as both featured the story of Amaeke Item. While Achebe numbered Amaeke Item among the communities where the genocides of the Nigerian civil war happened, Ndu, the author of Kidding In A Theatre of War details the tragic drama, geography and bits of historical antecedents of the community. A large part of the story is set in Amaeke Item. It portrays Item town as one of the few communities the federal and Biafran troops trampled upon simultaneously.

    Through its 18 chapters, history unfolds and stares at one; told from a third person point of view you are made a witness of the sequence of catastrophic episodes, man’s wickedness against his fellows, daring actors and community sense of survival. The pacing is like a movie. Creatively, the author spices the book with two of his poems – In My Story and See Through.
    This heart-rending story comes alive in the mouths and actions of such characters as Emeuwa, the protagonist, his uncle, Okom Agbai, his father, Mazi Amadu Okocha and Mother, who is simply identified as Mama Emeuwa. In the 4th chapter, the 35year old plus mother of five gives us a tip of the travails of nursing mothers during the hostilities. She goes to a farm eight days after she is delivered of her 5th child and stumbles on the way. Her rare depict of the war as being in two folds – one against starvation and the other for self defence and freedom is insightful.
    Emeuwa didn’t kid alone in the theatre. In the story are Lizzy Erinma and Enyidiya, both girls aged not more than 11 years. Lizzy is abducted and forcefully married to Sergeant Aminu of the federal troops. She becomes a wife in a marriage that didn’t last beyond the war time. Her husband abandons her and allegedly marries another after he is posted out. Lizzy goes on AWOL. Her parents ferret her to Aba where she gets a religious experience leading to another life and marriage; this time not to a soldier.
    Enyidiya is one of the children guerrilla entrepreneurs. She does reconnaissance missions for Afia Attack traders, more like smugglers at the time. All the money she made goes into treating a gunshot wound. Bullets of the federal troops allegedly shatter her right leg. Uche and Anyim, primary school pupils at Aba scamper from a scene of bomb attack in such a riveting manner. A squirrel running from a predator can’t do better. They survive and reconnect with Emeuwa at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka after the war. Some days, they sit in reminiscences of Nigeria’s darkest hour and resolve to go look ahead relying on the Igbo philosophy of Nkeiru ka.
    Okom Agbai is the provider of guidance and interpretations of developments to Emeuwa; a news courier of a sort, for his family and kindred. He rightly predicts that the coup and counter coup of 1966 will lead to a war; a Biafran soldier on AWOL who monitors the broadcasts of BBC, VOA all the time.
    Unlike Agbai, Major Joe of the Biafran Army served till the end and comes back deformed not by bullets or injury. He didn’t like how the war ended and laments that it’s so costly a venture. He concludes – “war isn’t good.” All of Emeuwa’s efforts to learn something about the war from him is rebuffed because, “if I talk about it one will lose his sanity.”
    The book couldn’t have ended less tragic. Mama Emeuwa who wishes to die in place of her children during the war gets killed by undetected landmine in a market months after the war. The additional tragedy reminds Emeuwa of her mother’s earlier prompt to record the incidents of the war for posterity. Kidding In A Theatre Of War is it perhaps.
    Piecing the story together, the author, Ndu, shows mastery in storytelling and delivers a readable prose that accommodates the nuances of his native Item dialect and idiomatic expressions. The Africaness of the story isn’t lost, so is the ugliness of war. As tragic a story it is, a reader may wish for a sequel.
    Kidding In A Theatre Of War, a little over 50,000 words is published by Europe Books in the UK, March 2023 under the series, BUILD UNIVERSES. A fast reader at the level of 300wpm can read it up in no less than four hours but the profundity of the work will be longer, deeper and far-reaching. It is a worthy and perspective addition to the literature of the Nigeria civil war. To buy and read is highly recommended.
    By Eme Dike, is a literary critic based in Abuja, Nigeria/ 21st June, 2023
    EMAIL –

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *