The Ambivalence of 1960

Emeka Ogboh

The Ambivalence of 1960

Nineteen-sixty was the year Nigeria gained its independence from its British colonial master. It was on October 1, 1960, to be precise.

The Ambivalence of 1960 is a collage of excerpts from some prominent speeches made during the 1960 independence celebrations. It particularly includes speeches made by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe (the first president of Nigeria), Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (the prime minister of Nigeria), and Princess Alexandra of Kent (the representative of the Queen of England).

These speeches were highly fuelled with hopes of utopia and aspirations of Nigeria becoming the giant of Africa as it steps out of the shackles of colonialism. The speeches also emphasized relevant issues that were to be considered for national development, for example: unity in diversity, defense of human rights, security, religious tolerance, et cetera.

The Ambivalence of 1960 uses these archived sound recordings to highlight how Nigeria’s modern past, symbolized by the promises of independence, contrasts with the contemporary present, characterized by failed hope and long forgotten dreams.

In doing so, the work uncovers the ways in which nostalgia and memory play into the national imaginary.