Great Boys: An African Childhood
Author: Tanure Ojaide
Tackk Created By: Elise Turner

About the Author

Tanure Ojaide Born in the oil-rich but economically impoverished Niger Delta area of Nigeria, Tanure Ojaide was raised by his grandmother in a riverine rural environment. He attended a Catholic Grammar School and Federal Government College, Warri. Ojaide was educated at the University of Ibadan, where he received a bachelor's degree in English, and Syracuse University, where he received both the M.A. in Creative Writing and Ph.D. in English. A Fellow in Writing of the University of Iowa, his poetry awards include the Commonwealth Poetry Prize for the Africa Region (1987), the All-Africa Okigbo Prize for Poetry (1988, 1997), the BBC Arts and Africa Poetry Award (1988), and the Association of Nigerian Authors Poetry Award (1988, 1994, 2003, and 2011). Sovereign Body was in the forthcoming group of receiving  Commonwealth Literature Prize for the Africa Region in 2005. His non-fiction, Drawing the Map of Heaven: An African Writer’s Experience of America, was a runner-up for the Penguin Prize for African Writing (2010). Ojaide taught for many years at The University of Maiduguri (Nigeria) and is currently the Frank Porter Graham Professor of African Studies at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.


Moware: Is the main character, he is wise for his age, he not tall but he is not short either, he is kind and noble.

Grandma Amreghe: The wise Grandmother who tells Moware about how he was born. She is described as a sweet old lady who is wise and helps all. ( she raised him in Nigeria)

Grandpa : No one takes advice from him accept Moware,his only friend. He is described as rude to everyone except Moware keeps a hidden bottle of gin (don't drink from his bottle he will know.)

Mother: She has given birth to 6 children but only one lives (Moware is her only living child) She is described as a mournful, and only acts right around Grandma Amreghe.

Father: He is brave and the family describes him as there spokesperson his voice transfixed people. He was very resourceful at having something ready to say in a meeting or dispute. When there was an impasse he was called to use words to mediate or loosen things up for a compromise. He also said and I quote "I believe in making others do what I cannot do myself (he is referring to laughing.)

Story Overview

It all begins when his grandmother tells him the struggle that his family went through to make sure he was born. Moware was a little boy raised in Nigeria. He ventures through Africa and everything starts to change especially when he turns 17. He doesn't know it yet but he will accomplish great things. He grows up and learns how to survive on his own and makes sacrifices to become successful in America.  Being African at the time when segregation laws had just been passed, proved to be difficult. This is the beginning of Moware's life.


Perseverance, Courage, Kindness, Compassion, and Acceptance.


In the US during the 1960's there was racial tension between white and black. Moware and his friends are being treated strangely because they are from Africa, people believe they are good for nothing pushovers (they are a waste of space.) But Moware believes the White Americans are being childish and not looking at people for who they are within.


The mood of this story was emotional but also humorous he writes as tho he was still a kid, but he is writing from the prospective when he  was a child.


Well I made some text to world connections when Moware and his friends were being treated like dirt because of the color of their skin and where they came from, it appears that Moware popped up in the US when the segregation law had just been passed but some people just didn't want to cooperate.

Moware and his family got together for Independence just like how me and my family get together and enjoy a good cook out by the bon fire.


This book was a really great book, it showed the importance of family and not to give up in the face of judgement. During the beginning of the book I was confused and really didn't know what was going on, but the further I read the more I understood. During the book I had a lot of little mental laughs. The book was good. It's not a typical book I would pick up and read,  it's one that I would glance over but I'm glad my dad recommended that I read it.

Recommend who/why?

I recommend this to people who like Coming of age books. This book described Moware's journey as a child into manhood in the US and the different experiences that he lived through.

Lets Play a Game

Comment Stream

2 years ago

What do you think happens when he turns 17 years old?😎

2 years ago

A)Will he be drafted into the war

2 years ago

B)He will become a famous poet

2 years ago

C) He will became a doctor

2 years ago

D) His teacher takes him to McDonalds to grab him an application there he begins writing stories on how Africa was and what family meant