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In Africa's Honor

Boxing champ Dick Tigers inspires his country

July 3, 2012
The Daily News

Justina Ihetu, author and Dick Tiger's proud daughter, offers the following on "In Africa's Honor: Dick Tiger Versus Gene Fullmer III, A Blast From Nigeria's Gloroius Past" (available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iUniverse):

Courage of the African People

By Justina Ihetu

Article Photos

For centuries, Africans have been able to hold their own to rise above calamities and various forms of atrocities committed against them, either via colonization or entrenched stereotypes of Africans as savages and idlers.

In the face of injustice and humiliation bolstered by the stereotypes, Africans have remained steadfast in their resolve to leave for future generations of Africans a world where they can feel an ownership in the scheme of things. The Women's War that occurred in Southeast Nigeria is one such show of courage and defiance of injustice.

The Women's War of 1929 occurred in the same year as the birth of the protagonist in my book "In Africa's Honor." The women were a group of illiterate, but wise, market women who saw through the unjust colonial polices that threatened and weakened their social and economic status.

When their concerns and their pleas were taken for granted, they revolted; sometimes employing the non-violent tactics termed, "sitting on" where the women would track and chase their intended target around, into submission, to curb what they perceived to be the excesses of an unjust foreign government, insensitive to their needs.

The Women's Rebellion later took a violent turn, resulting in untold injuries and death of almost a hundred women, shot by the British colonial officers in their bid to restore seeming order. The ramifications of the Women's War, however, is far-reaching as its aftermath convinced the government to implement various administrative reforms to alleviate the sufferings of the women, in particular, and their subjects in general.

The uprising also greatly impacted the role of women in the socio-political affairs of Nigeria and Africa today. Their courage helped pave the way for further resistance to injustice and prejudice against black people in Africa and around the world.

Decades later, Dick Tiger, Nigeria's boxing champion, would fight a similar battle, in pursuit of dignity and honor for his country of Nigeria, and for Africa, when he helped to orchestrate the hosting of Africa's first world boxing championship event.

With this fight, the eyes of the world were trained on Nigeria; and the people of Nigeria united to dispel centuries long held myths about Africa. Dick Tiger's victory proved the icing on the cake when he bore the weight of that entire nation on his shoulders to fight Gene Fullmer of West Jordan, and retained the World Middleweight championship crown.

I write about Dick Tiger's victory for the people of Africa in my new book, "In Africa's Honor." I am sure that many will continue to bring honor to Africa through their courage.



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