Topics for Further Study
Research the Biafran War, also known as the Nigerian Civil War. How did the conflict start? What kept it going, and what was the ultimate result? How is this similar to, or different from, the conflict between the young men in the villages in The Wrestling Match?
In the book, Okei’s uncle and a man from the neighboring village invent a diversion to give the teenagers a positive outlet for their energy. If you could invent a similar diversion for young people in American society, what would it be? What do you think would happen as a result?
Okei is reluctant to go to his uncle and ask him for help, because he is afraid his uncle will say, “I knew you would have to ask me,” and “I told you so.” Do you think these feelings are universal in young people in all cultures? Why?
In the book, the characters often comment on how things have changed: some of the young people are now educated, and instead of doing traditional dances at the yam festival, they are wrestling—perhaps because they have lived through a war. Research Nigerian society in the 1970s and today, and discuss how it has changed in the last few decades.
For the characters in the book, yams are a staple food. Find out what other foods are important in Nigerian society and culture. Research a Nigerian recipe, then cook a Nigerian dish.