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Tutorial Lessons For Jambites Summary Of “In Dependence”

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Aderinola Bunmi

“In Dependence” is a book by Sarah Ladipo Manyika and UTME candidates are to be tested on the novel, irrespective of the course you registered for. Here is a summary of the book to give you a hint on what the book is all about.

Note that it is advisable for you to still read the main novel in order to be well grounded.

Summary of “In Dependence”
About the Author
Sarah Ladipo Manyika was raised in Nigeria and has lived in Kenya, France, and England. She holds a Ph.D from the University of California, Berkeley, and currently teaches literature at San Francisco State University. Her writing includes essays, academic papers, reviews and short stories. Her second novel, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun was published April 1, 2016 by Cassava Republic Press (Abuja-London). Her debut novel, In Dependence was published by Legend Press (London) and Cassava Republic Press.

About the Novel
In Dependence was published in the UK in 2008; in Nigeria in 2009 and in the US in 2011. It is Sarah Ladipo Manyika’s debut novel. The novel begins in the early 1960s when Tayo Ajayi meets Vanessa Richardson, the beautiful daughter of an ex-colonial officer. Their story, which spans three continents and four turbulent decades, is that of a brave but bittersweet love affair. It is the story of individuals struggling to find their place within uncertain political times – a story of passion and idealism, courage and betrayal.

Although, In Dependence can suitably pass for a love story, it is far more than that, as it also traces the journey of the political history of Nigeria; the military coups, the bad and deceitful leadership and its experimental steps towards democracy/civilian rule.

Also, it brings the social realities of Nigeria into light- a situation where the poor get poorer everyday without any improvement. With the events surrounding Tayo’s life, Sarah Manyika brings to limelight the effects of bad governance on the country’s tertiary institutions (universities) and the ensuing massive brain drain that Africa has experienced. There are also issues of racial discrimination and cultural dichotomy and we see Tayo, Vanessa and other characters live their lives amidst these issues.

Outside the political spheres, In Dependence is Tayo and Vanessa’s story of a brave but bittersweet love affair. It is the story of two people struggling to find themselves and each other – a story of passion and idealism, courage and betrayal, and the universal desire to fall, madly and deeply in love.

Furthermore, it is a convincing narrative on the price we pay for the decisions we make in our lives, whether right or wrong; and life sometimes is just about doing what makes you happy regardless of people’s opinions. Unfortunately, most of African cultures reject such philosophy. For us, life is not only about the individual but also about family, relatives, communities, tradition, culture etc.

Through an authentic and objective voice, the novelist ensures that all these realities that characterize Nigeria and Africa at large are adequately portrayed in her story.

Summary/Plot Account of the Novel
Sarah Ladipo Manyika novel which showcases the love affair of two main characters (Tayo and Vanessa) begins with these lines:

One could begin with the dust, the heat and the purple bougainvillea. One might even begin with the smell of rotting mangos tossed by the side of the road where the flies hummed and green-bellied lizards bobbed their orange heads while loitering in the sun. But Tayo did not notice these – instead he walked in silence, oblivious to his surroundings.

It is the early-sixties (1963 to be precise) when a young Tayo Ajayi sails to England from Nigeria to take up a scholarship at Oxford University. Nigeria has been independent from British colonial rule for just 3 years and Tayo is part of the newly educated generation eager to take up educational opportunities abroad so that they can return to their country and help it become successful. With high hopes for the future of Nigeria and confident in his own ability to make a difference, Tayo throws himself into Oxford life, but a romantic attachment to a white Englishgirl, Vanessa, derails his plans. In this city of dreaming spires, he finds himself among a generation, high on visions of a new and better world. The whole world seems ablaze with change: independence at home, the Civil Rights movement and the first tremors of cultural and sexual revolutions. It is then that Tayo meets Vanessa Richardson, the beautiful daughter of an ex-colonial officer and a racist. When they first meet, Tayo and Vanessa are drawn to each other, him to her because she’s different than women he knows in Nigeria; her to him because she seems to have a fascination with all things from the continent of Africa.

As their relationship progresses, it seems that her love for him is also rooted in antagonizing her conservative, colonialist father who is also a racist. Their love affair faces lots of challenges with racism as its major challenge. It could not survive the pressure of racism from passersby, policemen and especially Vanessa’s father who is a self proclaimed racist.

Tayo also worries about whether his own family will accept Vanessa, and whether she will be able to live in African society. On her part, Vanesa begins to wonder if she is simply something for Tayo to do until he meets a Nigerian woman, as she has witnessed with friends of his.

Many of the problems, however, are of their own making – they hold back from saying what they feel, they miscommunicate, misunderstand, lash out and they are unfaithful. Then, fate and politics intervene at crucial points – as Tayo is about to propose, he gets a telegram saying his father is dying and he has to return to Nigeria. Tayo leaves England with every intention of returning to Vanessa but first, he is delayed by his father’s illness and then a military coup. Much later, he is about to visit Vanessa in England but is arrested on his way to the airport. Consequently, Tayo resigns himself to staying in Nigeria and marrying a local woman.

Vanessa hopes for two things: marry Tayo and return to Nigeria with him and also become a respected journalist. Unfortunately, things didn’t happen the way she has hoped and due to circumstances beyond her control (and her stubbornness in some part) she ends up marrying an older white man and adopting the child of a Senegalese friend. She does, however, become the respected journalist that she has hoped to be.

Tayo later meets with Vanessa many years later and this meeting provides him with an opportunity to rekindle his romance with her, but just like their earlier encounters, it feels stiff and wooden.

Tayo and Vanessa end up living their lives independent of each other but no matter what they did, and where they were, the thoughts and love they had for each other lingered on (even though the other didn’t necessarily know). I guess love really does stand the test of time.

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Aderinola Bunmi

Role of Some Characters From “In Dependence”

Role of Some Characters

1. Tayo
Tayo is the protagonist/main character of the novel. He is an intelligent man but he always seems to do wrong. He tries to do the right thing, never wants to hurt anyone but in the end he does, especially the women in his life – and there are quite a number of women in his life that he hurts.

2. Vanessa
Vanessa, on the other hand, dreams of being a journalist writing on African issues, marrying Tayo and moving with him to Nigeria to start a new life. Unfortunately life gets in the way and a host of things prevent most of her dreams from coming true. She does end up achieving one of her dreams – being a world renowned journalist on African issues.

3. Christine
Christine is the Nigerian woman that first caught Tayo’s eye. Christine is shown as an opinionated woman that does not shy away from engaging men in intellectual conversation. However, this character is killed off too quickly in the novel and the reason for her death—suicide, was not very convincing. It was hard to picture Christine as a love struck and defeated woman who would kill herself.

4. Jane
Vanessa’s cousin who is quite outspoken about her sexual encounter.

5. Vanessa’s Father
He was a colonial master in Nigeria before 1960. He is against Tayo marrying his daughter and has refused to accept Vanessa’s adopted half-cast son. He seemed more racial against half-casts earlier in the novel confronting Tayo about his fears for a half-cast grandchild. It was later understood that his hatred for the blacks was as a result of an affair his wife had with a black man during the colonial era.

Other Characters in the Novel
Omotayo Oluwakayode Ajayi also known as TY.
Inspector Adeniyi Ajayi : Tayo’s father who was once a court servant and an interpreter in the native administration before joining the police.
Mrs Elizabeth Richardson: Mother of Venessa.
Mr Edward Maximilian Barker: The one who welcomed Omotayo prior to the letter given to Tayo by Mr Faircliff.
Headmaster Faircliff: Tayo’s Headmaster.
Mr Clark: Tayo’s Mathematics Teacher.
Mr Blackburn: British empire history teacher.
Bisi and Remi: Siblings of Tayo.
Modupe: Tayo’s Lover before going to Oxford at age 19.
Uncle Bolu also known as Uncle B: Tayo’s uncle who loved drinking and women. And women also loved him in return.
Uncle Oluwakayode Ogundipe: A Big Man in Lagos, who lived in a luxurious, a senior army officer before leaving for France to study Engineering.
Helen: Uncle Kayode’s wife.
Aunty Bayo: Former girl friend of Uncle Kayode.
Mr Lekan Olajide from Ogbomoso on a voyage.
Mr Ibrahim Mohammed from Kaduna on a voyage.
Mrs Isabella Barker: An attractive young Italian woman who preferred to be called “Isabella”.
Mr Ike Nwade: A student of History.
Mr Bolaji Ladipupo: A Law student.
Christopher Okigbo: A poet and Omotayo’s teacher.
Gita from Kenya: An English student.
Pat: A Physicist.
Charlie and Mehul: (whites)
Simon: The president of west African Student.
Francis: From Ghana who was with the idea that independence came far too early for Africans.
Maynes Keynes: Venessa’s grandpa was in the colonial service Juma and Saratu
Lord Lugard: was once the governor of Hong kong before coming to Nigeria and he also became Nigerian governor in the year 1914.
Nancy Murdoch and Mr Murdoch.
Uncle Tony: who had s*x with Jane.
Madam Pagnole.
Chinua Achebe: Author of “Things Fall Apart” and “No longer at Ease”.
Nkrumah: The first president of Ghana and Senghor of Senegal Kenyatt.
Tunde: The cousin of Tayo who works in the bakery.
Yusuf Abubakar: who works in the hospital. He believed white women were only meant for friendship but not for marriage with his genuine reasons.
Joyce: Yusuf’s white girlfriend who said he hasn’t heard Yusuf speak Nigerian before.
Mr and Mrs winter: across the road at Bradley
Joy Williams: The black WOMAN Yusuf got married to.
Anais Nin: The first British erotic writer.
Nigerian coup d’etat and Biafran war.
Salamatou: A hairstylist in Dakar, Senegal who died in an auto accident
Jean Luc: A French who had promised to marry Salamatou but ran away after he got to know she was pregnant.
Miriam: A nurse, whom treated Tayo’s father and got pregnant for Tayo. Got married to Tayo and gave birth to Kemi.
Kemi: Daughter of Tayo and Miriam
President Shagari.
Mr Akin: A carver.
Wole Soyinka: Okri the Booker.
Aureol: Shipping Company.
Dogun: Dutse Mobile station.
Samir: From Bradford.
Suleiman: Salamatou’s son hence Venessa’s adopted son. He became a Muslim and a drop out from Cambridge Univer.
Abdou: The driver who was taken Tayo to the airport before an accident occur.
Laurent: Kemi’s boyfriend.
Danjuma: The gardener.
Professor John Harris: He is the man whom Kemi introduced to his father from the University.
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Aderinola Bunmi

Note that the correct answers are in bold text.

“An old man should be contemplating his mortality than dreaming of women”. This statement was made by whom?
A. Mr Faircliff B. Mr Ajayi C. Mr Tayo D. Modupe

Which day of the week did Tayo leave Nigeria for Oxford in 1963?
A. Tuesday B. Thursday C. Monday D. Sunday

How many people were in the car when Tayo was being taken to uncle Kayode’s place?
A. three B. five C. two D. one

The names of Tayo’s cousins in England were ______.
A. Tunde and Jumoke B. Ike and Paul C. Kayode and Emma D. Okey and Remi

In 1963, Uncle Kayode returned from abroad as ______.
A. a senior army officer B. a deportee C. a slave trader D. a Nobel Laureate

“You’re off to be a Balliol man”. Who said this?
A. headmaster Faircliff B. Uncle Kayode C. Mr Ajayi D. Kemi

What is the significance of Tayo’s visit to his relatives before embarking on his journey to England?
A. to eat his last meal from every home B. It is their tradition C. to receive their prayers D. to collect money
In what subject did Bisi receive the highest honours?
A. English B. Physics C. Geography D. Mathematics

In the Ajayi motto, all things were expected to be done with moderation except?
A. Study B. Eating C. Sleeping D. Singing

Who was Mr Barker?
A. Mr Faircliff’s old friend B. A lecturer at Balliol C. Tayo’s roommate D. Freedom’s father

What reminded Tayo of his mother in the Barker’s house?
A. Isabella’s wonderful cooking B. the curtains in the Barker’s home C. the paintings on the wall D. Isabella’s accent

Christine first met Tayo in her ______ year of study.
A. second B. first C. third D. final
“Poets are the greatest writers”. Who said this?
A. Christine B. Trevor-Roper C. Ike D. Tayo

What was the name of Vanessa’s friend to whom she wrote a letter on the status of women?
A. Jane B. Rita C. Celestine D. Precious

What is the full meaning of JACARI?
A. Juju Association of Cultists And Ritual Initiators B. Jabi
Alliance of Car And Road Insurance C. Joint Action Committee Against Racial Inequality D. Joint Assurance Conference Against Rat’s Invasion

Vanessa described college food as?
A. overcooked and flavourless B. tasteless and meatless C. too soft and salty D. sour and peppery

The language of fun among Tayo’s friends was?
A. Latin B. Spanish C. Pidgin English D. yoruba

What made Tayo think of home each time he visited Christine?
A. the smell of her cooking B. the colour of her apron C. her carpet D. her welcoming hug

What trait did Vanessa find in Tayo but found lacking in Mehul and Charlie?
A. humour B. humility C. gentleness D. pride

Tayo thought the name suited Vanessa very much.
A. Moremi B. Sade C. Ajoke D. Abike

Tayo’s father worked as court messenger and interpreter in the 1950’s before becoming _______.
A. a soldier B. policeman C. teacher D. shoemaker

Who was Harold Wilson?
A. the new Prime Minister B. the new President C. Tayo’s contemporary D. a new Lecturer at Oxford

Who had Vanessa’s father invited to the Christmas party against her wish?
A. his military friends B. his school mates C. his mining friends D. his father

Tayo thought of Vanessa’s mother as?
A. strict B. taciturn C. charming and strikingly beautiful D. warm and affectionate

Who mistook Tayo for a servant?
A. Vanessa’s grandma B. One of Mr Richard’s South African friends C. Vanessa D. the chief servant

What had Vanessa noticed as a habit of Africans?
A. lying on the ground to greet an elderly person B. buying things on credit C. bargaining heavily on prices of goods D. saying sorry even when they weren’t at fault

Simon suggested that Tayo, Vanessa, his girlfriend Nina and he spend the Easter holidays in ___ .
A. Saudi Arabia B. Africa C. Paris D. Boston

Christine died by/of .
A. food poisoning B. Suicide C. Plane crash D. jealousy

Tayo felt guilty about the death of Christine because he felt _______.
A. he had not given her his attention by not responding to her letters B. he served the wine that the killed her C. he was the pilot of the plane she died in D. he refused to marry her

The closest relative to Tayo in England was ______ .
A. Tunde B. Sir Faircliff C. Moremi D. Vanessa

What did the signs ‘No dogs, no Irish, no coloureds (Africans and Indians)’ symbolise in the novel?
A. gender inequality B. Racism C. Narcissism D. xenophobia

In the novel, the least strenuous work was reserved for whom?
A. the coloureds B. the handicapped C. the whites D. the aged

For what purpose did Tunde throw a party in his house?
A. to celebrate Gambia’s independence B. to attract the neighbours’ attention C. to mark his girlfriend’s birthday D. to initiate Tayo in to his cult

Whose wedding did Tayo and Vanessa attend?
A. Yunusa B. Tunde C. Yusuf D. Simi

The bride turned out to be Joy instead of ________.
A. Favour B. Joyce C. Vanessa D. Vicky

Who made this statement: “No! don’t Moremi me”?
A. Moremi B. Sandra C. Vanessa D. Joy

Tayo had a hard time trying to prepare what dish at the Barker’s home?
A. rice and stew B. fish gravy C. chicken stew D. fried yam and egg

Who paid Tayo an unexpected visit after the New year?
A. Mr Ajayi B. Uncle Kayode C. Vanessa D. Mama Tayo

_______ invited Tayo to lead a school assembly on a lecture.
A. Vanessa B. Mr Richardson C. The Barkers D. Yusuf

Who was the village drunk?
A. Ago B. Yunusa C. Dele D. Ibrahim

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Aderinola Bunmi


Comprehension is an aspect of English language that takes care of students’ ability to understand writing or spoken discourse. Hence, there are two forms of comprehension: reading comprehension and listening comprehension. The former is tested in UTME and SSCE. In reading comprehension, the concept of discourse and its language are within the vocabulary level of the candidates. Any passage chosen is not too technical or verbose. So, candidates level of understanding is very paramount in the mind of the examiners.

When you are faced with a comprehension passage and you are to respond to some questions, what are the smart things to do? Remember, both in SSCE and UTME, you have two hours/one hundred and twenty minutes to respond the all the questions facing you at that moment (in SSCE you have essay writing, comprehension and summary in Paper 2 and in UTME you have Use of English and your other combination all within two hours). No matter how interesting or difficult the passage is, time management becomes the major consideration.

So, the first advice is that you should personally device a means of managing your time. This can be done through practice with your UTME CBT application. There are no hard and fast rules to how you can manage your time. You may choose to answer other questions first and come back for your comprehension. This is very advisable. However, if your strength is in answering comprehension, you can go for it. The point is, know yourself and your strength and take advantage of it first.

Having said that, it is advisable to go through your questions first before reading the passage. Remember, you don’t have all the time. This is not a classwork! Going through the questions will provide you the opportunity to have the skeletal summary of the passage. And the law of recognition comes to play when you come across any concept in the passage that you have seen earlier in the question. You know the knot you want untied.

Please, do not be caught in the web of skimming and assumption because you’ve gone through the questions. What is worth doing at all is worth doing well. So, create a few minutes to scan your passage before choosing your answers. Knock off irrelevant options and carefully consider your answer. In the next lesson, we will look at types of questions in comprehension passages.

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Aderinola Bunmi

Types of Questions

Since the purpose of comprehension section is to test the candidates’ ability to understand, questions will go from shallow (how old was Edet?) to deep questions to test how you can read in between the lines. Here we have types of questions you can be asked. You are advised to get your past questions series beside you as references may be made to some years.

Literal Questions
As the name implies, this is a straightforward question. It asks you a simple and direct question. However, candidates are fond of giving more than enough probably out of the fear that the question seems too simple for the exam in focus. At times, candidates pre-empt the writer and supply answers from their box of assumption. In UTME, literal questions are used to test candidates’ vocabulary strength. In 2015 for instance, one of the questions was:

The expression third party, as used in the passage means ________.
A. politician
B. intruder
C. conformist
D. mediator

If you go through the passage, you will just pick the answer from the last line:

‘…For example, a conflict could be managed through ‘negotiation’ that is, direct bargaining by the parties involved in the conflict: or through ‘mediation’, that is with the help of a third party.’

I believe you can answer the question now.

Also, in 2017, the literal question there was:

The expression binge drinking as used in the passage means _________.
A. drinking for a short period
B. drinking intermittently
C. drinking profusely
D. drinking against medical advice

Hmmm! When it comes like this and you don’t know the meaning of the word, you want to gamble. Let’s see an excerpt from the passage:

‘The global body put the number of deaths from alcohol abuse, every year, at 2.5 million. Rising incomes were identified to have triggered more drinking in Africa and Asia while binge drinking is a problem in many developed countries.’

Have you any clue? May be not. The truth is with literal questions, you can’t infer. If you don’t know it, you don’t. The dictionary is not allowed. My candid advice is that read the context again, pick your answer and move on.

Let’s answer it: binge means a short period of excessive consumption especially of excessive alcohol consumption. The answer is now obvious.

Note that the examiner is fond of using the expression, ‘as used in the passage’ to make it look like the statement carries an exclusive semantics from ordinary use. More often than not, it doesn’t. The context is always simple and of everyday use, hence, literal.

Inferential Questions
Inferential questions are meant to test candidates’ abilities to make deductive reasonings. Your answers are deduced from the various premises established in the discourse. You should by now be familiar with the word deduce or infer as this is very common in UTME questions. The very basic knowledge of logic is required here. For instance, if it is true that all bloggers are successful and Daniel is a blogger. Then, it can be deduced from the above premises/facts (all bloggers are successful and Daniel is a blogger) that Daniel is successful.

In 2016, one of the questions asked was:

Which of the following can be inferred from the passage?
A. The approach to employ in conflict management depends on the state of affairs.
B. Only one conflict management approach can be applied in all situations.
C. All conflict management approached can be applied in all situations.
D. There is a general disagreement among scholars on conflict management.

The inference can be seen in the first paragraph:

There are many different approaches to conflict management, each of which may have utility in particular circumstances. A great deal of scholarship has been devoted to analysing how and in what situations different approaches can be applied most effectively.

Having read the passage, can you attempt the question above? The statement in bold can guide you to choose the correct option.

Option A is the correct answer.

Try the other question on deduction on your own and drop your comment.

Critical Questions
Here the candidate’s correct judgement is tested. In UTME your ability to give a sound judgement under comprehension is often times tested when you are asked to give the appropriate or suitable title to a passage. Check year 2014 comprehension passages’ questions to test your ability.

Culled from https://nigerianscholars.com/tutorial/english-lexis-and-comprehension/
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