The author of famous novel, Nigger at Eton, and Enugu-based publisher, Dilibe Onyeama dies, aged 71.

He was born Charles Dillibe Ejiofor, the second of seven children from a famous father, late Justice Daddy Onyeama.

The publisher’s son, Dilibe Jr., confirmed the passage in a tribute yesterday on his Facebook page.

The senior Onyeama lived in Enugu since his return from England after attending Eton College, the famous British public school.

He achieved the distinction of becoming the first black person to successfully graduate from the College.

His book detailed the racial abuses he overcame to pass his O’Levels and graduate.

The book, revised early this year as A Black Boy at Eton, exposed widespread racism in the elite public school.

His father, Justice Onyeama, was judge of the Supreme Court who equally served on the bench of the International Court of Justice at the Hague.

An Oxford graduate himself, Justice Onyeama wanted his second child to have the best possible British education.

Displaying his book, reissued by Penguin back in January 2022.

His awakening came a few weeks into his first year studying with the children of the British elite, when the 14-year-old was greeted by ape noises and racial slurs when he entered his classics lessons. The taunts surrounded him. “Here comes the big black bastard,” one boy shouted, as others jeered. When he quietly asked what they were doing, his peers responded with more ape noises. So he sat down and tried to ignore them until a boy approached to ask if he felt ashamed wearing school uniform; when Onyeama asked why, the boy responded: “I thought that, since all Africans usually wore nothing, wearing this would make you feel ashamed.” Cue a louder chorus of laughter. He tried to explain that Africans don’t walk around naked, but it fell on deaf ears.

The (London) Guardian

After graduating from Eton, Onyeama worked for some time in Britain before returning to set up Delta Publications in Enugu.

He told The Guardian of London in an interview in February that he understood why his peers were down on him a lot.

“Eton is built by English royalty, and that’s the first place that supremacist attitudes exist.”

Eton Headmaster Michael McCrum banned him from visiting his former school when the book was first published in 1974.

Current headmaster, Simon Henderson, however lifted the ban early this year 2022. The school equally offered an apology for the racist abuse he suffered between 1965 and 1969 as a student.

Dillibe Onyeama was very active in the Coal City arts circuit. Besides promoting the Delta Book Club in Enugu, he was a facilitator of the annual Coal City Book Convention.

Author and Publisher Dilibe Onyeama dies at age 71