On the 22nd of October, 2018, Onyeka Nwelue was thrown into an empty cell in a Kigali police station. For seven days, he had to sleep on a bare cold floor, while those who love him, battled outside to have him freed.
His crime: for making complaint about his lost properties on RwandaAir, while travelling to Kenya from Johannesburg, via Kigali.
One of the prison wardens allowed him to read Wole Soyinka’s The Man Died, which was in his luggage, at the gate of the police station. He also allowed him a pen and papers.
He wrote An Angel on the Piano, in prison.
Onyeka Nwelue is a Nigerian filmmaker, talk-show host, bookseller and author whose book, Hip-Hop is Only for Children won the Creative Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the 2015 Nigerian Writers’ Awards. He adapted his novella, Island of Happiness into an Igbo language film, Agwaetiti Obiụtọ and won Best Feature Film by a Director at 2018 Newark International Film Festival, and went on to be nominated for Best First Feature Film by a Director and the Ousmane Sembene Award for Best Film in an African Language at the 2018 Africa Movie Academy Awards. Onyeka Nwelue recently won the 2021 ANA Prize for Prose Fiction with his crime novel, The Strangers of Braamfontein (Griots Lounge Canada, 2021).
He is the director of the Oxford-based James Currey Society and founder of La Cave Musik, a record label, based in Paris.