Winston Churchill dies, and Richard is relieved to have an excuse to avoid Kainene for another weekend, as he decides to go to Lagos for a memorial service. Richard remembers enjoying his night with Olanna, but he left without a word the next day. He had fantasized about Olanna from afar, but now his fantasy is gone, and he is deathly afraid of losing Kainene. He is determined that Kainene not find out.
Richard was basically a tool for Olanna’s assertion of independence, and he allowed himself to give in to his vague longing for Olanna as “off-limits.” We have seen how Kainene makes up his whole world and identity though, so Richard will now do anything to avoid losing her.
At the memorial service Susan sits next to Richard, and they both weep. Their admiration for Winston Churchill was the only real thing they had in common. They go to lunch afterward and Susan starts to ramble, but Richard is lost in thoughts of Kainene. Susan says she has had heard about his “lady love,” and she tells him that she will keep busy (sleeping with other expatriate’s husbands) while she waits for him to finish his “dusky affair.”
Susan reacts to Richard’s relationship with Kainene as he had expected she would – treating Kainene as an exotic distraction from “real” women. There seems to be a society of casual betrayal among the English expatriates, where their affairs are indeed distractions while they are away from home.
There is another section from The World Was Silent When We Died. The author writes about how starvation became a weapon of war for Nigeria. It was starvation that ultimately broke Biafra, and also what made it famous as an international disaster zone.
These sections keep the connection strong between the personal and the political, even as Adichie brings us back to a time of political peace and personal upheaval.