It was meant to be an easy start to finish work experience for me yesterday. I had planned it very well; to hit the gym after work and then straight home to bond with my family as it was Friday. Just as unpredictable as our current weather, my day didn’t turn out at all as I had planned. I was so busy managing the staff and work schedule to the point where I could only afford five minutes lunch break. I was completely buried into my work. Consequently, I spent nearly a whole day without realising that a great man and father of African literature Chinua Achebe had passed away.
I grew up with a great knowledge of Chinua Achebe, although I wasn’t much of reader as a youngster, I actually read and enjoyed two of his most popular novels, The arrow of God and my all time favourite Things fall apart. These books had typical setting of my tribe and they often sent my imagination on amazing journey into lives led by my ancestors. Two years ago, I bought Chinua Achebe’s ”Things fall apart” for my other half, whose love for books and reading is noticeable as soon as you walk into our home. Having read so many incredible collection of books already, he was blown away by Achebe’s things fall apart. The stories provided him great opportunity to understand our cultural differences and the uniqueness of the great Igbo culture; my tribe and my root.
Chinua Achebe’s way with words is breathtaking; just like a great Igbo warrior slashing away with his pen. His loyalty and appreciation for Igbo culture and history of Nigeria is remarkable. In his recent book, ”There was a country” Achebe provided details of the Biafran war and a tragic history of the Igbo people and Nigeria . He is undoubtedly a great and prolific African writer, surpassing many others around the globe. I am incredibly proud of this Igbo-born wordsmith and he will be sorely missed. A great Iroko has fallen!
Here are some of great quotes from Chinua Achebe the father of African literature;
“Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me but who I am and what I need is something I have to find out myself”
”Onye ji onye na ani, ji onwe ya”
(He who holds another person down , holds himself down too)
”A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy educated, participatory fellowship and an educated, morally grounded leadership.”
”Nigeria is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be”.
“Oh, the most important thing about myself is that my life has been full of changes. Therefore, when I observe the world, I don’t expect to see it just like I was seeing the fellow who lives in the next room”.
”One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised”.
”When the British came to the Igbo land, for instance, at the beginning of the 20th century, and defeated the men in pitched battles and set up their administration. It was the women who led the first revolt.”
“Once you allow yourself to identify with the people in a story, then you might begin to see yourself in that story even if on the surface it’s far removed from the situation “.
Rest in peace Chinua Achebe. Be rest assured that your legacy will last from generation to generation. You have done us all proud:-)