I weep. My tears are that of joy mixed with sadness. Chinua Achebe was a man who stood at the forefront in African literature. He was that man that you could point to, even when you felt ashamed of your nationality and be glad to be Nigerian. He was that unassuming man, with many lines on his wrinkled face who made you appreciate your local dialect. He set a standard for African literature that many find hard to reach.
Chinua until his death was regarded as a man of the people. A man who stayed true to his ideals, values and integrity. A man who wept when you wept and laughed when he saw you roll on the floor. A man full, so much of wisdom, that wherever it spilled, on whichever pages it did, became a bestseller. May have been on the wheelchair for a while, however Chinua Achebe’s legs were firm, made of steel, unshaken, unwilling to shift, to compromise. Here is a man who rejected national awards, from a country that consistently disappointed him till he passed.
Respected for his contributions in literature, Chinua has carried many great giants on his shoulder. Award-winning authors such as Chimamanda Adichie, Ben Okri, Jude Dibia, Prof Odi Akachi, Eghosa, Uwem Akpan, Cyprian Ekwensi, Binyavanga Wainaina and many other African writers have all been directly or indirectly influenced by his works.
Generating a lot of controversy when he authored “There was a country”, Achebe shared his memoir on “The Civil War” with the world, and expressed his honest opinion through his work. Some saw it as a bid to break the country apart. Others saw it as a lesson, a school.
News of Chinua’s death has, this morning, filtered across all the popular blogs and sites worldwide, CNN, BBC, Guardian UK, WSJ, Bloomberg everywhere because of his great works.
Every Nigerian child that drank from the country’s primary or secondary educational sector have passed through indirect tutelage of his books. The Things Fall Apart, his popular novel was made into a Nigerian Television Series which brought into limelight, veteran actor Pete Edochie.
Condolence message pouring in from all over the world cannot but emphasize on the impact that this Man Booker Prize winner has contributed into the literature in Africa and in the entire world.
He will be greatly missed by all but his works will live through time.
Chinua Achebe died at age 82 on the 21st of March, 2011. He is the author of the worldwide best-selling ‘Things Fall Apart’. He died in a private hospital in Boston, Massachusetts after being ill for a long time.