News About the Late Chinua Achebe.Nigerians Mourn!

According to the Wikipedia about the late Chinua Achebe, here is an excerpt of his history.

Chinua Achebe born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, 16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013 was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic.  He was best known for his first novel and magnum opus, Things Fall Apart (1958), which is the most widely read book in modern African literature.

Raised by his parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies. He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He gained worldwide attention for Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987). Achebe wrote his novels in English and defended the use of English, a "language of colonisers", in African literature. In 1975, his lecture An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's "Heart of Darkness" featured a famous criticism of Joseph Conrad as "a bloody racist"; it was later published amid some controversy.

When the region of Biafra broke away from Nigeria in 1967, Achebe became a supporter of Biafran independence and acted as ambassador for the people of the new nation. The war ravaged the populace, and as starvation and violence took its toll, he appealed to the people of Europe and the Americas for aid. When the Nigerian government retook the region in 1970, he involved himself in political parties but soon resigned due to frustration over the corruption and elitism he witnessed. He lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s, and returned to the U.S. in 1990 after a car accident left him partially disabled.
Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of Western and traditional African values during and after the colonial era.

His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory. He also published a number of short stories, children's books, and essay collections. From 2009 until his death, he served as a professor at Brown University in the United States.

Nigeria in mourning for Chinua Achebe

From Nobel laureates to roadside booksellers, Nigerians expressed their grief and shock at the death at 82 of Chinua Achebe, the literary giant whose works made him a household name and national hero. Many who had worked alongside him wept as they paid tribute, and bookstores in downtown Lagos said his books sold out as news of his death trickled in.

Despite his age and distance from his homeland– he died in Boston, where he had lived for years – Achebe's frequent and often barbed pronouncements against an oil-fed Nigerian elite kept him very much in the national psyche. He further endeared himself to a younger generation of Nigerians weary of corruption, when he twice turned down a national honour in 2004 and 2011.

African literature burst onto the world stage with Achebe's 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, which portrays an Igbo yam farmer's fatal struggle to come to terms with British colonialism in the late 19th century. It remains the best-selling novel ever written by an African author, having sold more than 10-million copies in 50 different languages. Nelson Mandela, who read his books during his 27-year incarceration, once said of him: "He was the writer in whose company the prison walls came down."

Wole Soyinka, a fellow giant of African literature, who was informed by the Achebe family in a dawn phone call, said, "We have lost a brother, a colleague, a trailblazer and a doughty fighter."
Writing for the Guardian's Comment is free section, Soyinka said: "No matter the reality, after the initial shock, and a sense of abandonment, we confidently assert that Chinua lives. His works provide their enduring testimony to the domination of the human spirit over the forces of repression, bigotry, and retrogression."
Speaking from the town of Ogidi where Achebe was born in 1930, village head, Amechi Ekume, said: "There is deep mourning all over the village, both young and old are mourning."
"As we say in Igboland, when an extraordinary person dies, the iroko [African teak] has fallen," said a weeping Dora Akunyili, a former minister who worked with Achebe during his tenure at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Achebe's earlier works focused on the social upheavals wrought by British colonialism. "He was the first of our African writers to tell the story from our own perspective. But even beyond Africa, people who were colonised or oppressed could relate to his stories," said Denja Abdullahi, the vice president of the Association of Nigerian Authors, which was founded by Achebe and other writers in 1981.
Wheelchair-bound since a car accident in 1990, the octogenarian had made time to speak with hundreds of fans during a gruelling national tour to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Things Fall Apart. Abdullahi said, "He was always so welcoming to everybody we met, anytime. He was very humane, very reflective. Even when he wasn't speaking, he just had so much presence."
Speaking of Achebe's impact, Abdullahi said: "He's the father of African literature and children always try to imitate the good qualities of their fathers."
The celebrated Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, last year said she wept when she received a note from Achebe praising her best-selling novel, Half of a Yellow Sun. She was too awed to pluck up the nerve to call him back. Meeting him for the second time, she was again too shy to approach as writers including Toni Morrison and Ha Jin crowded around him backstage during an awards luncheon. "Before I went on stage, he told me, 'Jisie ike [more grease to your elbow]'. I wondered if he fully grasped, if indeed it was possible to, how much his work meant to so many."
Novelists from a younger generation described the freedom to write in their own voices, which Achebe's own writing opened up, and the daunting task of trying to live up to his works.

"In the last five decades, just about every post-colonial African author, one way or another, has been engaged in a creative call-and-response with Chinua Achebe," said author Lola Shoneyin. "You are never weaned off his fiction because it renews itself. It gives you something new every time. He was just that kind of storyteller."
Another novelist, Chika Unigwe, recalled reading Things Fall Apart as a young child: "I like to imagine it was on a Sunday afternoon, right after lunch, lying on my bed. I [clearly] recall … the wonder of reading the world he creates in the book so beautifully. Its power did not hit me until years later when I re-read it as a much older reader. I am immensely grateful to him."

His children's books on African folklore remain popular with Nigerian parents. "I just literally handed The Flute and also The Drum to my daughter two weeks ago. She was glued to them, reading and re-reading them. I was too," said Ifeamaka Umeike of her 7-year-old. "I feel like my granddad died."
Released last year, Achebe's final book, There Was A Country, was a deeply personal account of his experience during the 1967-1970 Biafran civil war.

"Even a lot of [white] people buy it," said Success, hawking books amid the choking Lagos traffic yesterday. "We don't have anymore to sell but people are still asking. That means he is a man of the people."

This is a news source coming from  Guardian.co.uk and the Wikipedia


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