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Famous Writer Chinua Achebe, the Father of African Literature Passed Away

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Nigerian Chinua Achebe, considered as the father of African literature, passed away in America in the previous March. His numerous lovers and Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan attended the funeral. Funeral, arranged in Ogidi St. Phlilips Anglican Church, was very crowded. Lovers bid farewell to the famous writer in tears by singing hymns in the garden of the church.

Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, born in 16 November 1930 in Nigeria, is mostly known with his name Chinua Achebe. Writer’s first book titled Things Fall Apart (1958), which is one of the most comprehensive books in the modern African Literature and is his most well-known work, made him worldwide famous.

He grew in Igbo district of Ogidi in the Southeast Nigeria. His mother and father were Christians. He became a shining star in his school and was entitled to receive a scholarship awarded for university students. He was impressed with world religions and traditional African culture and wrote his first writings while he was a university student.

First Works Occured After School

He began working in Nigerian Radio and Television Service following his graduation. He soon moved to Lagos, which is one of the biggest cities in the region. At the end of 1950s, he reached worldwide fame with his book, Things Fall Apart.

Later on, this fame continued with 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 language and defended English language which is known as the “language of the colonizers” in Africa.

In 1975, his conference “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ ” stood in the center of discussions because of the fact that he described Joseph Conrad as “a damn racist”.

Became Political

When Biafra region seceded from Nigeria in 1967, Achebe became a devoted supporter of Biafra liberation movements and served as the ambassador of newly founded government.

War had a great destructive impact on people. When hunger and violence reached an advanced stage, he called for help from Europeans and Americans.

When Nigerian Government retook possession of the region, Achebe began to be more political. However, he resigned because of the abusiveness and elitism. In 1970s, he lived in the USA for a few years. Becoming paretic after a traffic accident occurred at the end of 1990s, he returned to the USA.

Novels Despicting His People

Achebe’s novels attract attention to the traditions of the Igbo society, Christianity’s effects on them and financial resource conflicts in the industrial age. Style is mostly based on the oral tradition of Igbo society, and short stories,
proverbs, sermons and folktales are jumbled together in his novels.

Chinua Achebe was born in 16 November 1930 in Igbo district of Ogidi. His parents Isiah Okafo Achebe and Anaenechi Iloegbunam Achebe stood at the intersection point of African traditions and Christianity.

This situation had an enormous effect on their children, especially Chinualumogu. When the last sister was born, family moved to the district in which Isiah Achebe grew. This was a district affiliated with Ogidi, but today it is in Anambra.

Storytelling was the cornerstone and subsidiary element of Igbo culture. Chinua’s mother and his sister Zinobia Uzoma used to tell many stories in his childhood.

His education progressed along with wall-hung collages of his father, yearbooks and countless books. Among these books are prose adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1590) and Ibgo version of The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678). In addition to this, Chinua excitedly waited for the traditional town festivals including those fancy-ball-type celebrations which he later depicted in his books.

* This article was taken from “Africa Time” magazine (November 2014 Edition) by demanding all necessary permissions for copyright.

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