It is with great pain and sadness that I share the news of the passing of an illustrious writer, a great son of Anambra State, Nigeria, and one of the pivotal influences on my life as a reader/writer. It was Chinua Achebe’s book, Things Fall Apart, that opened my eyes to the rich and varied culture of my people, the Igbos of Eastern Nigeria. I read it as a preteen in Nigeria and it left an indelible mark on me; it gave me a clear understanding of the importance of roles, rituals and respect in Ibo land. Ikemefuna and Okonkwo’s harrowing tale gave me both nightmares and a deep appreciation for the traditions and tribulations of our culture.
“Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.” Chinua Achebe
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The Falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart, the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. – W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”
Who could ever forget the power and magic of Achebe’s mastery of idiomatic expressions that remain a fairly ubiquitous part of every day speech in Ibo culture? Who could forget the quote above that laid the foundation to the title of his book? Or the opening paragraph in Things Fall Apart that introduced us to Okonkwo? I ate up Achebe’s words like candy, devoured all his other books, and developed a lifelong love for his writings. His Fiction echoed the messages passed on through our collective history and ancestral lineage. His words were stark reminders of what shaped ancient Ibo history and the legacy we could pass on. More below.
“The lizard that jumped from the high iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did.” Chinua Achebe
It was Achebe’s books, his lyrical writing style, his deep understanding of Ibo traditions, and his skill at pulling the reader into his characters lives and homes that shaped my love for the written word. In some ways, he was like a mentor, a father, and a favorite teacher to me. I am deeply saddened by his death, and will always treasure what/who he meant to me. Chinua Achebe, 82, passed away after a brief illness. He will be terribly missed. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family in the US and Nigeria. RIP Mazi Achebe alala ụlọ Chineke. Ijeoma! Anyi na ebe akwa Umu nwanee Achebe Ndo o, onwu bụ ihe nwute. Chukwu dobe unu.
Positive Motivation Tip: The written word is a powerful tool that can empower or destroy us. Use it wisely.
- Chinua Achebe: Some reflections (blog.ted.com)
- Nigerian Author Chinua Achebe Dead (amandapayneblog.wordpress.com)
- Chinua Achebe, African Literary Titan, Dies at 82 (NYTimes.com)
- Novelist Chinua Achebe dies, aged 82 (www.guardian.co.uk)
- Renowned Nigerian Novelist Chinua Achebe Dead At 82 (hiphopwired.com)
- Chinua Achebe memorable lines in Things Fall Apart (karizmwangi.wordpress.com)
- Chinua Achebe memorable lines in Things Fall Apart (sakunian.wordpress.com)
- Weekly Writing Challenge:The Inimitable Chinua Achebe… (mirthandmotivation.com)
- Inspiration: Books That Brought Us To Tears… (mirthandmotivation.com)
- Influential Musings: Twelve Books That Have Shaped My Worldview (mirthandmotivation.com)
- Read: Top Motivational and Mirthful Books to Help Welcome the New Decade (mirthandmotivation.com)
- Chinua Achebe Dies, and Other News (theparisreview.org)
- Chinua Achebe: Some reflections (masukuonmymind.com)
- Celebrating a Literary Giant: Rest In Peace, Chinua Achebe! (wholewomannetwork.org)
- Chinua Achebe 1930-2013 (africasacountry.com)