Today, in 1930, Chinua Achebe was born.
On November 16, 1930, Chinualumogu Achebe, a renowned writer and nationalist, was born in the ancient town of Ogidi in Anambra State, Nigeria. Chinua, even though born by Christian parents, was nurtured by his grandfather, an Igbo traditionalist. The influence of both contrasting beliefs shaped his life and work. On the premise, Achebe refers to this experience as instructive.
In African literature, he was a trailblazer. Some of his works include the trilogy Arrow of God, No Longer at Ease, Things Fall Apart, A Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah, and lots more.
“When a writer, while pretending to record scenes, incidents, and their impact, is in reality engaged in inducing hypnotic stupor in his readers through a bombardment of emotive words and other forms of trickery, much more has to be at stake than stylistic felicity”.
This he pointed out in An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. He also fought and painted a good image of Africans and Africa as opposed to the “dark continent”.
In Igboland and the Nigeria-Biafra War, he played the roles of a protest writer and an elder statesman. The book titled There Was a Country is a historical memoir and personal account of Biafra by Chinua Achebe.
Achebe, in his works, demonstrated the importance of holding onto one’s identity and language. By doing so, the deep meaning of African language was not watered down. He amassed local and international awards in the literary world and had his work translated into many languages.
This year would have ushered him into the third stage of being a nonagenarian. It’s been ten years since the great udara tree withered.
By Chidimma NWAFOR