Prof Chinua Achebe is dead

Prof Chinua Achebe
Prof Chinua Achebe

Nigeria’s literary icon and publisher of several novels, Chinua Achebe, is dead.

Mr. Achebe, 82, died in the United States where he was said to have suffered from an undisclosed ailment.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt he died last night in a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

A statement from his family said his “wisdom and courage” were an “inspiration to all who knew him”.

A source close to the family was first to confirm the literary icon’s passing to PREMIUM TIMES, saying the professor had been ill for a while and was hospitalised in an undisclosed hospital in Boston. The source declined to be named because he was not authorised by the family to speak on the matter.

He also declined to provide further details, saying the family would issue a statement on the development.

Until his death, the renowned author of Things Fall Apart was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown.

The University described him as “known the world over for having played a seminal role in the founding and development of African literature.”

“Achebe’s global significance lies not only in his talent and recognition as a writer, but also as a critical thinker and essayist who has written extensively on questions of the role of culture in Africa and the social and political significance of aesthetics and analysis of the postcolonial state in Africa,” Brown University writes of the literary icon.

Mr. Achebe was the author of Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, and considered the most widely read book in modern African Literature. The book sold over 12 million copies and has been translated to over 50 languages worldwide.

Many of his other novels, including Arrow of God, No Longer at Ease, Anthills of the Savannah, and A man of the People, were equally influential as well.

Prof Achebe was born in Ogidi, Anambra State, on November 16, 1930 and attended St Philips’ Central School at the age of six. He moved away from his family to Nekede, four kilometres from Owerri, the capital of Imo State, at the age of 12 and registered at the Central School there.

He attended Government College Umuahia for his secondary school education. He was a pioneer student of the University College, now University of Ibadan in 1948. He was first admitted to study medicine but changed to English, history and theology after his first year.

While studying at Ibadan, Mr. Achebe began to become critical of European literature about Africa.  He eventually wrote his final papers in the University in 1953 and emerged with a second-class degree.

Prof Achebe taught for a while after graduation before joining the Nigeria Broadcasting Service in 1954 in Lagos.

While in Lagos with the Broadcast ing Service, Mr. Achebe met Christie Okoli, who later became his wife; they got married in 1961. The couple had four children.

He also played a major role during the Nigeria Civil War where he joined the Biafran Government as an ambassador.

His latest book, There Was a Country, was an autobiography on his experiences and views of the civil war. The book was probably the most criticised of his writings especially by Nigerians, with many arguing that the professor did not write a balanced account and wrote more as a Biafran than as a Nigerian.

Mr. Achebe was a consistent critic of various military dictators that ruled Nigeria and was a loud voice in denouncing the failure of governance in the country.

Twice, he rejected offers by the Nigerian government to grant him a national honour, citing the deplorable political situations in the country, particularly in his home state of Anambra, as reason.

Below is how Brown University profiled him on its website.

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“Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe is known the world over for having played a seminal role in the founding and development of African literature. He continues to be considered among the most significant world writers. He is most well known for the groundbreaking 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, a novel still considered to be required reading the world over. It has sold over twelve million copies and has been translated into more than fifty languages.

“Achebe’s global significance lies not only in his talent and recognition as a writer, but also as a critical thinker and essayist who has written extensively on questions of the role of culture in Africa and the social and political significance of aesthetics and analysis of the postcolonial state in Africa. He is renowned, for example, for “An Image of Africa,” his trenchant and famous critique of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Today, this critique is recognized as one of the most generative interventions on Conrad; and one that opened the social study of literary texts, particularly the impact of power relations on 20th century literary imagination.

“In addition, Achebe is distinguished in his substantial and weighty investment in the building of literary arts institutions. His work as the founding editor of the Heinemann African Writers Series led to his editing over one hundred titles in it. Achebe also edited the University of Nsukka journal Nsukkascope, founded Okike: A Nigerian Journal of New Writingand assisted in the founding of a publishing house, Nwamife Books–an organization responsible for publishing other groundbreaking work by award-winning writers. He continues his long-standing work on the development of institutional spaces where writers can be published and develop creative and intellectual community.”

 

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  • he died not accepting the contract of a life time by 50cent what a waste

    • contract of a lifetime…what a joke

    • He obviously preferred the legacy to some poor dollars being flung around by a gangster. Must it be about money all the time? At the end, his death now has proven he didn’t even need the money.

    • jayjay

      Psycathric tests are recommended for this kind of posts

    • Tayo

      You obviously dont know what a Life Time Legacy means .. 100 yrs from now the name 50cents will be lost in time .. Things Fall Apart will live on for centuries .. [Some] Nigerians and love of Money.

      • Azuka Osiegbu

        Isaac Segun, what a disappointing comment from you. Do you know what is Legacy?

    • moustapha soumare

      What stops you from writting yours and get a deal from 50cent? You are a wasted sperm from an agbero father collecting money from bus drivers at oshodi bus stop.

    • Poor Issac. He’s just expressing his opinion, albeit lopsided.

    • ofis

      you are such a shallow fellow

    • Osas jossy

      Must it be money all d time?? so u will sale ur life for others bcos of money,

    • Reyumeh Ejue

      Man you should have paid more attention in literature class

    • Emmanuel Nzeaka

      You must be one these empty headed ASSU graduates.Shame on you

  • Apah

    Journey on… in peace

  • okoro uchechukwu

    isaac u are a fool

  • Ehidiamhen Okpamen

    @isaac don’t be among those who value money over legacy, that’s just plain stupid. If he collected money he would still be dead by now but now regarded a man with a sold legacy. He can’t take money to the grave, but his legacy lives on. Don’t be cheap isaac.
    RIP Achebe. The man who’s legacy wasn’t bought by a few dollars.

  • lini

    You think its all about money and that kind of fame. You call it a wast. Am shaking my head because you obviously have no values

  • chuma

    segun or satan. U re d biggest fool of all time. Yoruba goat!!!

  • OD

    @isaac segun you’re just a shallow, dim witted fellow that shouldn’t be allowed to talk anywhere. A man of such pedigree and greatness that you’re referring to like that? He’s worth more than your all generation.R.I.P Prof. Your legacy lives on

  • mary

    Rip , wat a great loss.. Isaac u r insane.

  • Okere Magdalene

    May your Soul Rest in perfect Peace,Amen.

  • Ebi

    Ahn! Speechless.

  • YOO

    I have loved this man all my 45yrs on earth……………….forgive Isaac, he is just ignorant!

  • Mee

    R.I.P. Nigeria will miss you!!! Not only the “ibos”. Yoruba and other tribes will miss you too. Ur lagacy lives on..

  • NICHOLAS N.

    WE ALL(THE WORLD)HAVE MISSED YOU. YOU WERE INDEED AN ICON AND AN EPITOME OF “LITERATURE”. MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE.

  • Joe Ibe

    Oh, what a loss of an iconic star. And to recall that just last week in New York, I and a group of friends sat over coffee, discussing extensively on his reminiscence of the ills of his native country Nigeria in his master classic essay; ‘The Troubles with Nigeria’, published in 1983. A must read for anyone interested in advancing Nigeria from its current not so palatable pitfall of decay. I salute this giant African. May his gentle soul Rest in Peace!

  • Reyumeh Ejue

    For the first time in my live i have cried after learning of a death. Who then is left to become my hero. I loved this man so much, it surprises even myself.

  • Kitacheri

    May his soul rest in peace!!

  • Ngoma

    RIP

  • ify

    An iroko has fallen. Adieu, great one!

  • Omodara B.

    well, HAVE just really heard about you , I COULD WONDER THE PAIN YOUR FAMILY IS GOING THROUGH NOW BUT I BELIEVE GOD WILL PUT U IN A PERFECT PLACE. ADIEU PAPA ACHEBE!!!

  • AGNES RIUNGA

    MAY U REST IN PEACE…AMEN

  • R.I.P, AFRICA’S HERO……

  • Dibal

    RIP

  • Enemona

    We’ve lost an icon, a star. R.I.P

  • oparah

    He died with his head held so high in integrity and honour. May God rest his gentle soul.

  • Mpitikwelu_na_Ugwu_Awusa

    Onwu erie agu! Isi na ebu ogidi, anaa! Obu onye foziri? Kedu onu ga ekwuziri oru na Igbo? Chim o! Oke efi etibigo! Keduzi oke mmadu ga ejide ya? CHINUALUMOGU NWA ACHEBE! Naa nke oma! Ndi muo ozi nke Olisa keluwa dube gi na ije!. Raru juu na be Chukwu!

  • igbiki

    Adiós Chinualumogu, jee nkeoma.

  • joshua

    R.I.P,A great man a heroe we shall miss but we will remember you forever

  • Alex Kamau

    Ur legacy lives grandpa!!!! RIP

  • Inyanmirin

    He died in this world, he will die again in the world to come. Finally, the apostle of hate has gone to rest in the right hand of lucifer. The man is fake through and through. He never practice what he preahes. he said Ibo culture abores dying in exile, yet, he like Ojukwu, he died sorrounded by those who captures his father in Chain. Rest in Hell

    • Kingsley

      @ Inyanmirin…you are a sad lot…you spew ignorance, hate and sadness

    • Emmanuel Nzeaka

      I pity you Boko Haram

  • Achebe was really a good mentor and motivator. I still can’t believe that he is no more. I just talked about how I love his writings esp. ‘There Was a Country’ and how I unready I am to lose him yesterday evening with my friends.Oh!! wat a life. RIP CHINUALUMOGU ACHEBE

  • Indiazi Agade – Malaba, Kenya

    Things Fall Apart was my second major African read after Alex la Guma’s A Walk In The Night and other stories. It was a masterpiece. I also read No Longer At Ease, Girls At War and Ant hills Of The Savannah. Let us honour the man Chinua Achebe and avoid these tribal stereotypes.

  • sam

    A hero has gone

  • bitrus

    may his soul rest in peace and may God grant his family the fortitude to bear this great and irreparable loss. nigeria has once again lost a giant. nigeria is in mourning

  • Dele Awogbeoba

    Evil finally departs….A tribute. Frustrated in old age and condemned in exile.
    Died away from the land (south east Nigeria or Biafra) he professed to love but
    too scared to reside! Died, surrounded by descendants of people that enslaved
    his ancestors, in chains, over 400 years ago. Evil, charged by bitterness and
    illuminated by hatred, is extinguished by the spear of judgment that came his
    way.

    The man is fake through and through. He never practices what he preaches. He said Ibo culture abores dying in exile, yet, he like Ojukwu, died away from ”Biafra” as far as you
    can imagine.

    Ever at home in a world nurtured with the lies he told so often, it blossomed into his truth!
    Finally, unchained to be a spirit of the night sitting at the right hand side
    of Lucifer, his rotten soul now free to explore depths of the underworld!

    • Eze ike

      @Dele Awogbeoba,

      May no body reply this frustrated man, Prof Achebe’s book “There was a country” has broght us liberty or should i say libertus.

    • Engr Kalu Onwuka Kalu

      whosoever you are,you should consider yourself so very stupid and highly insolent and without any sense of humor…you sit down there running your dirty mouth without thoughts..what have you done for Nigeria and who the heal are you to speak so unspeakable of the late Prof and the late Ikemba Ojukwu in such a crazy manner?

      In your life time,you will never be,achieve or near what these men did,or become to your clan what they represented for Africa,not to talk about Nigeria.

      Is this a time for all these you knew nothing about?,again yorubas…I detest you people with passion,because you are the major reason things had actually fallen apart in this Nation called Nigeria.

      Mr I wouldn’t want to speak to you so immensely,so please as we mourn this great African Ambassador,please ignore us and take to merriment through your bottles.for one day soon.you and only you shall also die and sit at the right hand side of the devil himself.,

    • Engr KALU O KALU

      stupid fool

  • Bruce Torres

    I’m Brazilian but I had the opportunity of reading “Things Fall Apart”, which was a book that opened my eyes for the postcolonialism studies. Because of him, I got more involved and interested in this area. It’s sad news for this weekend – coincidentally, I’ve been thinking of TFA all the time. 🙁

  • Nigerians are loosing heroes without giving birth to New ones. I guess that should be a major concern to all Nigerians. The only thing the leaders of Nigeria now is teaching the youth is how to STEAL

  • jack

    What an honorable Icon, may his gentle soul rest in peace.

  • Prof. Chinuaramogu Achebe has contributed a lot 2 humanity nd nation building 2ru his works on paper nd encouragin lifestyle. We immensely regret ur demise but take solace in d fact dat ur existence on earth ws nt a coincidence or in vain 4 u left an indelible print on d sand of time. “The white man has put a knife on wot held us 2gether nd THINGS HAVE FALLEN APART”. Gaa ije gi nk’oma n’aha Chineke onye kere gi, gaa ije gi nk’oma n’aha Jesus onye huuru gi ahuhu, gaa ije gi nk’oma n’aha mmuo nso onye na-edo gi nso, ka izuru ike gi buru nke udo ,ka ebe obibi gi buru na paradise nke ndi nso Chineke, Amen.4rm Evang. Moses Ozom Alugbuo.