General News of 2013-03-25

Chinua Achebe’s death must inspire Africans to read and write

The death of African literary titan Chinua Achebe, whose passion for fiction helped revived African literature, must inspire Africans to take up their pens and put their noses in books, managing editor of the Daily Searchlight newspaper, Ken Kuranchie, has said.

He died on Thursday in Boston, USA at the age of 82.

He has urged that his death should inspire Africans to read and write more.

Ken Kuranchie on Citi FM’s ‘Big Issues’ said: “He has really written his name into the sands of history and we thank God for his life. He has lived a long and very, very productive life right up to the time that he died. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Let us all aspire to be as great as he has been for the continent of Africa”.

However, in the view of Ken Kuranchie, “it is a human phenomenon that everyone is going to die but sometimes you would wish that certain people would survive for longer. I think his death should inspire all of us to read and that is the problem of Africans”.

According to the Managing Editor of the Daily Searchlight Newspaper, with the “exception of Kwame Nkrumah, Dr. Busia and J.B. Danquah who did some writings, most of our leaders did not write and for that matter we do not know the inner workings of what constituted the decisions that they made”.

“We’ve had Acheampong, we have had Hilla Limann, and we have had Rawlings, then Kufour and the late Atta Mills. It is very, very unfortunate. They should have written so that historically we can analyse what went into some of the decisions that they took,” he maintained.

Born in 1930 in Ogidi, in the south-east of Nigeria, Chinua Achebe won a scholarship to the University of Ibadan, and later worked as a scriptwriter for the Nigeria Broadcasting Service.

He chose to write ‘Things Fall Apart’ in English- something for which he has received criticism from authors including Ngugi wa Thiong'o – but Achebe said he felt "that the English language will be able to carry the weight of my African experience. But it will have to be new English, still in full communion with its ancestral home but altered to suit its new African surroundings".

His most recent work was last year's mix of memoir and history ‘There Was a Country’, an account of the Nigerian civil war of 1967 to 1970.

Achebe twice rejected the Nigerian government's attempt to name him a Commander of the Federal Republic – a national honour – first in 2004, and second in 2011.

In 2004 he wrote that "for some time now I have watched events in Nigeria with alarm and dismay. I have watched particularly the chaos in my own state of Anambra where a small clique of renegades, openly boasting its connections in high places, seems determined to turn my homeland into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom. I am appalled by the brazenness of this clique and the silence, if not connivance, of the presidency … Nigeria's condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 honours list."

In his writing and teaching Mr. Achebe sought to reclaim the continent from Western literature, which he felt had reduced it to an alien, barbaric and frightening land devoid of its own art and culture. He took particular exception to "Heart of Darkness, "the novel by Joseph Conrad, whom he thought “a thoroughgoing racist.”

Source: Peace FM
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