The Iroko has fallen; the legend has defied flesh to heed the calling of God, the creator.
He was 82, having been born on November 16, 1930, and had been in a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts in recent days. The David and Mariana Fisher Professor of Literature at Brown University, died on the 21st of March (thursday) as he had been sick for some time.
Born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe in the Igbo village of Ogidi to Isaiah Okafo Achebe and Janet Anaenechi Iloegbunam, Professor Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. In his early years, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship for undergraduate studies in the University of Ibadan. He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He is best known for his first novel and magnum opus, Things Fall Apart (1958), which sold more than 12 million copies and been translated into more than 50 languages making it the most widely read book in modern African literature. His last book, There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra, is still making waves.
In the 1960s (a creatively fertile period for Achebe) He wrote the novels No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964) and A Man of the People (1966), all of which address the issue of the cultural clash between native African culture and the traditional white culture of missionaries and the colonial government in place in Nigeria.. Anthills of the Savannah  took on a similar theme. Achebe writes his novels in English and has defended the use of English, a “language of colonisers”, in African literature.
In 1967, Chinua Achebe and Christopher Okigbo, a renowned poet, cofounded a publishing company, the Citadel Press, which they intended to run as an outlet for a new kind of African-oriented children’s books. Okigbo was soon killed, however, in the Nigerian civil war. Two years later, Achebe toured the United States with Gabriel Okara and Cyprian Ekwensi, fellow writers, giving lectures at various universities. The 1960s also marked Achebe’s wedding to Christie Chinwe Okoli in 1961, and they went on to have four children, two daughters, two sons and now, six grandchildren.
When he returned to Nigeria from the United States, Achebe became a research fellow and later a professor of English (1976–1981) at the University of Nigeria. During this time he also served as director of two Nigerian publishing houses, Heinemann Educational Books Ltd. and Nwankwo-Ifejika Ltd.
In the 1970s, Achebe published several collections of short stories and a children’s book, How the Leopard Got His Claws (1973). Also coming out at this time were Beware, Soul-Brother (1971) and Christmas in Biafra (1973), both poetry collections, and Achebe’s first book of essays, Morning Yet on Creation Day (1975). While back in the United States in 1975, at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Achebe gave a lecture called An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” in which Achebe asserted that Joseph Conrad as “a bloody racist” dehumanizes Africans. The work referred to Conrad as a “thoroughgoing racist,” and, when published in essay form, it went on to become a seminal postcolonial African work.
Achebe’s novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of Western and traditional African values during and after the colonial era. His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory.
Professor Achebe is also known for his contribution in the Biafran war and independence and acted as ambassador for the people of the new nation. He involved himself in political parties when the Nigerian government retook the region in 1970, but soon resigned due to frustration over the corruption and elitism he witnessed. He lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s, and returned to the U.S. in 1990 after a car accident left him partially disabled.
Back in Nigeria, Achebe set to work revising and editing his novel (now titled Things Fall Apart, after a line in the poem “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats). He cut away the second and third sections of the book, leaving only the story of a yam farmer named Okonkwo who lives during the colonization of Nigeria. He added sections, improved various chapters, and restructured the prose. By 1957, he had sculpted it to his liking, and took advantage of an advertisement offering a typing service. He sent his only copy of his handwritten manuscript (along with the ₤22 fee) to the London Company. After he waited several months without receiving any communication from the typing service, Achebe began to worry. His boss at the NBS, Angela Beattie, was going to London for her annual leave; he asked her to visit the company. She did, and angrily demanded to know why it was lying ignored in the corner of the office. The company quickly sent a typed copy to Achebe. Beattie’s intervention was crucial for his ability to continue as a writer. Had the novel been lost, he later said, “I would have been so discouraged that I would probably have given up altogether.”
In 1958, Achebe sent his novel to the agent recommended by Gilbert Phelps in London. It was sent to several publishing houses; some rejected it immediately, claiming that fiction from African writers had no market potential. Finally it reached the office of Heinemann, where executives hesitated until an educational adviser, Donald MacRae – just back in England after a trip through West Africa read the book and forced the company’s hand with his succinct report: “This is the best novel I have read since the war”.Things Fall Apart has become one of the most important books in African literature.
In 1960, while they were still dating, Achebe dedicated to Christie Okoli his second novel, No Longer at Ease, about a civil servant who is embroiled in the corruption of Lagos. Later that year, Achebe was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship for six months of travel, which he called “the first important perk of my writing career”
Achebe set out for a tour of East Africa. One month after Nigeria achieved its independence, he travelled to Kenya, where he was required to complete an immigration form by checking a box indicating his ethnicity: European, Asiatic, Arab, or Other. Shocked and dismayed at being forced into an “Other” identity, he found the situation “almost funny” and took an extra form as a souvenir. Continuing to Tanganyika and Zanzibar (now united in Tanzania), he was frustrated by the paternalistic attitude he observed among non-African hotel clerks and social elites. In Northern Rhodesia (now called Zambia), Achebe found himself sitting in a whites-only section of a bus to Victoria Falls. Interrogated by the ticket taker as to why he was sitting in the front, he replied, “If you must know I come from Nigeria, and there we sit where we like in the bus.” Upon reaching the waterfall, he was cheered by the black travelers from the bus, but he was saddened by their being unable to resist the policy of segregation at the time.
Achebe’s third book, Arrow of God, was published in 1964. The idea for the novel came in 1959, when Achebe heard the story of a Chief Priest being imprisoned by a District Officer. He drew further inspiration a year later when he viewed a collection of Igbo objects excavated from the area by archaeologist Thurstan Shaw; Achebe was startled by the cultural sophistication of the artifacts. When an acquaintance showed him a series of papers from colonial officers (not unlike the fictional Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger referenced at the end of Things Fall Apart), Achebe combined these strands of history and began work on Arrow of God in earnest. Like Achebe’s previous works, Arrow was roundly praised by critics. A revised edition was published in 1974 to correct what Achebe called “certain structural weaknesses”.
Professor Chinua Achebe would be highly missed; his impeccable and selfless spirit will be highly imbibed. I commiserate with his family and ask that God grants them the fortitude to bear the great loss. I am personally glad he tread this homeland, Nigeria and this continent, Africa. RIP Iroko, RIP Chinua Achebe, God loves you more!
Pope Benedict XVI will resign on February 28, 2013, a Vatican spokesman said today Monday February 11th. The 85-year-old German-born Pope said he was resigning because he no longer has the strength to fulfill the duties of his office. If the Pope resigns February 28th, he will be the first pontiff since Middle Ages to quit
See the Pope’s full resignation statement after the cut…
I have convoked you to this Consistory, not only for the three canonizations, but also to communicate to you a decision of great importance for the life of the Church.
After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.
I am well aware that this ministry, due to its essential spiritual nature, must be carried out not only with words and deeds, but no less with prayer and suffering.
However, in today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is.
Dear Brothers, I thank you most sincerely for all the love and work with which you have supported me in my ministry and I ask pardon for all my defects. And now, let us entrust the Holy Church to the care of Our Supreme Pastor, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and implore his holy Mother Mary, so that she may assist the Cardinal Fathers with her maternal solicitude, in electing a new Supreme Pontiff.
With regard to myself, I wish to also devotedly serve the Holy Church of God in the future through a life dedicated to prayer.
Linda Ikeji’s blog
Due to the high tension involved in watching the match between my country, Nigeria and Burkina-Faso, I could not watch instead I locked myself in the room and resulted to praying, call me crazy!
I could say the whole of Africa was united yesternight in the spirit of football, and I would be right. My street was literally in unison, all forms of expressions were the same, the hoooooooooooooooooooooooos!!!! and haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!! and the goooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal!!!!!! was in one accord. Any time I hear people scream, I would run to the sitting room, wide-eyed, asking “Did we score? what’s happening?”.
It was a tough match and I can’t help but give kudos to the Burkina Faso players, they were a tough team to play with, it was a fair game, no referee cheating this time like it was the case when Nigeria played with Zambia and when Burkina-Faso played with Ghana.
Its been a long time coming, 19 years since Nigeria last won the cup, I would say God is with us, He has always been and He always will be with us.
The Nigerian football Coach Stephen Okechukwu Keshi who was the Captain 19 years ago when Nigeria won the cup, showcased his passion for football through his players, mentoring them all the way, encouraging them in every way possible, giving every push needed till the cup was won.
Immediately the whistled was blown to announce the end of the match, loud sounds of bangers were heard, people ran out to the streets jubilating and talking with people they would normally not talk to.
In the midst of the excitement, we thank God for without Him, the cup isn’t ours.
Congrats to Nigeria, the Champion of Africa!
Even in my sleep, when asked what my favourite holiday is, the answer comes readily: CHRISTMAS. There’s this wonderful, joyful and peaceful feeling that comes with the season. Personally, I smell Christmas in the air from mid-november then I tweet and write on my facebook wall “Christmas in the air, wooooohoooo!” Lol.
Every 30th of November, my mum would overnight, put up our Christmas tree and decorate it so that the next morning (1st of December) we wake up and she what she has done, we get soooo excited!
I love spending Christmas with my family, we are so close and we get christmas gifts for each other but in the midst of all the excitements, all the christmas carols, all the hoopla, food, drinks, end of the year parties, etc, going on, my mum would always say “NEVER FORGET THE REASON FOR THE SEASON, JESUS CHRIST”
So I use this medium to say “Happy birthday Jesus, I hope to spend many more of your birthdays with joy and when I finally have a family of my own, I would love to teach them about you and get them crazy about you just as I am for you. I love you.
Merry Xmas everyone………… God keep us all and uplift us in the new year to come.
Fun! fun!! fun!!! It always is with my Youthstar family.
There’s this youth group in my church that I’ve been part of since 2005 and I’m still till today thankful to God for making me be part of this group. We are called the Youthstar with the age group ranging from 13-25.
I am so proud to be part of a family that is so closely knitted into one that we know each other’s birthdays; we visit each another, take turns to study the Bible at each person’s house, help one another when in need and most importantly, pray for each other.
Every end of the year, we come together to celebrate God and thank Him for all he has done for us, with a different theme for each end of the year, Last year was a red carpet event and this year we had a picnic.
There were games like Chess and monopoly, we played volleyball, badminton, basket ball and football,
There were grand prizes for those who participated in chair dance, tie competition, make-up competition and the cooking competition.
I participated in the tie-knotting competition by being one of the four girls chosen to knot ties for four guys, one guy to a girl, but I came last 😦 lol, with good excuses though; I’ve never been to a school where the girls had to knot a tie, only the guys did, I’ve never been a waitress and I don’t knot ties to church so there you have it (laughs). My friend, Miriam won the cooking competition, they had to cook indomie and she cooked hers so well, it was so rich and spicy that I bit my tongue.
Although I played Volleyball with the guys, I didn’t touch the ball throughout the game #novice my first time on a volley ball court but at the end of the day, we all had so much fun in God’s presence and I’m going to miss my friends since everyone is going to be traveling to meet extended families for the Xmas celebration.
Hope you guys are having fun in this wonderful season? God bless!
Have you ever felt so much pain in your heart that you feel your throat closing and even tears would defy you?
This is the Christmas season, my favorite time of the year and I would have never guessed in a long time that my love would be lost at this time of the year, it just ruins everything.
Its all so blurry, I can’t remember exactly what it is I did or said but I wish I never ventured into this relationship in this first place (if wishes were horses right?)
Right now as I write this, a movie just came to mind “Cinderella” with Brandy Norwood playing the role of cinderella and Whitney Houston the role of her fairy godmother. One of the songs in the movie goes thus “the sweetest sound I’ve never heard are still inside my head, the kindest words I’ll ever know are waiting to be said and the greatest love in all the world is waiting somewhere for me” as Cinderella sings this song, I get chills all over (laughs). I’m not one to believe in fairy tales but I do believe that everyone deserves a happy ending, everyone deserves to be loved as they love, everyone desrves to have someone who knows them to the extent of completing sentences for them. Imagine living with this person for the rest of your life, there’s this fulfillment and joy that comes with that. I want to experience that, I want my loved ones to experience that too; that’s why I’m not going to give in to depression especially not during this favourite holiday of mine.
Love lost, greatest love would be found.
Happy Yelutide season to you all 🙂 Much love :*