TRIBUTES TO ACHEBE

    Indeed, indeed. But not forgotten. Indeed his light will continue to burn—and as the years progress, ever brighter. He leaves a great heritage. Tis a world heritage. May the ancestors welcome him to the High Table—Ohadike, Kalu, Adiele Afigbo and so many others—all will be there to lift him up; to laugh and to labour too for us left behind in this ever-troubled earthly firmament. And so he enters a glorious eternity. Powerful spirits with powerful messages for all humanity. We celebrate his spirit, and those of our brothers he now joins.

     *IT IS FINISHED! Not quite….Though the great Professor Chinua Achebe, the world renown intellectual iroko of Igbo extraction, has passed on but he left in his stead interminable food for thought, discourses, and reflections that will last humanity for a lifetime. By his works, he immortalized himself and the global import and impact of his literary exploits. For students and scholars of African history, cultural and literary studies, Chinua Achebe will never die. As with all icons, his temporal transition will serve to usher in a rebirth and retention of his ideas, philosophy and opinions in perpetuity. There is really no greater legacy than this. Weep not, Ndi-Igbo! As Igbo scholars, the best tribute we can extent to our very own Prof Chinua Achebe is to continue his legacy of scholarly relevance. It is true that in the last decade, the Igbo have witnessed the exit of many of our great minds – Professors Don Ohadike, Adiele Afigbo, Ogbu Kalu, Emmanuel Obiechina, Felix Okeke-Ezigbo, the Ikemba and a host of others – but we must not despair; we must resolve to keep the torch lit and to pass it on to the next generation still burning. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I submitted a roundtable proposal to the African Studies Association on Achebe’s latest work – There was a country – for its forthcoming conference in November. We will continue to keep Achebe’s reminiscences on the civil war in the front burner! -Apollos O Nwauwa (President, Igbo Studies Association)

    *One of the best literary minds in the world has left the stage, bowing to death at a time we need his wisdom most. But he is not gone forever. Achebe left too many literary offspring to really die. We will take solace in his books, which remind all of us of man and his miserable condition. -Ihechukwu Madubuike

    *Yes it is NOT FINISHED as it is just the beginning for many to start examining his great ideas holistically….It is heart warming that he was able to complete a book close to his heart before his exit. There was Country… was indeed a gift for all Igbo intellectuals (young and old) to start reflecting on the future development of the Igbo nationality in this wobbly Nigerian Federation. -Isaac Obasi

    *I truly mourn his exit. But I thank God for his works through which he has etched his name permanently in history. He truly was great, without any doubt, Africa’s greatest literary giant! I still remember, with cherished memories, my meeting with you [Prof. Achebe] at Brown University in May 2012 and the words of encouragement and advice which you gave me. I really took them to heart, knowing they came from no other but you, the world’s revered literary genius. Adieu our “Eagle on the Iroko“. May you now rest in peace with our ancestors. You did your bit, setting the records of your time, our time, straight. Adieu great one. Ekene m gi nna m; jee nke oma. - Akachi Odoemene

    *Prof. Achebe came, saw, and wrote with zest and conquering ovation. With his insightful literary stories, he taught the world about Africa, particularly Nigeria’s Igboland with the inherent challenges and prospects. From his personal account in There was a Country….(2012), many of us came to know him as a dedicated family man and proud, illustrious son of Ogidi in Anambra State, Nigeria. Through his favorite childhood stories of the mbe (tortoise), he created laughter, wisdom and wonder amongst us. His legacy is memorably gargantuan. I join the rest of the world and the Igbo Studies Association in saluting our departed literary hero. As he returns to where he came, we respectfully bow in honor with the challenge to work unrelentingly for the good leadership in his native country of Nigeria that he lamented and advocated in his latest publication. May God grant his family the fortitude to bear the loss. May the soul of Prof. Chinua Achebe with his departed comrades and other gentle spirits rest in peace! -Ernest Uwazie

    *Indeed, indeed. But not forgotten. Indeed his light will continue to burn—and as the years progress, ever brighter. He leaves a great heritage. Tis a world heritage. May the ancestors welcome him to the High Table—Ohadike, Kalu, Adiele Afigbo and so many others—all will be there to lift him up; to laugh and to labour too for us left behind in this ever-troubled earthly firmament. And so he enters a glorious eternity. Powerful spirits with powerful messages for all humanity. We celebrate his spirit, and those of our brothers he now joins. …Let our condolences bring comfort to his daughter Nwando and those close who grieve his loss. -Michael Vichers

    *Enyi o
    Enyi o-o
    Enyi o
    Enyi o
    Remember our papa Achebe
    Our papa Achebe bu Enyi Afrika Enyi (Elephant)
    Let him go and change and return
    Agaracha must come back
    Meanwhile, let us feast on
    the inexhaustible harvest of wisdom
    that he saved for us in his barn.
    Nna o! Ewuuu! -Biko Agozino. Click here for the rest of this poem.

    *In Zik, we lost the lodestar of the Igbo firmament. In Ojukwu, we lost the finest specimen of Igbotitude, all brash, impetuous, mouth smashing, tower of raw strength, and bare courage, everything good and bad about Igbo bottled in superlative proportions. In Chinua Achebe, NdeIgbo have lost the pillar of light that went before a people still searching for a safe homeland and the fiber of every good conscience in our country Nigeria. Achebe was more than the Igboman’s Igbo. He was a throwback figure cast by God to live in a generation of Igbos of a different mould. Anyone who wanted to see the Igbos in their pristine autochthony needed to look no further than Achebe. His intellect soared with the magnificence of a pair of twin eagles raised in the same nest. His writing style was elegant and dense, simple, yet sublime, and his genius was in saying much by saying little, a literati of the finest craftsmanship. But he was more than just a writer. More than just a critic or social historian, he was a pillar of light under whose glare 40 million of his kinsmen trod in a violent country that threatens to evict them; and in a socially plagued homeland that threatens to disown them. Under the glare of his light, we found hope; steady were our steps in our snares-ridden path, bitter we were at the violence that has encircled our world, and yet hopeful that as long as we followed our pillar of light, we will someday come to the promised land for which our hearts deeply yarned – a Nigeria whose citizens will all feel safe and secure. Then there once was our pillar of light, long flickering and slowly dimming, occasionally bursting forth in brilliant glare, shinning forth from Achebe’s wheelchair, shining through the murky cloud of paraplegia, shining through the dense and dank darkness of the Nigerian world, … there once was our light whose glare illuminated the crevices of our corrupt country, and exposed men whose stubby fingers ate draw soup in the dark, … there once was our pillar of light who when it first shone in 1958 in Things Fall Apart, introduced the world to Africans as a culturally complex people, intricate in their morality, advanced in their spirituality, and given to all the human intrigues that make the African world no less interesting than the Western world. To the world, Achebe was the father of African literature. To NdeIgbo, he was our pillar of light that has left us when we lost our Igbotitude, lost our lodestar, are wandering in a vast desert of corruption, violence, and social decadence. Forty years on this journey and no end in sight; no Moses, no Joshua, no Priests, and now no pillar of light as the land beneath our feet revolts against us. Chinua, if I hadn’t come close to that cosmopolitan outlook on life, that charming rusticity, that snazzy hand beneath the cheek posture, I would have thought that you chose to leave us when we needed you most – a people long in need of a new prophet. But coming through as I write, with your soft voice, bespectacled eyes, cheeks deeply furrowed on both sides, …, coming through in a faint whisper is your name, Chinua – terse and yet loaded as your last prophetic message to the Igbo world. Chinua – may God fight for you, may God console you. Farewell brother, you represented us well. May God now be our light; our consoler, our fighter, our lodestar, our Igbotitude, a present help in a battlefield of suicide terrorism hovering over us in Nigeria like a grizzly bear to our desperate salmon run. -Chris Aniedobe

    *Umunna, On behalf of the members of the Freedom Awakening Movement, FAM, we join Ndigbo and the Global Scholarly Community in celebrating the life and times of Chinualumogu Achebe – our iroko, our man of vision, his pen and his ideas. Let’s Pass the Vision on!! Oruala nu na omume: Onye agbala oso!! -Ewa Unoke

    *Our Eagle on the Iroko has flown home… No, not really… Our Eagle is right here – with us. Our Eagle lives on. This has been the solemn promise made since age 28 with Things Fall Apart and followed by the unrelenting, exemplifying rigour of the entire consummate stretch of discourses and reflections and yet more discourses during the course of 54 subsequent years that culminated in that towering testament of our age, There was a Country. Our Eagle lives on. Focusing on the Eagle´s first discourse, a classic, Kwame Anthony Appiah, literary scholar and philosopher, has argued: “It would be impossible to say how Things Fall Apart influenced African writing. It would be like asking how Shakespeare influenced English writers or Pushkin influenced Russians. Achebe didn’t only play the game, he invented it”. Chinua Achebe has indeed run a great race. Ka Chukwu anyi gozie his blessed soul and give comfort to his loving family. Odogwu Mmadu, ije oma. Our pledge at this time: Igbo will be free and we will surely bring to a halt this ongoing genocide against our people, which started on 29 May 1966, and we will transform Igboland to an advanced state and society as duly resolved in the Ahiara Declaration. - Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

    *It is indeed shocking to hear that the BIG Iroko and pride of Ndiigbo has fallen. We are bereft of words to sing the eulogies or rather the dirge of the literary masquerade whose legacy in Africa and the world of literature will never die. We shall forever remain grateful to God for your gift “Chinualumogu.” -Carol Njoku

    *I will not sing a dirge,
    Though a dirge I should sing,
    And yell at death with rage
    For this unthinking sting.

    And I will show no rage,
    Though rage I should show,
    And curse death with umbrage
    For this unfeeling blow. -Ikeogu Oke. Click here for the rest of the poem.

    *Death has done it’s worst by taking one of our best minds at a time his intellectual exploits have generated intense attention,and at a time Igbo scholars are preparing for the fist home-coming of ISA. Prof. Achebe would have made a mark on the conference no doubt,but the cold hands of death said no! Achebe’s death is another depletion on the stock of Igbo intellectual depot;it has also posed a greater challenge for budding Igbo intellectuals on the way to sustain the tradition and legacy left behind by our sages who have passed onto eternal glory. Achebe was a hero, who went to battle, saw, conquered and triumphed against all odds.His intellectual tradition challenged the West, and indeed the entire literary community on how African literature and world view should be understood.Ndi Igbo, Africa, and the entire world would greatly miss you our revered Prof!! The tradition you set will be a hard one to sustain, but we are resolute that our generation shall not fail him.Prof.I lack words appropriate enough to discuss you, but the simplest way I can comment on you is that you were an Eagle on top of the intellectual Iroko, the Nnukwu Nmanwu na eti gburugburu, onye an ahu asi ya nno! Death cannot obliterate your all encompassing image,and we pray that our good Lord will console not only your family, but Ndi Igbo and the intellectual world who will miss you dearly!! Rest in peace in the bosom of the Lord. -Chimee Ihediwa

    *Do you see an iroko, not just an iroko but an iroko of Irokos, king of trees rising with its fonts to the tree top levels and doing a jig, a display of the Ulaga dance as the jungle falls silent and Atilogu dancers are flat footed as they watch the Ulaga dance. The great tree whose fall will shake the forest has set flight with the eagles perched on it. The great one was in transition; the big Iroko had embarked on the journey across seven mountains and seven seas to land of his ancestors to join the ages. The immortality of Professor Chinualumogu Achebe long assured, took new meaning as his breather separated from his mortal frame last Thursday. Three scores plus ten was promised to the normal and ten more for the strong. The great Iroko got the quota for the strong and more, yet he was desired around for longer for the work of noble spirit, of integrity and of courage to voice truth to power was still in high demand.

    Now I know it is great privilege that I gave the lecture introducing the lecturer the very last time ‘Ugo nabo’ spoke from the lectern in Nigeria at that nostalgia generating Ahajoku lecture in Owerri. How I remember calling your attention to the collapse of culture in our land and how as victim to the tyranny of drivers’ my unsolicited favorite piece of music from my driver’s preferred radio station was ‘osina nwata bulu ogalanya’ Not much has changed from that time, which is why many wished you were around a little longer to help with the redemption change. But you can lead change from yonder. Afterall Bob Marley’s redemption song continues to set the change for many. How it seems like yesterday, the harmattan winds of 1973/1974 at Nsukka when I watched you almost every morning pack your car by the Ansah building as I walked to my department at Nsukka. It was an American car, I recall, maybe a mercury Monarch. The simplicity of greatness as you came out in short sleeves, so forceful. Who knows if that did not play a role in my unquenched desire for the simple life? The simplicity did not keep us from knowing we were saying good morning routinely to a living legend, the master story teller who let the world know who we were. Beyond the story you were a soldier, a Buffalo soldier, fighting for our liberation from the bondage of bad leadership. The trouble with Nigeria, you wrote is leadership. Inspired by those words I founded a Centre for Values in Leadership to help young people understand leadership and prepare themselves to be effective in leadership roles.

    You have not left us orphans, Even if we feel awed by the challenge. When you wrote Things fall apart we were but toddlers but our country held promise that the contradictions in Things Fall Apart were yielding into a synthesis of forward movement hoped for. But the centre has not managed to hold and things are falling apart such that many say there was a country. But we are a people of hope and trust in the benefits of raising the spirit of iconic souls to the stars and drawing strength from there to reach the stars. So we send your spirit up to the heavenlies on errand for the cause of those for whose sake you stood up your whole adult life in pursuit of justice, integrity in service and generosity in human solidarity. – Pat Utomi

    *ONE of the memorable days of my life was, and still is, the day in 1987 when I spent a whole day with the legend himself, Prof. Chinua Achebe and his wife Christy at their home in Umunkanka Street, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. It was not strictly the usual interview. It was more of a conversation during which we forayed into the master story teller’s study, strolled into the garden at the back of the house, invaded Christy’s kitchen and chatted over lunch. He spoke about Hopes and Impediments in which he interrogated Conrad, Joyce and racism, which was about to be published. Christy, I first met when she was a Director of Thisweek magazine where I worked. Ike, his first son later became a friend and frequented my office at Bishop Oluwole, Victoria Island Lagos, where I was editing the Insider Confidential with Mallam Abba Dabo. Ike also brokered my being offered the African editorship of African Commentary, an international scholarly magazine which Achebe was the Chairman/Publisher with Prof. Barth Nnaji as President and Chief Operating Officer. Somewhere along the line, my negotiation with Prof. Nnaji broke down.

    When Chinua Achebe Foundation started the dialogue series, I was contacted by Chidi (who became the youngest ever to be appointed a Medical Director in the US) to interview some notable Nigerians. Among those I interviewed were Gen. MuhammaduBuhari, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Chief Ernest Shonekan, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, Dr. Kalu Idika Kalu, Deacon Gamaliel Onosode, Chief Anthony Enahoro and Gen. Buba Marwa. Two things Achebe, the teacher, told me at Nsukka remain the prism through which I have observed his literary activities. When I asked him his motivation for Things Fall Apart, he said to me, every generation has a responsibility to tell its own story and that he was simply discharging his own obligation. Then I asked him if he originally set out to write a masterpiece and he said, once you have told your story, it assumes a life of its own; you no longer control what interpretation people give to it or what they do with it. Such was the humility and graciousness of a man who winced at the accolade “father of African literature”! As the fire of controversy raged over what has become his last testament, There Was a Country, Achebe’s words rang loud in my ears. As a novelist, critic and essayist, Achebe told the stories of his generation and whatever his critics chose to do with his stories remained a choice outside his control and he would not and will now never join issues with us. The burden is ours and comes with the liberty of individual thoughts!

    What set Achebe apart from his peers were his clarity of thought and lucidity of language. He was a resonant voice whenever we needed someone to speak up for us. That was why, as a seer, his pronouncements on our nation were searing. Thus, when he declared that, “The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership”, it rankled our leaders. But nothing has happened to prove him wrong. He was aware of the limitations of the brusque military transformation as pursued by the likes of Murtala Muhammed and warned that, “In the final analysis, a leader’s no-nonsense reputation might induce a favourable climate but in order to effect lasting change it must be followed up with a radical programme of social and economic re-organisation or at least a well-conceived and consistent agenda of reform which Nigeria stood, and stands, in dire need of”. Can anybody fault these two positions well enunciated in his book, The Trouble with Nigeria? We still wonder why our enormous resources have not translated our grandiose but vacuous claim to greatness into reality. Eminent economists are today no longer so keen to submit that natural resources, no matter how abundant, automatically transform nations into greatness; they now agonise about “resource curse”. But Achebe was aware of this, years back. He disputed Nigeria’s arrogant claim to greatness based on material wealth simply because the “seminal absence of intellectual rigour in the political thought” still plagues our country today just because anybody, just anybody with money can become a political leader! We are spending more money than ever, yet, Nigeria has remained “one of the most disorderly nations in the world. It is one of the most corrupt, insensitive, inefficient places under the sun”. This indictment was long before various surveys and perception indices came to confirm some of these vices. If Achebe had any unfulfilled dream, it is that Nigerian has recalcitrantly remained an unfulfilled dream!

    We need not mourn Achebe. He lived out his destiny and discharged his obligation by telling the story of his generation. Achebe made the Igbo story a global story. Things Fall Apart has been translated into over 50 different languages of the world. He left no vacuum. He sired many writers who are today holding out admirably. The likes of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, an offspring of the dusty but literarily fecund Nsukka, Seffi Atta, Ben Okri and a host of the new generation writers are telling the story of their own generation. And with the stories Achebe left us, he cannot die. One of the things I noticed in the recent noise that greeted his There Was a Country was that many of Achebe’s critics begrudged him of his Igboness. His long standing friend, Biodun Jeyifo’s series on the book dwelt almost exclusively on questing Achebe’s right in asserting his Igboness. Achebe could not have pretended to be anything else but Igbo. He was a proud one.

    There is no crime in being who we are, especially in a country that has deliberately and constitutionally fettered its journey to nationhood. The trouble with tribalism in Nigeria is that we want others not to be who they are but to be like us. We respect no other cultural group but ours. That is why we have been unable to manage our differences (politicians call it diversity), hence competition easily degenerates into conflict. What we should pursue is not ethnic supremacy (mine is a race and your is a tribe) but what Achebe quoted as Mallam Aminu Kano’s established rationale for any politician to seek the people’s mandate: “maintenance of peace in the land” and “establishment or extension of social justice among the citizens”. What injures the other cannot be good for us and what is good for us must be good for the other! Achebe’s life work is done. For over 50 years he was the dominant figure in Africa’s literary firmament. The furore about his last story on earth had hardly subsided when he decided to became the topic of discussion. What a man! To live and function fully through the crippling effect of his 1990 road accident in Nigeria is a testament to the audacity of will. We, who are not crippled, except by greed and corruption, must, at least, muster the courage to lift ourselves from the morass to change our country. The onus is now ours, not Achebe’s. –Pini Jason (Vanguard, March 26, 2013)

    *Ife mee.
    Nnukwu ife mee.
    Chinua Achebe anabago.

    Onye edemede nke di egwu,
    onye nnukwu uche,
    onye obi oma.

    Keduzi onye anyi ga-eji eme onu?
    Keduzi onye anyi ga-eji jee mba?
    Keduzi onye ga-akwado anyi?

    Ebenebe egbu o!
    Anya mmili julu m anya.
    Chinua Achebe, naba no ndokwa.
    O ga-adili gi mma.
    Naba na ndokwa. -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

    *Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian author and towering man of letters whose internationally acclaimed fiction helped to revive African literature and to rewrite the story of a continent that had long been told by Western voices, died on Thursday in Boston. He was 82. His agent in London said he died after a brief illness. Mr. Achebe had been using a wheelchair since a car accident in Nigeria in 1990 left him paralyzed from the waist down. Mr. Achebe caught the world’s attention with his first novel, “Things Fall Apart.” Published in 1958, when he was 28, the story would become a classic of world literature and required reading in university courses, selling more than 10 million copies in 45 languages. The story, a brisk 215 pages, was inspired by his own family history as part of the Igbo nation of southeastern Nigeria, a people victimized by the racism of British colonial administrators and then by the brutality of military dictators from other Nigerian ethnic groups. -Jonathan Kandell (New York Times, March 23, 2013) For Full version and other tributes,click here

    *The Iroko remains one of the biggest trees in the forest; only the visually impaired can not see it towering above other trees. Those who say that Achebe’s works do not measure up to the standards of the Nobel Academy are dead blind. The Iroko of African Literature, I salute. The earth rent with your entry; Things Fall Apart, and now the earth quakes with your exit; There was a Country. Now the chips are down; who can step into your oversize shoes? – Camillus Ukah

    *Man is born to live, struggle and to return finally to the source of life. Chinua Achebe was born in the world of the Igbo-speaking peoples of Nigeria. During his lifetime he did his best to add to this growing body of human knowledge. Being challenged like all of us to make meanings out of numbers and letters in our tasks at creating cultures and civilizations, Chinua Achebe came, performed and departed gracefully. Knowing fully his alphabets and his arithmetical figures, he grew up in Nigeria in the company of members of other ethnic groups, who at the time entertained the dream of a United Nigeria and a greater Africa where his intellect and talents would be deployed in the service of Nigeria and humankind. When I now look back and judge the man in terms of his character and legacies, five things immediately come to my mind. He will be eternally remembered as one Igbo-speaking person from Nigeriawho deliberately used the English language as an errand boy of Igbo thought and culture. Secondly, he was the Nigerian writer who told the people ofUgandaatMakerere Universitywhy the English language was a useful tool which Africans must not abandon in the struggle for cultural affirmation. Thirdly, he was the Nigerian writer who demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt his capacity to make friends and influence people intellectually and culturally. Many have thought about his eligibility for a Nobel laureate but history ruled otherwise. The fourth and fifth reasons I write this tribute to him rest on three guiding principles which serve as guides to the perplexed as la Moses Maimonides, the celebrated Jewish thinker who did a great job of providing guidance to his people in the Middle Ages. Not only did he write well but he deliberately avoided the pathways of those whose literary work are turgid or bombastic. His character and his humility came together to make him a magnifying mirror for those who love his people and Africaon the one hand and to build effective bridges to assemble a community of readers and writers in the world, on the other. – Sulayman S. Nyang

     

    A Prophet is Not Without Honor – Except in His Own Country: New York State Senate, DC Mayor Honor Chinua Achebe

    Culled from SaharaReporters, New York

    The New York Senate in Albany has adopted a resolution honoring Professor Chinua Achebe, who died on March 21, as part of its tradition of paying tribute to the lives of those esteemed individuals of international renown who distinguished themselves through their life’s work.

    The legislative body highlighted Achebe’s life of writing and dedication to excellence, including working up until the time of his death as David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University

    The resolution also indicated that New York’s Bard College, where the famous writer worked before moving to Brown University, will continue to be a primary home for his projects.

    Also in Washington DC, Mayor Vincent C. Gray has paid tribute to Professor Achebe.

    “Along with the District’s African community and the entire world, I grieve the passing of Chinua Achebe,” he said. “His respected legacy will be the young writers he inspires to tell their stories for future generations to enjoy.”

    Text of the resolution by the Senate of New York:

    J1186-2013: Mourning the death of paramount novelist Chinua Achebe, founder and pioneer of African literature

    Same as: / Versions: J1186-2013Sponsor: PARKER Law Section: Resolutions, Legislative
    Sponsor: Parker J1186-2013 Actions, Apr 10, 2013:
    J1186-2013 Text
    LEGISLATIVE RESOLUTION mourning the death of paramount novelist Chinua Achebe, founder and pioneer of African literature

    WHEREAS, It is the sense of this Legislative Body to pay tribute to the lives of those esteemed individuals of international renown who distinguished themselves through their life’s work; and WHEREAS, Foremost novelist, Professor Chinua Achebe, died on Thursday, March 21, 2013, at the age of 82; and

    WHEREAS, Born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe, on November 16, 1930, Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic; he was best known for his 1958 novel, THINGS FALL APART, selling over 12 million copies around the world, and having been translated into 50 languages, making him the most paraphrased African writer of all time; and

    WHEREAS, Raised by his parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Chinua Achebe excelled academically and earned a scholarship for undergraduate studies; he became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a college student; and

    WHEREAS, After graduation, Chinua Achebe worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos; he gained worldwide attention for THINGS FALL APART; his later novels include: NO LONGER AT EASE (1960), ARROW OF GOD (1964), A MAN OF THE PEOPLE (1966), and ANTHILLS OF THE SAVANNAH (1987); and

    WHEREAS, When the region of Biafra broke away from Nigeria in 1967, Chinua Achebe became a supporter of Biafran independence and acted as ambassador for the people of the new nation; the war ravaged the populace, and as starvation and violence took its toll, he appealed to the people of Europe and the Americas for assistance; and

    WHEREAS, When the Nigerian government retook the region in 1970, Chinua Achebe involved himself in political parties, but soon resigned due to frustration over the corruption and elitism he witnessed, thereby deciding to devote himself to academia; he lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s, and returned there in 1990 after a car accident left him partially disabled; and

    WHEREAS, Chinua 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; he also published a number of short stories, children’s books, and essay collections; and

    WHEREAS, A David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University, Chinua Achebe worked up until the time of his death; and

    WHEREAS, New York’s Bard College, with a distinguished history of supporting Chinua Achebe’s work and legacy, will continue to be a primary home for his projects; and

    WHEREAS, Professor 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 along with the social and political significance of aesthetics and analysis of the postcolonial state in Africa; and

    WHEREAS, Chinua Achebe distinguished himself in his profession and by his sincere dedication and substantial contribution to the welfare of his community; and

    WHEREAS, Chinua Achebe’s commitment to excellence, and his spirit of humanity, carried over into all fields of enterprise, including charitable and civic endeavors; and

    WHEREAS, Chinua Achebe is survived by his wife, Christie, their children, Chinelo, Ikechukwu, Chidi, and Nwando as well as his grandchildren, Chochi, Chino, Chidera, C.J. (Chinua Jr.), Nnamdi and Zeal; and

    WHEREAS, Armed with a humanistic spirit and imbued with a sense of compassion, Chinua Achebe leaves behind a legacy which will long endure the passage of time and will remain as a comforting memory to all he served and befriended; now, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That this Legislative Body pause in its deliberations to mourn the death of paramount novelist Chinua Achebe, founder and pioneer of African literature; and be it further RESOLVED, That a copy of this Resolution, suitably engrossed, be transmitted to the family of Chinua Achebe.

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