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Friday, March 22, 2013

For Chinua Achebe

For those who have read this blog over the last couple of years, it's very clear I hold Chinua Achebe in high esteem. As a child, I heard endlessly about 'Things Fall Apart' I didn't get to read it till I was 16. I was obsessed. My Father suggested I go and see a Wole Oguntokun led adaptation at Terra Kulture and I became even more hooked. Some books define us and how we see the world, that book reminded me of the way Nigerians lived before the white man came. It reminded me how Christianity was imposed on us. It made me proud to be Nigerian. As I've grown and seen the way the rest of the world see him, I thank God for  blessing this country with some very credible literary talents.

Last summer, I read 'The Trouble with Nigeria' and gained a greater sense of the Nigerian psyche. One of Achebe's merits is that he said things as he saw them. He didn't write to curry favor from anyone. And that is something that inspires me in my dealings today. Be straight forward, people might not agree with you but there's nothing more respectable than a man confident in his convictions. It is what you shall be judged upon. That's probably why we love Achebe so much. He stayed true and never sold out. 

The one thing that must hurt is seeing the same things he wrote about in the late 70s and 80s still plaguing us. Twice, he rejected national honors as he felt the government had failed the people. When they come along with their platitudes and honours, let this be remembered. The only reason this would be possible is because he won't be there to say No and kick them out of his house. Address the problems he spoke of before coming to pay homage.

Rest in peace, Chinua Achebe. Straight talker, Fighter and a true man of the people. An Inspiration.


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