Chinua Achebe: A hero returns -Je wamkumbuka huyu mtu? | JamiiForums | The Home of Great Thinkers

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Chinua Achebe: A hero returns -Je wamkumbuka huyu mtu?

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by Shadow, Feb 19, 2009.

  1. Shadow

    Shadow JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Kwa wale waliosoma kidato cha nne -cha sita watakuwa wanamkumbuka sana huyu mtunzi mahili. Nilikuwa napenda sana kitabu chake chenye jina 'Things Fall Apart' kukiwa na kinara mbishi Okonkwo kama muhusika mkuu, na Kile kitabu cha Ufisadi 'No Longer at Easy' ambacho muhusika mkuu alikuwa Obi Okonkwo. Jamaa utafikiri alikuwa anaakisi Tanzania yetu na hatima ya mafisadi kwenye nyanja za 'watumishi wa Umma' na wanasiasa / wafanyabiashara.

    Chinua Achebe: A hero returns

    By Richard Dowden
    Director of the Royal African Society

    Chinua Achebe was given a traditional welcome

    You might be forgiven for thinking they had turned out to greet Nelson Mandela. A huge noisy crowd, complete with dancers and drummers, gathered at the entrance of Abuja airport in the Nigerian capital at 0530 in the morning.

    But not to greet a great statesman, nor even a rock star, but a 79-year-old writer: Chinua Achebe. Africa's greatest novelist was returning home to Nigeria for only the second time in 20 years.

    We had been warned about the rock star treatment. The last time he came, tens of thousands of people packed a football stadium to hear him speak.

    Mr Achebe was in Nigeria to speak at a festival celebrating the culture of his ethnic group, the Igbo.

    Longing for home

    He has lived in America since he suffered a terrible car accident in 1990, which left him paralysed from the waist down and in a wheelchair. His medical needs cannot be served in Nigeria at present.

    But, he told me, he longs to be home. "I do miss Nigeria," he said, "which is very strange because when I am here, we are constantly quarrelling."

    In pictures: Achebe goes home
    In the fast lane with Achebe

    His first and most famous novel, Things Fall Apart, was published more than 50 years ago. It has been translated into 50 languages and is taught in schools and universities throughout the world.

    Four more novels followed, as well as books of poems and essays and a bitingly sarcastic attack on the Nigerian ruling elite called The Trouble with Nigeria.

    He began writing in the 1950s when much of Africa was preparing for independence from British and French imperial rule. He was inspired to write when he realised that Africa's story was being told by outsiders, writers like Joseph Conrad and Joyce Cary whose descriptions of Africans he found offensive.

    He was determined to tell the story of his own people. But he did not at first write about the struggle for freedom that was going on around him.

    Instead, he says he wanted to understand "why it happened in the first place".

    "Why did my parents leave their religion and become Christians... why did those people lose their independence?"

    His father was a Christian convert and missionary, but his great uncle was a keeper of the shrine to traditional gods.

    Mr Achebe was one of the last generation of Africans who heard first-hand from their elders what life was like before the white man came. That is what makes his stories so vivid.

    Celebrity status

    His celebrity status has disadvantages in Nigeria, not just because wherever he goes crowds of journalists and others gathered to see him. Politicians and would-be politicians, the very people Mr Achebe pilloried in his novels, also queued to see him, desperate to fawn on him and be photographed with him.

    Political parties were keen to show their appreciation of Chinua Achebe

    In The Trouble with Nigeria, Mr Achebe wrote that "there is indeed no better place to observe the thrusting indiscipline of Nigerian behaviour than on the roads: frenetic energy, rudeness, noisiness".

    He described their indifference to safety as of "truly psychiatric proportions" and complained of convoys of VIPs travelling with police escorts becoming a "childish and cacophonous instrument for the celebration of status... a medieval chieftain's progress complete with magicians and acrobats chasing citizens out of the way".

    Yet he was forced to travel just like that to reach his home state in south-east Nigeria.

    Dangerous journey

    The 10-hour drive took us along what must be some of the most dangerous roads in the world, strewn with the burned-out wrecks of past crashes, like monstrous steel skeletons locked in death.

    On a two-lane potholed highway, our police escort drove at a steady 110 kph (70 mph) on the wrong side of the road forcing everyone else off the tarmac.

    As the escort overtook cars and lorries, a policeman leant out of the window and whacked the other motorists with a stick - even hitting motorcyclists with pillion riders.

    When one brave minibus driver refused to pull over, the policeman pointed his gun at him. Unmoved, the driver responded with a torrent of abuse, so the policemen leaned over - we were inches apart doing about 95 kph (60 mph) - and punched him the face.

    Mr Achebe delivered his lecture at Owerri, the regional capital of Igboland. More than 2,000 people turned out to listen to him.

    He spoke to them in a slow, gentle but strong voice. His message was clear. He is deeply disappointed at how little Nigeria has achieved since independence.

    His generation struggled for freedom, but "we don't seem to have the receipt", he says.

    Nigerians must "overcome that miseducation that we received under colonial rule... and celebrate our lives".

    He believes that Africans must not reject their own culture but look to their past to discover values that will enable Africa to develop now.

    Stories awaiting

    Before he returned to America, Chinua Achebe visited Ogidi, his birthplace in the Igbo heartland, accompanied by his wife Christie and three of his children.

    He hopes to move there once he has finished refurbishing his house to accommodate his wheelchair. But as his son Chidi says, "in Nigeria you have to be your own government".

    With no publicly provided facilities, the house needs a borehole for water, a generator for electricity and other facilities that elsewhere are taken for granted.

    Mr Achebe longs to be back in Nigeria. America, he says "is not boring in the narrow sense but what is going on there is of very little interest to me".

    He describes the US like a small field where he has been scratching to soil, compared with Nigeria's vast farm. In Nigeria, "there is so much needing to be attended to... There are stories all over the place, not written. Stories waiting to be transformed into novels".

    Richard Dowden is Director of the Royal African Society and author of Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles.

    BBC NEWS | Africa | Chinua Achebe: A hero returns
  2. B

    Bulesi JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    I enjoyed reading Achebe's Things Fall Apart and The Anthills of the Savanna during my secondary school days.. I sometimes wonder why he has not been awarded the NOBEL prize; are these Norwegians waiting for him to die and award him posthumously? I think he is one of our best african novelists.
  3. Mahesabu

    Mahesabu JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    chinua just like Mrisho Mpoto is the great african representative! (of AFRICAN LITERATUTRE)
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2009
  4. Kilbark

    Kilbark JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Yeah Chinua Achebe ni moja kati ya waandishi wazuri wa vitabu. Hata hivyo kama ni ufisadi Tanzania wako walioandika sana juu ya mambo hayo (UFISADI)kama ukisoma kitabu alichoandika Gabriel Ruhumbika cha MIRADI BUBU YA WAZALENDO
  5. WomanOfSubstance

    WomanOfSubstance JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Thanks for bringing back those memories:
    When "Arrow of God" strikes........and things are " No Longer at Ease"..then..." Things Fall apart" -
    these were some of my favorite titles!
  6. Masanilo

    Masanilo JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Nakubaliana na wote hapa Chinua Achebe ni mwandishi Mahiri...mkipata muda someni kitabu hiki
    Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles
    by Chinua Achebe (Foreword), Richard Dowden (Author) unaweza kipata Amazon. Utajua kwanini waafrika tupo hapa tulipo


  7. BelindaJacob

    BelindaJacob JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Things Fall Apart kitabu kizuri, nakumbuka tuliangalia hadi movie yake wanaigeria wameigiza. Katika vitabu vya literature hiki kilikuwa nimekipenda sana.
  8. Lole Gwakisa

    Lole Gwakisa JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    This man Chinua Acebe reminds me of my youthful days in the early 70's.Too bad there are very few writers of his class nowadays.
    The man could tell the stories and you could cmplitely blend into the story ,Things fall apart was a masterpiece, so was The River Between and many more.
  9. Shadow

    Shadow JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Kilbark heshima mbele mkuu, Naweza kukipata wapi hicho kitabu? Kuna bookshop gani ambayo inaviuza hicho kitabu? Udsm University Press Kinaweza kuwepo?

  10. Shadow

    Shadow JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Hapo umenikuna sana na huo mpangilio!

    In my Secondary, I played as Okonkwo on a School English Drama.

    On the other limb, I am a fan of Chinua Achebe Literature work. Futhermore, we have also Ngugi wa Thiong'o when he can with 'A River Between' and then he paused at 'Not Yet Uhuru" and went to "This Time Tommorow" and he reminded us with " Decolonizing Mind" etc
  11. M

    MzalendoHalisi JF-Expert Member

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Nilidhani THINGS FALL APART leads to NO LONGER AT EASE!!!!!!

    ARROW OF GOD...sikuifahamu!

    Haha ha ha!!!!!
  12. WomanOfSubstance

    WomanOfSubstance JF-Expert Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    That could be another way of looking at it....
  13. WomanOfSubstance

    WomanOfSubstance JF-Expert Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Talking of Ngugi..... umesahau "Weep not Child", na " Petals of Blood"... this was a pain in the ..... ya mafisadi huko nchi jirani!
    kilimfanya akimbie nchi....
    not to forget " I will marry when I want
    ".. which is also written in Kikuyu language...( Ngaahika Ndeenda)
  14. H

    Hauxtable JF-Expert Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Mhhhh! Things Fall Apart brings back memories......kuna jamaa Mashuleni walibatizwa majina kama; Okonkwo,unoka,Ikemefuna,ogbuefi......
  15. H

    Hofstede JF-Expert Member

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Aisee WoS umenikumbusha mbali sana, enzi hizo ulikuwa unashika vitabu vya kujibia English Literature part kama ifuatavyo. all bold were books

    Is it Possible that When the Arrow of God is No Longer at Easy, then Things fall Apart near The Great Ponds and leave The River between without the Song of Lawino for The Mine Boy to enjoy
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2009
  16. Yona F. Maro

    Yona F. Maro R I P

    Feb 20, 2009
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    Africa tell me Africa
    Is this you this back that is bent
    This back that breaks under the weight of humiliation
    This back trembling with red scars …

    That is Africa your Africa
    That grows again patiently obstinately
    And its fruit gradually acquire
    The bitter taste of liberty