A Legend Has Passed: Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe and the cover of his book, Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe and the cover of his book, Things Fall Apart

I was so shocked to hear that Chinua Achebe died that I failed to believe it at first. It’s not until I read an article on the New York Times’ website that I began to believe that it might be true. Chinua Achebe, a renowned Nigerian author, died on Thursday, March 21, in Boston. He was 82-years-old.

Achebe was my introduction to African literature. I can still remember the time when I stumbled upon his book, Things Fall Apart. I was in college (seems like decades ago) and was helping a friend pack his things for storage since he was going home for the summer. He pulled out a box full of books and naturally, I gravitated towards it. I was astounded to find novels in the box since I knew my friend hated reading. I randomly picked up Achebe’s book and read the synopsis on the back. Intrigued, I decided to read it. I was captivated by the story and finished it in a day. I decided to hold onto the book (which my friend did not miss) so that I could return to it again. It now sits on my shelf, gathering dust, and now that my mind has strayed to it, I’m considering to re-read it soon.

It’s sad that Chinua Achebe has passed but may his soul rest in peace.

Stirring words from Chinua Achebe:

“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

“Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am—and what I need—is something I have to find out myself.”

“People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.”