Chinua Achebe the greatest literary icon of his time is being celebrated by google doodle as it marks his 87th birthday today. Show me an enlightened Nigerian who does not know Chinua Achebe and I will show you a person who can live without air except for the very young ones who are yet to master the art of reading.
The celebration of Chinua Achebe by google doodle does not only bring pride to our nation but gives us inner joy to know that one of ours is being celebrated. This is the second time within a period of one month google doodle is celebrating Nigerian’s notable personalities. Last month on 16 October, 2017 google doodle also marked the 272nd birthday of Oladuah Equiano, a former slave who played an important role in the abolition of slave trade. His autobiography helped in shaping the perception of Britain, Europe and the entire world on slave trade and promoted the anti slave movement.
Apart from knowing Chinua Achebe as an outstanding African writer, there are other things about him we should know. So here are seven things about Chinua Achebe:
- Chinua Achebe is pronounced chee-noo-ah Ah-chay-bay) however, Chinua is only an abbreviation of his full name Chinualumogu. Chinua’s full names are Albert Chinualumogu Achebe.
- He was born on 16th November 1930 in Anambra State and has five other siblings namely: Frank Okwuofu, John Chukwuemeka Ifeanyichukwu, Zinobia Uzoma, Augustine Ndubisi, and Grace Nwanneka.
- Chinua submitted his only copy of his handwritten manuscript of Things Fall Apart for typing to a London Company and worried about it being lost after several months of silence from the company.
- Things Fall Apart was rejected severally by various publishing houses and was almost rejected by Heinemann until an educational adviser Donald MacRae advised otherwise.
- Chinua Achebe charted the path for African writers in the world and can be best described as the grand-master of African Literature.
- Due to his brilliant performance during his entrance examination Achebe was given scholarship to study medicine at the present University of Ibadan then known as University College. However, he switched to English, History and Theology and lost his scholarship.
- Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka studied in the same University and around the same period.
Chinua is recognized by colleagues, teachers and critics alike to be the most influential African writer of his time. Achebe played a vital role in reshaping Nigeria’s culture and the history of Africans in the larger world. This was largely influenced from his childhood background and further fueled by the British and European’s portrayal of the African characters in their literary works. Thus, the western literature about Africans did not depict a true picture of the African man.
He is famous for his book titled Things Fall Apart ( 1958) which was later made out into a television series in the 1980’s. His quotes in his literary works has also gained enormous popularity over time.
One notable quote is
A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.
Cheers to a great storyteller, a brilliant mind, a rare talent and an exceptional writer.
Image credit: Google