Renowned Nigerian author Chinua Achebe dies

Nigeria’s literary icon and publisher of several novels, Chinua Achebe, is dead.

Report by Premium Times Online

Mr. Achebe, 82, died in the United States where he was said to have suffered from an undisclosed ailment.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt he died last night in a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, United States.

A source close to the family said the professor had been ill for a while and was hospitalised in an undisclosed hospital in Boston.

The source declined to provide further details, saying the family would issue a statement on the development later today.

Contacted, spokesperson for Brown University, where Mr. Achebe worked until he took ill, Darlene Trewcrist, is yet to respond to our enquiries on the professor’s condition.

Until his death, the renowned author of Things Fall Apart was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown.

The University described him as “known the world over for having played a seminal role in the founding and development of African literature.”

“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 and the social and political significance of aesthetics and analysis of the postcolonial state in Africa,” Brown University writes of the literary icon.

Mr. Achebe was the author of Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, and considered the most widely read book in modern African Literature. The book sold over 12 million copies and has been translated to over 50 languages worldwide.

Many of his other novels, including Arrow of God, No Longer at Ease, Anthills of the Savannah, and A man of the People, were equally influential as well.

Prof Achebe was born in Ogidi, Anambra State, on November 16, 1930 and attended St Philips’ Central School at the age of six. He moved away from his family to Nekede, four kilometres from Owerri, the capital of Imo State, at the age of 12 and registered at the Central School there.

He attended Government College Umuahia for his secondary school education. He was a pioneer student of the University College, now University of Ibadan in 1948. He was first admitted to study medicine but changed to English, history and theology after his first year.

While studying at Ibadan, Mr. Achebe began to become critical of European literature about Africa. He eventually wrote his final papers in the University in 1953 and emerged with a second-class degree.

Prof Achebe taught for a while after graduation before joining the Nigeria Broadcasting Service in 1954 in Lagos.

While in Lagos with the Broadcast ing Service, Mr. Achebe met Christie Okoli, who later became his wife; they got married in 1961. The couple had four children.

He also played a major role during the Nigeria Civil War where he joined the Biafran Government as an ambassador.

His latest book, There Was a Country, was an autobiography on his experiences and views of the civil war. The book was probably the most criticised of his writings especially by Nigerians, with many arguing that the professor did not write a balanced account and wrote more as a Biafran than as a Nigerian.

Mr. Achebe was a consistent critic of various military dictators that ruled Nigeria and was a loud voice in denouncing the failure of governance in the country.

Twice, he rejected offers by the Nigerian government to grant him a national honour, citing the deplorable political situations in the country, particularly in his home state of Anambra, as reason.

75 Responses to Renowned Nigerian author Chinua Achebe dies

  1. Phunyukabemphethe March 22, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Oooh God, Lord have mercy – Rest in Peace my beloved Professor. What a man, what an intellect and what a mind of ideas.

    CONDOLENCES!!

    • Efoghor Joseph Ezie March 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      He would be greatly missed by Nigerians. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Amen

    • Chinelo grace okonkwo March 25, 2013 at 10:24 am #

      It is a total disasterous to us, to loss a great novelist like him.But no one wil question God for his deed.May his gentle soul rest in perfect peace amen.

  2. Chabwino March 22, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    A very sad day for African literature. My heartfelt condolences to the Achebe family as well as to all lovers of literature out there.

    • Dae March 22, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      A very sad day for WORLD literature.

  3. Mwalimu March 22, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    RIP Achebe

  4. Nhlanhla March 22, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    RIP to an African literary giant. More of people like Achebe are needed in Africa.

    • Phunyukabemphethe March 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm #

      Unfortunately we have Gukurahundis in abundance!!

    • Nhlanhla March 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

      He was indeed a great man my Bro. His great name will be remembered by all generations in literature.

  5. Mazharul Parvez March 22, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

    May God bless you.

  6. Veliswa March 22, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    RIP child of the African soil. Your work will forever live.

  7. DarryGlo March 22, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    What an Icon and a national hero he was! Achebe epitomized an absolute believe in rule of law and turned down national honor on the ground of government failures and anti people policies! Good nite Achebe a man of dignity, purpose and honor.

  8. ndinyo March 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    I will always remember ‘it looks like a tortoise’ in A man of The People and ‘I’m irresistibly drawn to you’ in Things fall Apart. I hope Achebe’s influence on African literature has taken a new shape. RIP great teacher and true man of the people.

  9. Ham March 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Things hav fall apart now.

  10. shaki March 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    CHINUA ACHEBE… a man who gave all the literature lovers a way to express themselves no matter what kind of background they have. God bless your family.I am definately heartbroken… may your amazing soul REST IN ETERNAL PEACE!

  11. Geoffrey Cheruiyot March 22, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    Shaped and influenced African literature in terms of structure and agitated for equality and objectivity. Activist in nature and his concepts spilled to American plate tectonics where he taught there. Father of universal universe. See you in heaven.

  12. simon March 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    I read and re-read and re-read etc etc “A Man of The People” in the early 1980s. It is an accurate reflection of African politics to this day. South Africa included; especially if you ask Julius Malema et al. We are grateful to God for Chinua’s contribution to society in his lifetime.

  13. Homepage March 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    At 82 , a Great Man has gone home to rest . But his body of work will stay with us for ever. I love Sir Achebe !

  14. Alaska Eshoke March 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Only when we understand the true meaning of Libralization will the role of Prof Chinua Achebe be appreciated even in dead. Rest well Prof.

  15. Mbk March 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

    Indeed Africa and the world @ large will miss u, u affected lives via ur literary works and mentorship,
    Uv left an indelible print in heart of literature lovers,
    U are an Icon, a Hero and a Role Model.
    Adieu! Chinua Achebe.
    We’l miss u.
    R.I.P

  16. oparah March 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Goodnight Achebe. Who else will speak for the Igbo nation. A bad day for the Igbos indeed. However, may God rest your soul in peace.

  17. Via Abuja March 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Remember..’Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten !’. ‘Okonkwo was not a man of many words, he simply carried Ekwefi and… Hey Madoda MHDSRIP till we meet again. Literary giant without blemishes.

    • Vhuramayi March 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

      “Oberika was a man of few words; when the will of the gods had been done, he sat in his obi and mourned his friend’s calamity. Why should a man suffer so grievously for an offense he had committed so inadvertently” Eish!!!! I passed English literature with an A grade because of “Things Fall Apart”. our male teacher loved to call it “Thighs Fall Apart”: we were in an all boys boarding school; St Ignatius College, Zimbabwe. Thank you Mr Achebe

  18. Phunyukabemphethe March 22, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Remember his quote “The outsides who weep more than the berieved”

    Indeed very apt in many cases!!

    • slaveyard biznis March 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

      dis is proper,not bringing in ze gukurahundi issues from ‘NO WHERE’. chiiko?

  19. Phunyukabemphethe March 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Remember his quote “The outsiders who weep more than the berieved”

    Indeed very apt in many cases!!

  20. ukochukwu Egbujor Godson March 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm #

    hei! Death has done the worst. Now i come to comfirm that life is nothing but an empty bubbles on a sea of nothingness. Prof. Your contributions to the world of literature can never be forgotten. The most recent (there was a country…)is creating positive reflections on people’s mind. The whole world celebrate you prof. Have a wonderful night rest.

  21. ukochukwu Egbujor Godson March 22, 2013 at 1:16 pm #

    hei! Death has done the worst. Now i come to comfirm that life is nothing but an empty bubbles on a sea of nothingness. Prof. Your contributions to the world of literature can never be forgotten. The most recent (there was a country…)is creating positive reflections on people’s mind. The world celebrates you prof. Have a wonderful night rest.

  22. smart checklist March 22, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    He made his mark. The rest is left for all of us. What will our future be?

  23. Katongo March 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    So sad. A great author whose books i read eagerly . Condolences to the Achebe family

  24. Deus Ampwera March 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm #

    R.I.P

  25. okey March 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    Ogidi has truely lost a son, May your Soul Rest in Peace Prof.

  26. Jahn March 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm #

    Indeed things finally have fallen apart

  27. Jupiter March 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Why is God totally recalling the wrong people. My foot !

  28. Jay March 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    I cannot begin to express the respect I have for Baba Professor Achebe. His books, particular ‘Things Fall Apart’ has had a profound effect on readers, as a seminal piece of world literature and, to gain an understanding of the overwhelming blanket of imperialism and colonialism smothering African traditions, culture, structure and beliefs. Rest in honour and peace Professor. Your work will continue to illuminate.

  29. tendai chaminuka March 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    rest in peace great man

  30. jennifer oluchi kalu March 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Rip chinua achebe

  31. Chijioke March 22, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    May the Good Lord Grant your Gentle Soul Eternal Rest! RIP Achebe

  32. N.N March 22, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    RIP Prof – great author, your work in African literature equals that of Charles Dickens in the Industrial Revolution era!

  33. kaycee March 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    May his gentle soul rest in peace. He changed the lives of many nigerians positively, and may God grant him a throne by His right hand .

  34. tsepo murena March 22, 2013 at 1:43 pm #

    Rest In Achebe !

  35. Ekam Raymond March 22, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    May his soul rest in peace

  36. Olumayowa March 22, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    RIP great Prof. Condolences to the Achebes family.
    May your exit bring about the emergence of greater minds as yours. U’ll be missed

  37. Emmanuel Osuchukwu March 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    Adieu great iroko. Rest in peace in our Lord’s blossom

  38. Harbisodun March 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Rip@Achebe

  39. TIMOTHY March 22, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    R. I. P……….PROF. YOU WILL BE REMEMBERED FOREVER AND EVER………

  40. Nnaemeka Anaduaka March 22, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

    Great Man.A man of honour.Surely will be missed greatly.

  41. d nyoni March 22, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    you were great man.

  42. Mupengo March 22, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    handisi spammer mhani iwe!!! Truely a sad day 4 African literature.

  43. Felix March 22, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    A champion of african literary works. A master of the pen. He made reading novels a joy during my youthful days. He will be sadly missed by pple of my generation and MHDSRIP.

  44. Tina March 22, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    Rest in peace

  45. Gibson Shara March 22, 2013 at 3:59 pm #

    Oh my God!wat an author.My genious.i lyk his work.esp Thngs Fall Apart.his wk coerced me to do Literature both at Ordinary & Advanced Level.May his soul rest in etrnal peace.am rly hurt.

  46. Gwabisela March 22, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Read three of you books Sir. You were truly a great literature giant. God bless your soul.

  47. Mary March 22, 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    May God comfort those he left behind.

  48. Apostle Joseph Okechukwu March 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm #

    In this part of the world, most people just live like that. But few like the late Pro, are gifts to mankind. He was a man who lived for other people and separated himself from the corrupt club! May his soul rest in peace and my condolences to his family and a few other Nigerians who believe in this same course. Apostle Joseph Okechukwu

  49. Sika Mareza March 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm #

    At least the damn Professor despite his advanced age, was an asset and not a liabilty to his country. This is a learning curve.

  50. Vie March 22, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

    Indeed things have fallen apart.Rip prof par excellence

  51. John Marlique March 22, 2013 at 5:32 pm #

    African Literature has lost a Voice.

  52. tee March 22, 2013 at 5:51 pm #

    I read Things Fall Apart in high school in 1976. At the time I was angry I couldn’t find cliff notes like I had for Moby Dick. As I read it I dfound myself engrossed in the story and realized it was the first and only time in nyc public school that we were assigned a book from a non European author.

  53. isiofia blessing March 22, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    chai, a man of honour is dead.tins v really fallen apart.we pray dt ur ways up dia b exactly hw it is in earth.cx we d igbos wil miss u dearly,anambra as ur village wil miss u too nd ogidi wil do sam.may ur soul R.I.P

  54. Benevolent March 22, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    The Great Proffessor of Africa. R.I.P. I’ll be wt u in paradise amwe maProffessor akaita saana J.M, nevamwe vaye vanonyepera vanhu vachitsva kuGEHENA.

  55. lovemorechirara March 22, 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    Umofia kwenu Yaa. Sure Things Fall Apart.

  56. Ashi Esam March 22, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    WOW, May the Lord bless his mighty soul.
    I still remember some of the characters in Thinks Fall Apart and the Center can no longer hold, etc, especially Okonkwo etc.
    Thanks for sharing all these.
    Rest in Peace the Lord.

  57. Gazebo March 22, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    A true legend of Afrika,bigman sleep well.ur Great mind and literary artistry will live on.

  58. Bla Gidza March 22, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    ‘The centre cannot hold’

    Things have indeed fallen apart

  59. Nyashadzaine Mutenherwa March 22, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    God has put a knife on the man who held Africans together, and we are now falling apart! R.I.P Prof Achebe

  60. Hasu March 22, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

    Okonkwo an unforgettable character

  61. Elliot S. Bhebhe March 22, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    how? i’m posting for the first time, plizzzz!!!!

  62. lovemorechirara March 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    Onkonkwo was a great man now he has died like a dog! Chinua Achebe was a great man now he has died a great man! RIP

  63. Willard Mubvumbi March 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm #

    A VERY GREAT MAN. May his soul rest in peace. ‘Opus dei.’

  64. foxy March 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm #

    RIP Chinuaä

  65. Elliot S. Bhebhe March 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Push me down and six pence is yours! RIP,DOYEN OF AFRICAN LIT.

  66. Elliot S. Bhebhe March 23, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    It’s morning yet on Creation Day. Only efulefu profs remain and in bumper numbers. RIP, Prof. Achebe.

  67. faouzane@moutonbreak - Entrepreneur nomade March 23, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

    Rest In peace ! Okonkwo was big influence on me !

  68. Elliot S. Bhebhe March 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Who killed this banana tree?! RIP ACHEBE!!!!!

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