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 Comments

  1. Phunyukabemphethe

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

    CONDOLENCES!!

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

    2. Chinelo grace okonkwo

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

    1. A very sad day for WORLD literature.

  3. RIP Achebe

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

    1. Phunyukabemphethe

      Unfortunately we have Gukurahundis in abundance!!

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

  5. Mazharul Parvez

    May God bless you.

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

  7. 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. 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. Things hav fall apart now.

  10. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

    1. “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

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

    Indeed very apt in many cases!!

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

  19. Phunyukabemphethe

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

    Indeed very apt in many cases!!

  20. ukochukwu Egbujor Godson

    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

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

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

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

  25. Indeed things finally have fallen apart

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

  27. 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.

  28. tendai chaminuka

    rest in peace great man

  29. jennifer oluchi kalu

    Rip chinua achebe

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

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

  32. 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 .

  33. May his soul rest in peace

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

  35. Emmanuel Osuchukwu

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

  36. Rip@Achebe

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

  38. Nnaemeka Anaduaka

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

  39. you were great man.

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

  41. 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.

  42. Rest in peace

  43. 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.

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

  45. May God comfort those he left behind.

  46. Apostle Joseph Okechukwu

    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

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

  48. Indeed things have fallen apart.Rip prof par excellence

  49. African Literature has lost a Voice.

  50. 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.

  51. isiofia blessing

    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

  52. 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.

  53. Umofia kwenu Yaa. Sure Things Fall Apart.

  54. 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.

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

  56. ‘The centre cannot hold’

    Things have indeed fallen apart

  57. Nyashadzaine Mutenherwa

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

  58. Okonkwo an unforgettable character

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

  60. 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

  61. Willard Mubvumbi

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

  62. RIP Chinuaä

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

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

  65. Rest In peace ! Okonkwo was big influence on me !

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

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