Chinua Achebe dies, 2013

Though I normally write out about past historical events on the day they occur, today I am writing about something that happened today that I feel is historically relevant.

Today, influential Nigerian author Chinua Achebe died in Boston at age 82.

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Achebe is best known for his 1958 novel Things Fall Apart as well as his 1975 article  “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness”  which criticizes Joseph Conrad’s famous novella Heart of Darkness for its racism. Achebe is recognized as the “Father of African Literature” and has influenced such writers as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison.

Like many others, Achebe has influenced me too. I read Things Fall Apart last year and found it to be an stunning and heartbreaking depiction of an Igbo man’s struggle to maintain his cultural identity in the face of European colonialism. It is truly a modern masterpiece that should be read by all, as its message is still very relevant.

And now, some words of wisdom:

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.
― Chinua Achebe

Articles for further reading:


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