Prof. Chinua Achebe (AP Photo/Axel Seidemann)
The death of Chinua Achebe at the prime age of 82 marks the physical departure of a man who has touched many in Africa in a very special way. While one may want to agree with Nelson Mandela who once said that Achebe brought Africa to the world, it is also true that, in a very special way, Achebe made we Africans to see ourselves as a race of proud people who were subjugated by colonialists for many years. He inspired us to have a sense of pride in culture. But even more momentous, he made us sensitive to our African way of telling stories.
Here was a principled man who refused the highest honour in Nigeria, Commander of the Federal Republic. He dared to tread where angels feared by telling off racists of all kinds and African dictators. Above all, he asserted African dignity. It is not enough to say that Chinua Achebe was the father of African literature. Though he is physical gone, his spirit will forever remain the palm wine with which we drink African literature.
It is with these reflections in mind that a one day event has been organised by his publishers at The Professional Centre on 18th May to celebrate this great African in a special way, before his burial in Nigeria on 23rd May 2013.
It will bring together scholars, students and lovers of literature who will reflect on the times and life of Achebe with readings from his works, short performances, song, and dance.
The event will start at 10 a.m and has been organised by his long term publishers, East African Educational Publishers (formerly Heinemann) & Prof. Egara Kabaji