Chinua Achebe is described to be the Father of Modern African literature. Famous for his first novel, “Things Fall Apart”, the professor, poet, novelist, and elder statesman is known worldwide for his vivid narration and ability to dramatize the Africa culture.
The author, who is of Igbo origin, was given birth to on the 1st of November 1930, in the Igbo town of Ogidi. He studied Literature in the University college Ibadan now the University of Ibadan, and work with the Nigerian Broadcasting Service after his university education.
His other works included “Arrow of God”, “No longer At Ease”, “The Man of the People”, Anthills of the Savannah and others.
Achebe, who is a mentor to millions of storytellers, worked for the actualization of the now-defunct Biafra, where he served as a diplomat for the leader of Biafra during the civil war that lasted between 1967 to 1970.
He, in fact, bore his mind of the historical reality of the Nigerian civil war in his book, “There Was A Country”
Here Are Some Of His Words Written On The Tablet Of Time
“There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”
“We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely in their proverb Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya: ‘He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.”
“The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.
Become familiar with your home, but know also about your neighbors. The young man who never went anywhere thinks his mother is the greatest cook.”
“Procrastination is a lazy man’s apology.”
“Every generation must recognize and embrace the task it is peculiarly designed by history and by providence to perform.”
“We shall all live. We pray for life, children, a good harvest and happiness. You will have what is good for you and I will have what is good for me. Let the kite perch and let the egret perch too. If one says no to the other, let his wing break.”
“As a rule I don’t like suffering to no purpose. Suffering should be creative, should give birth to something good and lovely.”
“An angry man is always a stupid man.”
“You must develop the habit of skepticism, not swallow every piece of superstition you are told by witch-doctors and professors.”
“If you only hear one side of the story, you have no understanding at all.”
“Art is man’s constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.”
“The sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them.”
“It is as though the ancestors who made language and knew from what bestiality its use rescued them are saying to us: Beware of interfering with its purpose! For when language is seriously interfered with, when it is disjoined from truth, be it from mere incompetence or worse, from malice, horrors can descend again on mankind.”
“A kinsman in trouble had to be saved, not blamed; anger against a brother was felt in the flesh, not in the bone.
Once you allow yourself to identify with the people in a story, then you might begin to see yourself in that story even if on the surface it’s far removed from your situation. This is what I try to tell my students: this is one great thing that literature can do — it can make us identify with situations and people far away. If it does that, it’s a miracle.”
“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”
“When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.”
“Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.”
“The impatient idealist says: ‘Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth.’ But such a place does not exist. We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace.”
“It is the storyteller who makes us what we are, who creates history. The storyteller creates the memory that the survivors must have – otherwise their surviving would have no meaning.”
“There is a moral obligation, I think, not to ally oneself with power against the powerless.”