A heart as loud as lions

Do it for your country
Do it for your name
Cause there's gonna be a day
When you're standing in the hall of fame
And the world's gonna know your name — The Script

Yes­ter­day was the birth­day of Chin­ua Achebe, a writer who died ear­li­er this year. In Gilling­ham we were just read­ing a book of his with the book club in the week of his decease. Today a pic­ture to com­mem­o­rate this lit­er­ary hero.

The pub­li­ca­tion of Achebe’s book Things Fall Apart was a break­through in lit­er­a­ture, because it told the sto­ry of coloni­sa­tion from the per­spec­tive of a Niger­ian. He said about this:

There is that great proverb — that until the lions have their own his­to­ri­ans, the his­to­ry of the hunt will always glo­ri­fy the hunter. Once I real­ized that, I had to be a writer. I had to be that historian.

In won­der­ful lan­guage, Achebe describes the world and the hearts of peo­ple who try to find their place in a quick­ly chang­ing soci­ety. Some­times it seems as if our world is head­ing for com­plete uni­for­mi­ty. The McDon­alds is an often cit­ed exam­ple of that. Books like Achebe’s show that we should not sup­press the diver­si­ty of human­i­ty, but let it shine. That is only pos­si­ble if there is free­dom — free­dom of speech, free­dom of identity.

Chin­ua Achebe is a man who inspires peo­ple. Just­ly, he stands in the Hall of Fame. He has let his voice be heard and giv­en African writ­ers self-con­fi­dence. “You’ve got a heart as loud as lions, So why let your voice be tamed? Baby we’re a lit­tle dif­fer­ent, there’s no need to be ashamed.” (Emeli Sandé)