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)