Chinua Achebe quotes
Birthdate: 16. November 1930
Date of death: 21. March 2013
Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. His first novel Things Fall Apart , often considered his masterpiece, is the most widely read book in modern African literature.Raised by his parents in the Igbo town of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria, Achebe excelled at school and won a scholarship to study medicine, but changed his studies to English literature at University College . He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African cultures, and began writing stories as a university student. After graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service and soon moved to the metropolis of Lagos. He gained worldwide attention for his novel Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s; his later novels include No Longer at Ease , Arrow of God , A Man of the People , and Anthills of the Savannah . Achebe wrote his novels in English and defended the use of English, a "language of colonisers", in African literature. In 1975, his lecture "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness" featured a criticism of Joseph Conrad as "a thoroughgoing racist"; it was later published in The Massachusetts Review amid some controversy.
When the region of Biafra broke away from Nigeria in 1967, Achebe became a supporter of Biafran independence and acted as ambassador for the people of the new nation. The civil war that took place over the territory, commonly known as the Nigerian Civil War, ravaged the populace, and as starvation and violence took its toll, he appealed to the people of Europe and the Americas for aid. When the Nigerian government retook the region in 1970, he involved himself in political parties but soon resigned due to frustration over the corruption and elitism he witnessed. He lived in the United States for several years in the 1970s, and returned to the U.S. in 1990, after a car crash left him partially disabled.
A titled Igbo chief himself, Achebe's novels focus on the traditions of Igbo society, the effect of Christian influences, and the clash of Western and traditional African values during and after the colonial era. His style relies heavily on the Igbo oral tradition, and combines straightforward narration with representations of folk stories, proverbs, and oratory. He also published a large number of short stories, children's books, and essay collections.
Upon Achebe's return to the United States in 1990, he began an eighteen-year tenure at Bard College as the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature. From 2009 until his death, he served as David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University.
Quotes Chinua Achebe
Source: Anthills of the Savannah
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„There is no story that is not true, […] The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others.“
Variant: The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others.
Source: Things Fall Apart (1958), Chapter 15 (p. 130)
Context: "We have heard stories about white men who make the powerful guns and the strong drinks and took slaves away across the seas, but no one thought the stories were true." [said Obierika]
"There is no story that is not true," said Uchendu. "The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others. We have albinos among us. Do you not think that they came to our clan by mistake, that they have strayed from their way to a land where everybody is like them?"
„We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely in their proverb"He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.“
Source: The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays
„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.“
Variant: When Suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat left for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.
Source: Things Fall Apart (1958), Chapter 2 (p. 14)
„Storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit -- in state, in church or mosque, in party congress, in the university or wherever.“
Source: Anthills of the Savannah