Sunday, 19 May 2013

The organic link between Things Fall Apart and There was a Country

Just a few months before his 28th birthday, in 1958, Chinua Achebe writes Things Fall Apart, the classic restorative narrative of African affirmation which subverts the European conqueror’s frantic efforts to construct a historiography of African-memory erasure in the wake of a devastating conquest. This is the foundational opus on which the African World’s reply to Europe and the world and a redefinition of itself and subsequent aspirations is codified. This author’s achievement is incomparable. Fifty-four years later, just a couple of months before his 82nd birthday, in 2012, the literary interventionist genius publishes There was a Country, an indefatigable reminder to an oft-complacent world of the Igbo genocide, the foundational genocide of post-(European)conquest Africa, and the incredible survival of Igbo people. 3.1 million Igbo people, a quarter of the population, were murdered by Nigeria during 44 months of indescribable barbarity and carnage not seen in Africa since the German-perpetration of the genocide against the Herero people of Namibia in the early 1900s. There was a Country is a priceless gift to a much-beleaguered people and the world, a compulsory reference to our understanding of Africa of the last 50 years – this turbulent age of pestilence. This author’s achievement is incomparable.

Twitter @HerbertEkweEkwe

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