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
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.