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Nobel laureates Soyinka, Gordimer mourn Achebe  print

Published on March 22, 2013 by   ·   1 Comment

Africa’s first Nobel literature laureate Wole Soyinka and a renowned poet, John Pepper Clark, said Friday they have lost “a brother, a colleague” with the death of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe.

“For us, the loss of Chinua Achebe is, above all else, intensely personal. We have lost a brother, a colleague, a trailblazer and a doughty fighter,” they said in a joint statement, a copy of which was sent to AFP.

Achebe, 82, died in a hospital in Boston after a brief illness, his family said Friday.

Prof. Wole Soyinka

Prof. Wole Soyinka

Achebe: tributes from contemporaries

Achebe: tributes from contemporaries

Widely known as the father of modern African literature, Achebe had lived and worked as a professor in the United States in recent years, most recently at Brown University in Rhode Island.

He is best known internationally for his debut novel “Things Fall Apart”, which depicts the collision between British rule and traditional Igbo culture in his native southeast Nigeria.

“Of the ‘pioneer quartet’ of contemporary Nigerian literature, two voices have been silenced – one, of the poet Christopher Okigbo, and now, the novelist Chinua Achebe,” the statement said.

Okigbo died during the “Biafra” civil war in 1967-70.

“…We confidently assert that Chinua lives. His works provide their enduring testimony to the domination of the human spirit over the forces of repression, bigotry, and retrogression,” it said.

Soyinka, Achebe, Okigbo and Clark were literary contemporaries.

South African Nobel literature laureate, Nadine Gordimer also said Friday she was saddened by the death of her “close dear friend” Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe.

“He was not only a great writer but a close dear friend of mine, I was shocked that he has left us,” Gordimer told AFP.

Gordimer, 89, described Achebe’s death as a great loss to the continent and the literature world.

“He was a widely read individual and a humanist,” she said.

“We corresponded but haven’t seen him in a couple of years,” she added.

Achebe, 82, died in a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He had lived and worked as a professor in the United States in recent years, most recently at Brown University in Rhode Island.

He is best known internationally for his debut novel “Things Fall Apart”, which depicts the collision between British rule and traditional Igbo culture in his native southeast Nigeria.

Achebe was also a strong critic of graft and misrule in his country.

Gordimer said her advice to everyone is to “read, read, read all his work, from ‘Things Fall Apart’ to his last work.”

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Posted by on March 22, 2013, 11:18 pm. Filed under National, News, Today's Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment for “Nobel laureates Soyinka, Gordimer mourn Achebe”

  1. He is a great man that is good with his pen, thank God he live a fulfilled life.

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