Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Honoring a political writer

Chinua Achebe was one of my inspirations for studying Nigeria. First , there were his books and then there were his analyses. Google honored Achebe last week by altering its logo.

While Things Fall Apart is his most known novel, Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah deal directly with Nigerian government and politics. His essay "Home and Exile" is a powerful statement about the need for cross-cultural understanding.

Google Doodle Honors Chinua Achebe
Google is changing its logo to a doodle in honor of the late Chinua Achebe, who is considered to be one of Africa's greatest storyteller. He would have been 87 on Thursday.

Born in Ogidi to an Igbo family in 1930, Achebe was the son of an evangelical priest. In love with reading and writing, he completed English studies at the University of Ibadan in just four years instead of five, which was the standard.

Achebe was disappointed in the European interpretation of African culture and the ignorance about the continent and its people.

In 1958, he published his first and most widely read novel, Things Fall Apart. The novel portrays the clash of cultures that took place when Christian missionaries and Western colonials encountered traditional African societies in the 19th century.

Things Fall Apart is still one of the most read books in modern African literature. The novel sold over 12 million copies and was translated into more than 50 languages…

When Biafra broke away from Nigeria in 1967, Achebe became a strong Biafran supporter…

In 1969, frustrated by corruption and political unrest in Nigeria, Achebe relocated to the United States as a university lecturer.

He returned to Nigeria in 1971 and worked as an English professor…

In 1990 Achebe was in a car crash in Nigeria that left him permanently paralyzed and in a wheelchair. That same year he relocated back to the US and taught at Bard College for 15 years…

Achebe joined Brown University as a professor of African Studies in 2009.

He died in Boston on March 21, 2013, at the age of 82.

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