Tag Archives: Achebe

A Not-So Careul Rant on Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. Chiedozie Ude

Well, straight to my rant. I’ll drop something more detailed whenever my spirit tells me to.

Things Fall Apart is seen as a prototype book that aptly portrays the lives of Africans before the coming of the colonial masters and even during the colonial era. Therefore, many critics regard it as a historical fiction.

Achebe, masterfully, tells the African story from an African perspective. Before this book was written, we had so many stereotypic works about Africa that were written by Europeans. These works described Africa as a savage place that housed lawless black people. A typical example of one of such books is Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. Because of these European depictions of Africa, it became important for us Africans to tell our own story; and in my opinion, Achebe did that through Things Fall Apart.

This story narrates the saga of Okonkwo, the protagonist. Okonkwo typifies a traditional African man who believes in toxic masculinity. No wonder he loathes his father and everything his father epitomises because his father is his foil. This theme of masculinity is further reinforced in the way Okonkwo treats Nwoye. Sadly, this treatment of Nwoye was to force Nwoye to accept the Christian missionaries. Also, it is owing to the fact that Okonkwo hated anything feminine that made him kill Ikemefuna.

Okonkwo, despite being a flawed character, has some admirable qualities. He is hardworking and prosperous. He symbolises the indigenous African resilient spirit; the spirit that helps us thrive under hardship. According to the narrative, the odds were against Okonkwo, but he still found a way to succeed. Thus, he also deserves our admiration. Therefore, we can say that he represents the prosperous nature of Africa before the coming of the colonial masters.

The book also covers a lot of traditional Igbo practices such as the New Yam Festival, the Masquerade Event, and the Wrestling Event. With these events, Achebe seeks to show the richness of the Igbo culture as against the erroneous belief that Africans only practiced barbaric cultures.

Also important to talk about is the genre of the novel. This book falls under historical tragedy. The tragedy perspective is totally valid because it show how the coming of the whites completely destroyed our way of life. Of course, for things to fall apart, there has to be a cataclysmic event. In this case, the destructive event is colonialism. To simply put it, Achebe aims to tell the story deculturisation of Africa by Europe. He does this by narrative the story of his tragic-hero, Okonkwo, who despite his zeal to do what he feels is right, possesses several flaws that are Illuminated by several factors — modernization, colonialism, fear, tradition, to name a few. These flaws ultimately lead to his downfall. By extension, the flaws symbolically represent the flaws in the traditional African society that made it possible for the colonial masters to conquer and enslave Africans. Surely, the decision of the district commissioner to write the story of the life of Okonkwo in a single paragraph helped to strengthen the argument that this book is a tragedy.

So, in terms of form and content, Things Fall Apart deserves to be celebrated. It simply presents the lives of Africans before and during colonialism. Let me stop the rant here.

A Song For Greatness Gone: In Memory of Christopher Okigbo: Chiedozie Ude

By Chiedozie Ude (May 21, 2020)

Dedicated to Oyinma, a lover of everything African.

Goodbye to a great genius
Who has crossed heaven’s gate,
A sufferer of the warrior’s fate
A destiny that is heinous.

Why did you have to fight that war?
Did not Ojukwu have other men
To prevent you from the lion’s den?
Or were you born to war adore?

Biafra cries as it mumbles your name,
Lamenting the great works lost
In your battle lust
The Biafran dream also burned with your flame.

For your daring, we have a tomb,
For bravery, a martyrdom,
The price you paid for freedom —
A facade of doom.

You sought the paths of thunder
In return you found man-made brontide,
Weapons which the Soviets supplied,
Now, you get to rest under.

Mother Idoto mourns her child,
Her watery presence is reinforced by her tears,
Grievous sounds enough to raise one’s hairs
For a prodigal who has forever been exiled.

Who now shall tell of your legend,
Beautiful river goddess?
Shall we also witness
The coming of your end?

On Nsukka’s hell grounds
There fell Okigbo Christopher,
Defending his ideals on anarchy’s altar,
A ram for the gods of the battlegrounds.

Wild you were in your creativity,
Unrestricted by colonial subjugation,
You rose to international acclamation,
A man with artistic proclivity.

Brief was your stay,
No sooner here than the other side,
An eternity where you must now abide,
Leaving only a piece of your intellect for display.

Your star departed when it was brightest,
Twinkling into the great beyond
Never again to respond
To the cock’s siren, even at its highest.

Dee Christopher, martyred for the Biafran cause
An ideal you dearly held
One which was mercilessly shelled
By the enemy’s airforce.

This hour stand I enchanted,
Overwhelmed in the labyrinths of your astuteness,
Which, by far, surpasses the ocean’s saltiness,
Wisdom which Mother Idoto granted.