chinua-achebe

Does the white man understand our custom about land?” “How can he when he does not even speak our tongue? But he says that our customs are bad; and our own brothers who have taken up his religion also say that our customs are bad. How do you think we can fight when our own brothers have turned against us? The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.
—  Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
7

“If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.”

“Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am - and what I need - is something I have to find out myself.”

“We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own.The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely in their proverb Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya: “He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.”

"When a tradition gathers enough strength to go on for centuries, you don’t just turn it off one day."

"When the British came to Igbo land, for instance, at the beginning of the 20th century, and defeated the men in pitched battles in different places, and set up their administrations, the men surrendered. And it was the women who led the first revolt."

"When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool."

“While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary.”

“It is the storyteller who makes us what we are, who creates history. The storyteller creates the memory that the survivors must have - otherwise their surviving would have no meaning.”

“I would be quite satisfied if my novels (especially the ones I set in the past) did no more than teach my readers that their past - with all its imperfections - was not one long night of savagery from which the first Europeans acting on God’s behalf delivered them”

“That we are surrounded by deep mysteries is known to all but the incurably ignorant.”

RIP Chinua Achebe.

When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.
—  Chinua Achebe

Nelson Mandela (1918 - 2013) and Chinua Achebe (1930 - 2013).

“Death is something inevitable. When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, he can rest in peace. I believe I have made that effort and that is, therefore, why I will sleep for the eternity.” ~ Nelson Mandela, 1996

Literary Birthday - 16 November

Happy Birthday, Chinua Achebe, born 16 November 1930

Chinua Achebe: 12 Quotes On Stories

  1. If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own.
  2. To me, being an intellectual doesn’t mean knowing about intellectual issues; it means taking pleasure in them.
  3. Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am - and what I need - is something I have to find out myself.
  4. My weapon is literature.
  5. People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.
  6. Storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control.
  7. It is the storyteller who makes us what we are, who creates history. The storyteller creates the memory that the survivors must have - otherwise their surviving would have no meaning.
  8. The emperor would prefer the poet to keep away from politics, the emperor’s domain, so that he can manage things the way he likes.
  9. We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own.
  10. If you only hear one side of the story, you have no understanding at all.
  11. The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience. 
  12. Stories serve the purpose of consolidating whatever gains people or their leaders have made or imagine they have made in their existing journey thorough the world. 

Chinua Achebe is a Nigerian novelist, poet, professor, and critic. He is best known for his first novel and magnum opus, Things Fall Apart, which has sold more than 8 million copies around the world, and been translated into 50 languages. Achebe is the most translated African writer of all time.
Nelson Mandela referred to Achebe as a writer ‘in whose company the prison walls fell down’.
Achebe is the recipient of over 30 honorary degrees. He has been awarded the Man Booker International Prize, the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, an Honorary Fellowship of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Nigerian National Order of Merit.

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write

My position is that serious and good art has always existed to help, to serve, humanity. Not to indict. I don’t see how art can be called art if its purpose is to frustrate humanity. To make humanity uncomfortable, yes. But intrinsically to be against humanity, that I don’t take.
—  Chinua Achebe, The Art of Fiction n°139