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.
I’m a bit wary of talking about my voice, because I’m not even sure what ‘voice’ means. I’m not very interested in self-psychoanalysis. I can look at fiction with creative eyes or critical eyes, and I try very much to not look at it with critical eyes, particularly my own fiction; I suppose what I can say is that I write what I like to read.
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.
Storytellers are a threat. They threaten all champions of control, they frighten usurpers of the right-to-freedom of the human spirit – in state, in church or mosque, in party congress, in the university or wherever.
Literature, Chinua Achebe liked to say, was his weapon. He railed against the portrayal of Africa, inspired a generation of writers to find their own voices and was unafraid to upset the powers that be. He died on this day in 2013