Do you know that it was on this day in history that Chinua Achebe, award-winning novelist, father of African literature was born?
Chinua Achebe was born 85 years ago today, and since his death in march 2013, he’s still one of the most widely read writers from Africa.
His debut book Things Fall Apart was the first novel by a native African to be widely read in the West, and it received enormous critical praise.
More than 8 million copies of the book have been printed, and it has been translated into 50 languages.
Here are nine of Achebe’s wisest sayings from his books, letters and speeches:
1. “A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy educated, participatory followership, and an educated, morally grounded leadership.”
2. “The world is like a Mask dancing. If you want to see it well, you do not stand in one place.”
3. “What a country needs to do is be fair to all its citizens – whether people are of a different ethnicity or gender.”
4. “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.”
5. “Writing has always been a serious business for me. I felt it was a moral obligation. A major concern of the time was the absence of the African voice. Being part of that dialogue meant not only sitting at the table but effectively telling the African story from an African perspective – in full earshot of the world.”
6. “In my definition I am a protest writer, with restraint.”
7. “Writers don’t give prescriptions. They give headaches!”
8. “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”
9. “When we are comfortable and inattentive, we run the risk of committing grave injustices absentmindedly.”
10. “We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own”