News has been spreading profusely like a bleeding woman around the globe on the demise of the great literary icon of Africa Albert Chinua Umugo Achebe.
The rummours started on the internet and national and international dailies on Friday March 22, 2013. The legendary author of ‘things fall apart’, suffered great pain that he willingly accepted after sustaining a spinal cord injury, from a fatal motor accident which put him a wheel chair from 1990.
This was basically the time Death priced him, but he was too expensive then, because he has so many to accomplish alive.
As much as he was loved by Africans and Europeans, many still wanted him dead, those who wished he had died in 1957 before writing things fall apart, those who wished he died in 2011 so as not to publish one of his controversial ‘there was a country’; and even those who wished he never should have be born.
The truth still remains that even among the long-nosed colonial masters and corrupt Nigerian and African politicians that he stood against with his magic wand pen, they still loved him at least because he was a worthy opponent.
The question becomes, why would they want him dead. The answer is not far fetched, it is because of an extraordinary God given ability to bring characters to life; giving them an essence, an existence, a reality, reliability in what is, had been, or is to come, this life-giving ability is not only in the mind of the readers, or in mimesis, or say imitation of what is-rather on what ‘truly’ is.
The funny thing is, he can make a character from any body, which though most of his novels are based on characters who exist in reality or is to exist in the later years.
Is that enough to want him dead? I cannot say, but I still believe in “the pen is mightier than the sword” maxim (Edward Bulwer Lytton). Because this hero can ‘bring the walls of a country down’.
He has this quality, this strength to go after what is really true. And this, though most part of his works, he tries to compare the African traditional religion to that of the westerners, to compare right and wrong, good and evil, light and darkness and the final triumph of one of the abstract ideas. Yet he was battling amidst great foes, two sworn enemies whose fate are entangled, he was battling two strong opposing forces; life and death.
Finally, things fell apart because the falcon was turning and turning in widening gyre and couldn’t hear the falconer (which in an Igbo adage “Onwu choro Igbu nwa nkita, ogaghi ekwe ya nu isi nsi”).
The centre collapsed because it could no longer hold and was no longer at ease. Who was the falcon and who was the falconer. Achebe was the falconer, calling the politicians of Africa through his literary works, and when they refuse to be the ‘men of the people’ he rejected their every honourable titles, both their anthills and their savannahs and remained the hero without a state title but his name.
Who would have spread and disseminated such information about his death?
Where are these rumours from? It was death that spread the rumours himself. So the rumours are true. But the question remains, is he really dead?
Truth is, existence can cease but essence continues; that which makes one who he/she is and not another. So many are concerned about the eternal rest of the deceased when ever there is news of death, am not a preacher; I believe in the immortality of the soul-though he is Dead, yet Death gave him life.
So Achebe is alive; alive in our minds, alive in the masterpiece of his works, alive in our black minds, alive in our soul and still speaks of total redemption of our LAND Nigeria and Africa. One dies only when we let them, their immortality is the indelible expression of love, of truth, of wisdom, of light they left in our heart before leaving for the realms beyond.
If you forget them, then you would really be a murderer who killed them on the after of life.