books

Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ turns 50.

by Nelima

I could be wrong, but I think every one who went to an African school (primary or secondary), must have at some point read Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”. I can’t speak for anyone else, but literature was the only class in which reading didn’t make me sleepy – well I take that back. When we had ugali for lunch I almost always lost to the force of gravity on my eyelids. Well anyways, I just read in The Economist, that this the golden jubilee year of Okonkwo’s Story. Its been 50 years since the book was first published and to date it’s been translated into 50 languages and sold 10million copies. Supposedly there have been parties all around the world from Portugal to Texas to London and Nigeria. I’m thinking Minnesota needs to have a HUGE yam festival too. Any takers?

Nonetheless, the memory of the joy I had from reading African literature makes me want to get back into the habit of reading African literature again. I am curious about the new novels out there and I am taking suggestions.

A couple of personal favorites (old school ones) I would like to share are;

*Tsitsi Dangarembga’s ‘Nervous Conditions’

*Ferdinand Oyono ‘Houseboy’

*Camara Laye ‘The Dark Child’

*Meja Mwangi’s ‘Striving For The Wind’

*Chimanda Ngozi Adichie ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ 

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7 thoughts on “Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’ turns 50.

  1. I have had Chiuna Achebe’s book sitting on my bookshelf for half my life and I am terrible that I have not read it yet. I will make that commitment. Although I never went to an African school, I know so many people who have enjoyed this book. Thank you for reminding me of the treasures I have in my home!

  2. Oh my goodness Nelima, don’t get me started with those great novels we studied back in Primary and Secondary school. If you recall, most of these books were published by the African Writers Series and my sister and I embarked on a personal mission to read each and everyone of the books published under the African Writers Series and there were thousands of these books, I tell you. I think we came close though….Here’s a list of some of my favorites-
    “Devil on The Cross” by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o
    “Burning Grass” by Cyprian Ekwensi
    “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born” by Ayi Kwei Armah.
    “Mine Boy” by Peter Abrahams
    “The Whiteman of God” by Kenjo Jumbam
    “The Palmwine Drinkard” by Amos Totuola
    “When Rain Clouds Gather” by Bessie Head
    “Weep Not, Child” by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o

    my goodness! the list is endless….

  3. Eish! Mr. Sankara, I see you are a great fan of African literature. Thanks for the suggestions and you know what? I even have The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born on my bookcase, but haven’t read it yet. Like TheJenTaFur said, thanks for reminding me of the treasures I have here at home 🙂

  4. My goodness Nelima, I can’t believe you have that book on your shelf and you never told me. My copy was destroyed like 15 years ago from wear and tear.
    Well, while we are on the subject, permit me continue with my list of favs:
    “Xala” by Sembene Ousmane
    “Mission To Kala” by Mongo Beti
    “The Poor Christ of Bomba” by Mongo Beti
    “Ville Cruelle” by Eza Boto

    Here’s some plays and poetry

    “Sirens Knuckles and Boots”- Dcnnis Brutus
    “Song of Lawino” by Okot P’Bitek
    “The gods Are Not To Blame” by Ola Rotimi
    “The Disillusioned African”- Tanure Ojaide
    “I Will Marry When I Want”-Ngugi Wa Thiong’o and Ngugi Wa Mirii
    “Ancestral Logic and the Caribbean Blues”- Koffi Anyidoho
    “Poems of Black Africa- Wole Soyinka

    Hmmmm, memories, I tell you……

  5. I will start by impressing y’all with my strong affiliation to “Things fall apart” and which better way than to recount ,,,,”turning and turning in the widening mire,,the falcon cannot hear the falconer ,,,things fall apart the center cannot hold,,mere anarchy is loosed upon the world” and I’ve not even seen the book in like 13 years.
    I am however, the first to acknowledge the role that this book especially played to spread African culture in my neck of the woods. It is increasingly difficult to find flamboyant displays of the richness of African culture and in this respect, “Things fall apart ” is a shrine.

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