Chinua Achebe's Legacy

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Chinua Achebe's novels and essays have always drawn our attention to issues of memory, the story, history and our own obligation to history as Africans. Achebe constantly goes back to the authority of narrative - the story; and as the subsequent generations of African writers like Chimamanda Adichie keep returning to, to celebrate Africa's many stories, its moments of failure and triumph. Achebe, more than any other writer on this continent, has inspired many, and hopefully the African story tellers of the coming centuries, irrespective of their location will continue to be inspired by him. This collection of essays is an enduring tribute to this rich legacy of Achebe.

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Published 01 December 2015
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EAN13 9780798304924
Language English
Document size 6 MB

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Chinua Achebe’s Legacy Iuminations from Africa
James Ogude (ed)
First Published in 2015 by the Africa Institute of South Africa Private Bag X41 Pretoria South Africa, 0001
ISBN: 9780798304900
© Copyright Africa Institute of South Africa 2015
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any form or by any means, elec tronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission from the copyright owner. To copy any part of this publication, you may contact DALRO for information and copyright clearance.
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Tabe of Contents
Dedication
Preface
Notes on Contributors
Introduction Why ceebrate Chinua Achebe’s Legacy? James Ogude
CHAPTER 1 Achebe, Art and Critica Consciousness Notes from/for South Africa Bhekîzîzwe Peterson
CHAPTER 2 Postcoonia Modernity and Normaisation Reading Chinua Achebe’sArrow of Godin the Present Tense Harry Garuba
CHAPTER 3 There was a Country Achebe’s Last Saute Garnette Oluoch-Olunya
CHAPTER 4 Chinua Achebe’sThe Education of a BritishProtected Childand African Cosmopoitanism Ronît Frenkel
CHAPTER 5 Late Achebe Biafra as Literary Geneaogy Chrîstopher Ouma
CHAPTER 6 References, Traditions, Continuities Story-teing and Memory in Okey Ndibe’sArrows of RaînDîna Lîgaga
CHAPTER 7 Nationaism in Diaogue Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Adaobi Tricia Nwaubahi in conversation with Chinua Achebe’s Characters Unîier Dyer
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CHAPTER 8 Unoka’s, Okonkwo’s and Ezeuu’s Grandsons in Taiye Seasi’sGhana Must Goand Dinaw Mengestu’sHow to Read the AirGrace Musîla
CHAPTER 9 Things Fall ApartOn Screen Re-thinking Cosure in Achebe’s Narrative Innocent Ebere Uwah
CHAPTER 10 Chinua Achebe The Paradox of Exie beyond the Tropes of Migrancy Senayon Olaoluwa
CHAPTER 11 Revisiting the African Archive Chinua Achebe, So Paatje and the Re-making of African History James Ogude
Tribute 1 The Incredibe Resonance of Achebe’s Work
Veronîque Tadjo Tribute 2 Chinua Achebe A Centra Infuence on My Writing Susan Nalugwa Kîgulî Tribute 3 Chinua Achebe as Literary Infuence A Writer’s Perspective Nthîkeng Mohlele Index
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Dedication
This tribute to Achebe is dedicated to Prof. Mbulelo Vizikhungu Mzamane, one of South Africa’s foremost men of letters. Prof. Mzamane, who passed away on 16 February 2014, was the keynote speaker at the Achebe colloquium held at the University of Pretoria, at which the papers and tributes published in this book were first presented. May his works, like those of Achebe, continue to inspire new voices on the African continent and beyond.
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Preface
The symposium to celebrate the legacy of Chinua Achebe at the University of Pretoria in November 2013 was an outstanding, historical, literary event. The critical reflection on his contribution to Africa’s literary landscape, now made available as a book, is itself a major contribution to that landscape. As the reader will see in going through this collection, Chinua Achebe will remain, through hisœuvre, a great son of Africa and a selfless visionary. When he publishedThings Fall Apartin 1958 his objective was to challenge and demystify some of the longheld perceptions about Africa, its peoples and their cultures concocted in the toxic crucibles of imperialist and colonial design. At the time, a lot of literature supposedly about Africa was written mainly by Europeans and had more to do with their misguided perceptions of Africa than with any African reality. In later years Achebe wrote ‘The Novelist as a Teacher’, an essay in which he describes his objective as being: ‘to help my society regain belief in itself and put away the complexes of the years of denigration and selfabasement ...’. Indeed, after the publication ofThings Fall Apartthere was an upsurge of literature from different parts of the continent and Achebe was instrumental in making these African voices heard. I believe this burgeoning of a new wave of writing across the continent is what earned Achebe the title of ‘Father of African Literature’. He was honoured with this title, not because he was the first African to write a novel, but because, among other things, he tirelessly opened doors for a plethora of fellow African writers. In 1962, following the remarkable success of Things Fall Apartinternationally – it had become an instant bestseller worldwide – Achebe was appointed founding editor of the Heinemann African Writers Series. As the Editor, he solicited manuscripts from writers across the continent and introduced the work of many African literary giants, including the likes of Christopher Okigbo, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Alex la Guma, Ama Ata Aidoo and many others who went on to become household names across the African continent. Because of Achebe’s solidarity with the people of South Africa, not just the writers, Nelson Mandela’s first published book,No Easy Walk to Freedom, was published as part of the series. Achebe brought hope to the African continent. In his five decades of meaningful contribu tion to the development of African literatures, he worked tirelessly to bring African writers together and make their voices heard. And he continues to do so from his grave. Let me borrow the voice of an elder from Abazon in Achebe’sAnthills of the Savannah: ‘The sounding of the battledrum is important; the fierce waging of the war itself is important; and the telling of the story afterwards – each is important in its own way. I tell you there is not one of them we could do without. But if you ask me which of them takes the eaglefeather I will say boldly: the story’. And I say boldly: read this book.
Keorapetse Kgositsile National Poet Laureate
Notes on Contributors
Bhekizizwe PetersonProfessor of African Literature at the University of the is Witwatersrand, South Africa. He has held invited Fellowships at Yale University and Birmingham University (UK) and served on various editorial, statutory and artistic com mittees, juries and boards across the continent. He has published extensively on African Literature, Performance and Cultural Studies, as well as Black Intellectual Traditions in South Africa. His publications includeFragments in the Sun, Monarchs, Missionaries and African Intellectuals: African Theatre and the Unmaking of Colonial MarginalityandZulu Love Letter: A Screenplay. Peterson has been active as a writer and participant in Black cultural practices since the late 1970s and he was a founding member of the Afrika Cultural Centre and the Dhlomo Theatre. He is the writer and/or producer of internation ally acclaimed films includingFools, Zulu Love Letter andZwelidumiledirected by (all Ramadan Suleman) andBorn into Struggle, The Battle for JohannesburgandMiners Shot Down(all directed by Rehad Desai). eMail: Bhekizizwe.Peterson@wits.ac.za
Christopher Ouma is a lecturer at the University of Cape Town’s English Department, South Africa. His teaching and research interests are in East, West and Southern African literatures, popular cultures, as well as literatures of the contemporary African Diaspora. Chris is currently coeditor of the journal Social Dynamics. eMail: christopher.ouma@ uct.ac.za
Dina Ligagais a senior lecturer in the Department of Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. Her research is in the field of popular culture where she looks at the interactions between everyday life and ideology. She has published work on radio drama and new media cultures. She is also the coauthor ofRadio in Africa: Publics, Cultures, Communities (Wits Press, 2011) andRethinking Eastern African Literary and Intellectual Landscapes(Africa World Press, 2012). eMail: Dina.Ligaga@wits.ac.za
Garnette Oluoch-Olunyaa senior lecturer in the Department of Language & is Communication, and Director of the Centre for Cultural and Creative Industries at the Technical University of Kenya. In her work as a research consultant for the GoDown Arts Centre in Nairobi, she is part of the organising team for the East African Arts Summit, held biennially;Nai ni Who, a Nairobi festival that celebrates city diversity, urban geographies and cultures, and identity formations; and coordinator of the Creative Entrepreneurship Course. She is also an Ubuntu project associate fellow with the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Glasgow, and is a member of the Glasgow University Council. eMail: garnetteo@yahoo.com
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Notes on Contributors
Grace Musilateaches at the English Department, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She holds a PhD in African Literature; and her research interests include West, East and Southern African literatures, popular culture and gender studies. She is also inter ested in the politics of knowledge production and how to make knowledge produced by Africabased scholars visible and relevant across the continent and, beyond, in the global academy. Her work has been published in various academic journals, includingJournal of Commonwealth Literatures,Journal of Eastern African Studies,Research in African Literatures,Africa Insight,Social IdentitiesandJournal of Postcolonial Writing. She has also coedited (with James Ogude and Dina Ligaga) an essay collection titledRethinking Eastern African Literary and Intellectual Landscapes(Africa World Press, 2012). eMail: gmusila@sun.ac.za
Harry Garubais a poet, anthologist and scholar. He is author of the collectionShadow & Dream and Other Poemshas edited the hallmark anthology of new Nigerian and poetry entitledVoices from the Fringe. An associate professor of English and African Studies at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, he is widely published in the field of African Literature and postcolonial studies, has held a Mellon fellowship at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, a Mandela fellowship at the WEB Du Bois Institute, Harvard University, and a visiting fellowship at Emory University. He is currently Director, School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Cape Town. eMail: harry.garuba@uct.ac.za
Innocent Ebere Uwaha lecturer at the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, is University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria. He teaches Radio, Film and Television production at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He is the liaison officer between his depart ment and the office of the Deputy ViceChancellor in charge of Research and Development at the University. Dr Uwah is well travelled and a recipient of many awards, including the Global Partners’ Award in Communications in 2010 (USA) and that of All Africa House Fellowship, University of Cape Town, South Africa (2013), hosted by the Centre for Film and Media Studies, University of Cape Town (UCT). He has published widely on the sub ject of Nollywood, the popular Nigerian film industry and African cinema and literature in general. In 2013 he published a monograph titledThe Rhetoric of Culture in Nollywood. His research interests are the interface between representations and cultures, media and theatre education, identity constructions in films and religious communications. eMail: fadaebereuwa@yahoo.com
James Ogudeis a Senior Research Fellow and the Deputy Director at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship, University of Pretoria  a position he took up at the beginning of May, 2013. Until his recent appointment he was a Professor of African Literature and Cultures in the School of Literature, Language and Media Studies at the University of the