Photograph — Google

Chinua Achebe would have been 87 today, the world remembers, Google remembers and has also chosen to celebrate the widely acclaimed Nigerian novelist with a doodle. Achebe is considered the patriarch of modern African literature. His revolutionary novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ won immediate international recognition once it was published in 1958, and became a required reading in institutions around the world. Achebe basically used literature as an instrument to fight against Western prejudices. Achebe’s ability to deftly weave his ideologies into a narrative made him a literary and political beacon who has influenced generations of writers both within and outside Africa. In commemoration of what would have been his 87th birthday, here are 10 notable quotes of his:

  • “Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am – and what I need – is something I have to find out myself.”
  • “We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practical, put it concretely in their proverb Onye ji onye n’ani ji onwe ya:“He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.”
  • “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”
  • “If you don’t like my story, write your own.”
  • “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.”
  • “Privilege, you see, is one of the great adversaries of the imagination; it spreads a thick layer of adipose tissue over our sensitivity.”
  • “Every generation must recognize and embrace the task it is peculiarly designed by history and by providence to perform.”
  • “That we are surrounded by deep mysteries is known to all but the incurably ignorant.”
  • “And theories are no more than fictions which help us to make sense of experience and which are subject to disconfirmation when their explanations are no longer adequate.”
  • “Whether we look at one human family or we look at human society in general, growth can come only incrementally.”

Kindly watch Google’s brief video celebrating the great novelist below:


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