Friday, November 11, 2005

queueing to see achebe

The crowd that turned up for Chinua Achebe's discussion with Caryl Phillips - was a huge one. It was a concert capacity crowd and as would be expected of any self-respecting music concert, the seats were competely sold out. Very heartening therefore, to see such a crowd turning up for literature. But then, with Achebe, one can expect no less. The picture above was taken in the foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, on October 4. These good people were patiently waiting in line (some sitting down) in the hope of getting any late return tickets, to see the author of Things Fall Apart.


Blogger Jeremy said...

If only he would come back to Nigeria.. I guess that's a long story. But the disconnect between Achebe and his country is too wide and surely must be wounding both sides with equal intensity.

11:55 am, November 08, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do you want him to come back to Nigeria? In his wheelchair he would not be able to do a tenth of the things that he could where he is. There is sentiment and there is reality

12:42 pm, November 08, 2005  
Blogger the flying monkeys said...

It is surprising how one side of the argument think he should return home when he may not, or is sure he wouldn't when he may. This is the balance of idealism and realism.

7:21 pm, November 08, 2005  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Achebe and others must come back (either literally or figuratively): Nigeria lacks an intelligentsia. Countries do not transform themselves without an intellectual class. African intellectuals therefore have a duty to their homelands. Being wheelchair bound is an excuse of sorts (but not enough to stop him travelling in the West!) Isn't it just wrong that African writers and thinkers should prefer the comforts of leafy ivy-league US campuses to returning to engage with the wounds of home - especially when there is no overt danger attached to their return? What is the big deal (or 'reality') of staying in America? Ok - access to libraries and resources and a regular salary - but these are trivial in comparison to actual engagement and the issues that present themselves. Of course, we all know what happened to Ngugi when he went back to Nairobi last year (there's always a risk). But spending your days teaching rich kids in Connecticut/drifting round the lit circuit when you should be connecting with on the ground realities (as Soyinka does all the time) is lazy cowardice. Going home is the opposite of sentiment. If Soyinka can do it, where is everyone else?

3:43 pm, November 10, 2005  
Anonymous Onyeka Nwelue said...

My dear Achebe Enthusiasts,

Achebe is only in the world Alice is...thank God that if you go to his Anambra hometown, and ask the women (illiterates) and little children, who Achebe is, they will reply with an incongrous question:

'Is it that man that rides jeep?'

He must know that he is deceving himself with been on wheel-chair. Let him remember that he is under the bond of those he castigated in Things Fall Apart.

Fiction? There is nothing like fiction in that. Achebe spoke his mind through Okonkwo and the people of Umuofia. Ehn! So if he dies there, would he want a rebelious chord upon his nostrils...forget about that...

Return home Achebe! You talk about indigenous writing while you live under the cascades of the beauties of those clowns who are hostile to the aspirations of Blacks.

Infact, if you want, remain in USA, but the only thing i know is that some people say that WOLE SOYINKA wrote THINGS FALL APART, and if you doubt me, ask Niyi Osundare...

It is very bad! Some writers are big cowards and hypocrites, because do not do what they write...

Lota n'ulo Achebe, o dikwa njo (Return home Achebe, it is bad).

1:12 pm, November 18, 2005  

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