Filed in EDUCATION NEWS by on March 22, 2013 0 Comments

Professor Chinua Achebe, the author of the most widely read book in African literature (Things Fall Apart), is dead. Professor Achebe died last night March 21 in a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. The great icon die at 82 years old.

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Below are his words on agate.

After a war life catches desperately at passing/hints of normality like vines entwining a hollow/twig; its famished roots close on rubble and/every piece of broken glass.” – a poem from the 2012 memoir “There Was a Country.”

“Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” – Chinua Achebe .

“You cannot plant greatness as you plant yams or maize. Who ever planted an Iroko tree – thegreatest in the forest? You may collect all the Iroko seeds in theworld, open the soil and put them there. it will be in vain. The great tree chooses where to grow and we find it there…so it is with greatness in men.”

“We cannot trample upon the humanity of others without devaluing our own. The Igbo, always practically put it concretely in their proverb Onyeji onye n’ani ji onwe ya: “He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in the mud to keep him down.”

– Chinua Achebe, The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays
“Let no one be fooled by the fact that we may write in English, for we intend to do unheard of things with it.”– Chinua Achebe

Writers ask me, ‘Is it good to shoot my manuscript to other people to get their advice?’ My answer is, ‘No!’ You are in it for the duration – don’t expect any kind of lowering of the terms ofimprisonment that you’re goingto have. You are your own editor, and so it’s yours.

“The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay.
Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like one. He has put a knife on the thingsthat held us together and we have fallen apart’’…In Things Fall Apart (1958)..

“If you want to eat a toad you look for a fat and juicy one.”

“An only palm fruit does not getlost in the fire.”

“A man who lives on the banks of the Niger (river) should not wash his hands in spittle.”

“A man does not challenge his Chi to a wrestling match.”

“When a new saying gets to theland of empty men, they lose their heads over it.”

“The eye is not harmed by sleep.”

“We do not want to be like the unfortunate child who grows his first tooth and grows a damaged one.”

“He who has people is richer than he who has money. “

“Shall we kill a snake and carry it in our hand when we have a bag for putting things in ?”

“If a man returns from a long journey and no one says nno (welcome) to him, he feels like one who has not arrived.”

“A debt may get moldy but it never rots.”

“The most horrible sight in the world cannot put out the eye.”

“The sun will shine on those who stand, before it shines on those who kneel under them.”

“If a child washed his hands, he could eat with kings.”

“When the moon is shining, the cripple becomes hungry for a walk.”

“Let the kite perch and let the eagle perch too – If one says no to the other, let his wing break.”

“An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb.”

“The lizard that jumped from a high Iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no-one else did.”

“Eneke the bird says that since men have learnt to shoot without missing, he has learnt to fly without perching.”

“Those whose palm kernels were cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble.”

“When a person says yes, his Chi (personal god) says yes also.”

“A man that makes trouble for others also makes trouble for himself.”

“If one finger brings oil, it soils all the others.”

“When a man blasphemes whatdo we do? Do we go and stop his mouth? No. We put our fingers into our ears to stop us hearing.”

“A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to savethem from starving.”

“As a man danced so the drums were beaten for him.”

“Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then know that something is after itslife.”

“When a handshake goes below the elbow, then know that it has turned into something else.”

“It is praiseworthy to be brave and fearless, but sometimes it is better to be a coward. We often stand in the compound of a coward to point at the ruins where a brave man used to live.”

“The man who has never submitted to anything will soon submit to the burial pit.”

“Wisdom is like a goatskin bag; every man carries his own.”

“An old man is there to talk.”

“ If the lizard of the homestead should neglect to do the things for which its kind is known, it will be mistaken for the lizard of the farmland.”

“When an adult is in the house, the she-goat is not left to sufferthe pains of parturition on its tether.”

“A boy sent by his father to steal does not go stealthily but breaks the door with his feet.”

“When an old woman hears thedance she knows her old age deserts her.”

“It is only when you are close toa man that you can begin to smell his breath.”

“If a blind man does not know his own stick, tell me what else would he know ? “

“If you fail to take away a strong man’s sword when he is on the ground, will you do it when he gets up? “

“A man who avoids danger for years and then gets killed in the end has wasted his care.”

“When a mad man walks naked, it is his kinsmen who feel shame, not himself.”

“A madman may sometimes speak a true word, but you watch him, he will soon add something to it that will tell you his mind is spoilt.”

“A goat does not eat into a hen’s stomach no matter how friendly the two may be.”

“A man of worth never gets up to unsay what he said yesterday.”

“The inquisitive eye will only blind its own sight.”

“A man who does not lick his lips, can he blame the harmattan for drying them ? “

“If we fall back, can we complain that others are rushing forward ?”

“When suffering knocks on yourdoor and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.”

“What a man does not know is greater than he.”

“Only a foolish man can go aftera leopard with his bare hands.”

“In dealing with a man who thinks you are a fool, it is good sometimes to remind him that you know what he knows but have chosen to appear foolish for the sake of peace.”

“A man may refuse to do what is asked of him but he may not refuse to be asked.”

“When we hear a house has fallen do we ask if the ceiling fell with it ?”

“The death that will kill a man begins as an appetite.”

“If a man sought for a companion who acted entirely like himself, he would live in solitude.”

“He is a fool who treats his brother worse than a stranger.”

“The greatest liar among men still speaks the truth to his own son.”

“A boy who tries to wrestle with his father gets blinded by the old man’s loin cloth.”

“A woman who began cooking before another must have morebroken utensils.”

“When we see an old woman stop her dance to point again and again in the same direction, we can be sure that somewhere there something happened long ago which touched the roots of her life.”

“In all great componds there must be people of all minds – some good, some bad, some fearless and some cowardly; those who bring in wealth and those who scatter it, those who give good advice and those who only speak the words of palm wine.

That is why we say that whatever tune you play in the compond of a great man there is always someone to dance to it.”

“When brothers fight to death astranger inherits their father’s estate.”

“The man that brings ant-infested faggots into his hut should not grumble when lizards begin to pay him a visit.”

“A disease that has never been seen before cannot be cured with every-day herbs.”

“No matter how many spirits plot a man’s death, it comes to nothing unless his Chi (personalgod), has a hand in the deliberation.”

“A man who means to buy palmwine does not hang about at home until all the palm wine in the market is sold.”

“If you thank a man for what hehas done he will have strength to do more.”

“The language of young men is pull down and destroy; but an old man speaks of conciliation.”

“It is the fear of offence that makes men swallow poison.”

“A traveler to distant places should make no enemies”

“Travellers with closed minds can tell us little except about themselves”

“A man of sense does not go hunting little bush rodents when his agemates are after big game”

“No man however great is greater than his people”

“Every lizard lies on its belly, so we cannot tell which has a belly-ache”

“‘Heart of Darkness’ projects the image of Africa as ‘the other world,’ the antithesis of Europe and therefore of civilization, a place where a man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality,” from “An Image of Africa,” a 1975 lecture that became a widely printed essay.

“The point of my observations should be quite clear by now, that (‘Heart of Darkness’ author Joseph) Conrad was a bloody racist. That this simple truth is glossed over in criticism of his work is due to the fact white racism against Africa is such a normal way of thinking that its manifestations go completely undetected.” – from “An Image of Africa.”

“She looked at each in turn with a strained smile on her countenance. ‘Truth is beauty, isn’t it? It must be you know to make someone dying in that pain, to make him … smile. He sees it and it is … How can I say it? … It is unbearably, yes unbearably beautiful.’” – from the 1987 novel “Anthills of the Savannah.”

Great and inspirational quote from the legend

May his soul rest in peace.

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