MANASSEH'S CROSS: Chigozie and Achebe both existed.

Mrs Ceda Ankra


Even those who don't know me well know that I love borborbor music. And anyone who knows me well enough knows that my admiration for Chinua Achebe is almost enough to make the "jealous" Old Man above jealous.

In secondary school, I came across Achebe. My Ghanaian students who took the West African Secondary School Certificate Examination in 2004 were tested on two books related to our fundamental English literature course. The Marriage of Anansewa, a play by Efua T. Sutherland, was read to us. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe won for prose.

Things Fall Apart was more than just a book when I was in Krachi Secondary School. It was a being that was present among and within the students. It was present in the classroom, dorm, and dining hall with us. We had the lazy ones to remind us of Okonkwo's father, Unoka, when we mowed grass or did any hard work.

That book's profound proverbs and expressions were a part of our boarding life's everyday chants and banter.

A teacher of English Language who misspoke "Okwonka" rather than "Okonkwo" regretted ever teaching the subject. Back in the dorm and out of teachers' earshot, the year group in front of us in the class where the teacher had slipped up had different versions of the slip, which they attributed to the teacher. It frequently started with one person yelling "Okwonka!" and that would set off a series of responses like "Olonka!" and " Ofwonlo" or whatever had sufficient sound to rhyme with any piece of the name of the clever's hero.

Some of us believed that the teacher's request for and acceptance of a transfer to Kadjebi Asato Secondary School was influenced in part by the excessive teasing, which resulted in the school only having one effective English Language teacher.

After school, I never lost interest in Achebe. It spread. Achebe was the one who baptized me with the Holy Spirit, if my reading habits and passion for literature could be compared to being born a Christian.

I read anything Achebe wrote that I came across. At a point, he was one of three characters I frantically needed to meet one day. Jesus Christ and Nelson Mandela were the other two. I missed the two who passed on in the course of my life.)

Achebe introduced literature to my young mind in more ways than one. I received a perception and a positive prejudice about Nigerians from him and others.

Chinua Achebe vs. Wole Soyinka: Which Author's Books Would You Choose to Read or Who Writes Better? » Both Naijaloaded Achebe (left) and Wole Soyinka are regarded as significant figures in African literature. Nijaloaded Nigerian writers like Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Elechi Amadi, Chukwuemeka Ike, Ola Rotimi, and Buchi Emecheta were my first encounter with the nation. During those early years, Nigerians held a higher regard for me than Ghanaians did. However, after speaking with their politicians, I learned that Nigeria, which is frequently referred to as the "sleeping giant" of Africa, is in fact a bloated beast that has been amputated by corruption, poor governance, and all of the self-inflicted ailments that excessive greed can cause in an otherwise prosperous and talented population—a monumental failure.

However, this discovery has not diminished my admiration for Nigerian writers. Furthermore, everything started with one man — Chinua Achebe — the name that is important for my own email addresses.

Achebe is regarded as the founder of African literature. Additionally, as one of his most ardent devotees, I would have considered it sacrilegious if any African author had been placed above Achebe. However, at some point, I said something that astonished my associates at The Media.

I told them about a writer whose second book I had read, and I said that I had seen signs of someone who seemed to be better than Achebe.

It was one of the hardest things I've ever said because I was Achebe's "idolator." But that's how I felt after reading Chigozie Obioma's An Orchestra of Minorities.

I was sedated by the author's bold style, enchanted by his depth, and captivated by his writing's pure beauty.

First-person narrative is used in An Orchestra of Minorities, but the main character's chi, or guardian spirit, is the one who tells the story about its host instead of the main character. That spirit, which has the advantage of reincarnation, creates a dramatic irony that helps the reader appreciate Nonso's struggles through the maze of issues he faces and establishes a deeper, more intimate connection with the protagonist.

The Fishermen, his first book, is a moving family drama about two siblings whose love turns to hate after a gloomy prediction from a madman.

I won't say that I'm an expert reader or reader of literature, but I've learned that there are two kinds of good writers. The kind of skills that would set a stadium ablaze with tumultuous ululations are used by some writers to create plots with the twists and turns of Ronaldinho or Messi.

Another group of writers can be compared to midfield giants like Zinedine Zidane, whose movements are so subtle that they serve as classic case studies of game maturity. This group includes Chigozie Obioma, whose first and second books were both considered for the Booker Prize's shortlist.

I had come to appreciate the works of the appropriate replacements for the first generation of African writers like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Teju Cole after reading their works. Since then, I've heard some of these writers called Achebe's heirs. However, after reading An Orchestra of Minorities, I tend to agree with the New York Times that "Chigozie Obioma truly is the heir to ­Chinua Achebe," as stated in the article.

Chigozie, who won The Booker Prize for a book he wrote in his 20s, later told the Nigerian Daily Trust newspaper that the comparison to Achebe made him feel "somewhat embarrassed."

Review of English Kills 2022: Chigozie Obioma, 36, has joined the ranks of famous authors. Credit: The English Kills Review states, "Achebe was a glorious writer who helped shape the current form of African fiction." Moreover, through his African Writers' Series, he assisted in the creation of numerous authors. It's pretty daring, at least for a first book, for anyone to pretend to be wearing his garment, he said.

When I was reading An Orchestra of Minorities, I did not attribute the author's style's depth or audacity to someone who was born in 1986. When I went online to learn more about Chigozie, that may have increased my admiration for him. I became more optimistic about the future of African literature as I learned more about this author.

Chigozie Obioma divides his time between the United States and Nigeria as the James E. Ryan Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The Fishermen (2015) and An Orchestra of Minorities (2019), both of his works, were considered for the Booker Prize's shortlist. More than 29 languages have been used to translate his books.

They have been nominated for numerous other awards and have won the inaugural FT/Oppenheimer Award for Fiction, the NAACP Image Award, the Internationaler Literaturpreis, and the LA Times Book Prize. Gbolahan Obisesan adapted The Fishermen into an award-winning stage play that ran in the UK and South Africa from 2018 to 2019.

In 2021, Chigozie Obioma was a Booker Prize judge.

He was included in Foreign Policy's 2015 list of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers.

It would appear that human civilization has advanced beyond the wildest fantasies of some of the greatest dreamers who ever lived. However, some things may never change, like respect for the elderly. Many people will be offended if you make the comparison between the capabilities of a young man and those of an old, successful pioneer. 

In any case, the chick that would develop into a rooster, our savvy seniors say, can be recognized the very day it is brought forth. Chigozie has spared the seasoned poultry farmer the effort of determining whether the hatched egg would develop into a cock with his first two works. He was brought forth a rooster.

Although Chigozie Obioma is currently working on his third novel, one can confidently assert that the flame of authentic African literature remains unquenchable in the face of authors like him.

Furthermore, we who grieved the indispensable loss of the goliath Achebe are console by the way that there is Chigozie.


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