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Monday, May 19, 2014

Chinua Achebe

"Art is man's constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him."

Nigerian Novelist/Poet
1930 - 2013

Through our painting and writing we have an opportunity to recreate the world as we want it to be.  We have the ability and the opportunity to alter reality.  The world into which we are born can be changed.  We can change our story by retelling it in new ways.  Have you changed your story?  Have you altered the reality in which you live?  Or are you caught up in facts as reality?  The more you can alter and change reality, the better artist you will become.

Chinua Achebe was born Albert Chinualumogu Achebe in the Igbo village of Ogidi in southeastern Nigeria.  Chinualumogu means "May God fight on my behalf."  His parents, Isaiah Okafo Achebe and Janet Anaenechi Iloegbunam Achebe stood at the crossroads of traditional Igbo culture and Christian culture.  His father and mother converted to Protestantism.  

Achebe's mother and sister told him many stories as a child which is a Igbo tradition.  He entered St. Philip's Central school when he was six.  He also attended Sunday school every week.  When he was twelve he moved away from his family and his village to attend the Central school where his older brother taught.  At fourteen, he entered secondary school and completed it in four years instead of the normal five.

In 1948, Achebe entered Nigeria's first university and studied English, history and theology. After his college studies, Achebe found work writing scripts for oral delivery at the Nigerian Broadcasting Service, a radio network, in the city of Lagos.  

Achebe's first and most famous novel, Things Fall Apart, was published in 1958. The novel has sold over 8 million copies and has been translated into 50 languages.

Here is a video of Chinua Achebe discussing Africa after 50 years after writing and publishing Things Fall Apart.