Chinua Achebe was one of Africa’s best-known novelists and founding fathers of African fiction. His creation of a hybrid that combined oral and literary modes, and his refashioning of the English language to convey Igbo voices and concepts, established a model and an inspiration for other novelists throughout the African continent
Chinua Achebe was an eminent Nigerian poet, critic, professor and novelist. He shot to fame with his first novel titled, ‘Things Fall Apart’, which is still widely read and is the most sought after book in modern African literature. In 2007, he won the ‘Man Booker International Prize’. He was an excellent student and earned a scholarship to study medicine, but he swapped medicine with English literature at the university. Some of his well-known works include, ‘A Man of The People’, ‘No Longer At Ease’, ‘Anthills Of The Savannah’ and ‘Arrow Of God’. We have compiled some well-known and quotable quotes and sayings by one of Africa’s foremost novelists which he expressed through his writings, poetry, novels, books, thoughts, lectures, essays, short-stories, folk stories and life. Read through the collection of thoughts and quotations by Chinua Achebe that will give you a glimpse of Igbo society, clash of western and traditional African values and the effect of Christian influences.
Here are some of Achebe’s sayings, most of which were relayed in his books.
1. ”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 things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”— Things Fall Apart, 1958.
2. ”When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.”— Arrow of God, 1964.
3. ”Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings.”— Things Fall Apart, 1958.
4. ”Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”— Paris Review, 1994.
5. ”Writers don’t give prescriptions. They give headaches!”— Anthills of the Savannah, 1987.
6. ”When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.”
7. ”The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.”
8. “The impatient idealist says: ‘Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth.’ But such a place does not exist. We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace.”— No Longer at Ease, 1960.
9. “It is against our custom, It is an abomination for a man to take his own life. It is an offense against the Earth, and a man who commits it will not be buried by his clansmen. His body is evil, and only strangers may touch it.”— Things Fall Apart, 1958.
10. “My son even if you want to fall, at least fall where your bones can be gathered.”— Arrow of God, 1964.
11. “Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then know that something is after its life.”— Things Fall Apart, 1958.
12. “The man who brings home ant-infested firewood should not complain when lizards start to visit.”— Arrow of God, 1964.
13. “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”
Which one is your favourite of all the sayings? Let us know in the comment box below.