Achebe’s Legacy

Chinua Achebe—Africa’s greatest novelist—has died in a hospital near Boston.

When Achebe’s Things Fall Apart was published in 1958, Africa was quite a different continent than it is today. Most countries were on the cusp of independence, waiting—perhaps impatiently, as they had been since the end of World War II—for the day to arrive.  Other than the négritude poets in the Francophone areas, African writing was still in its infancy.  Literacy, rapidly increasing, would virtually explode during the next decade after independence, producing the necessary readers for a viable literary culture.  Economies were growing rapidly in anticipation of self-rule. The middle-class, also undergoing rapid expansion, could afford to buy books and newspapers to quench their thirst for knowledge.  Things Fall Apart burst forth in these contexts, though it would take a decade for its author to begin to gain the fame that would eventually transform him into the continent’s most famous and widely-read writer…


Speak Your Mind