Things Fall Apart: Man worth mourning, unlike some people


As someone who read all of Chinua Achebe’s books, I am greatly moved by his passing. But my writing is just to show how people can treat you when you die based on how you lived.

I have been following the writing and messages of condolences of Achebe from the time he was pronounced dead. Everyone agrees he was a great man. He was not just Nigerian but African.

There are few who can be compared to him. I have read news of presidents dying but such news is often greeted by celebration especially by bloggers on Internet news websites. But I have not seen a single bad message about Achebe. I read the hundreds of messages even here on Watchdog. They are all good messages; messages of empathy. All bloggers agree he was a great person.

This makes me believe that people will treat you the way you live your life. If you are a bad man, People will wish you death. But if you are good man like Achebe and contributed positively to mankind not your belly or family at the expense of the nation, humanity will mourn you with dignity.

But if you are rascal by chance given power, people will curse you to death and wish you death everyday. Your death will be relief to mankind. It is a shameful way to die when people celebrate your death.

What am saying is that, people would wish you death depending on how you behave and live your life and treat fellow man. So if there is someone a lot of people wish could die, just know that the problem is with that the person. He is a bad person. His existence makes other people’s life hell.

Achebe was not just a naturally good writer. He was a liberator and never used his fame to fill his pockets. Corrupt Africa presidents were lining up to honour him while he lived.  But like Nelson Mandela who rejected honours from unclean people, Achebe said  no.

Achebe used his power of words for goodness.

In 1983, he published the immensely popular pamphlet, “The Trouble With Nigeria” which lashed out at Nigeria’s pervasive corruption and labelled the West African nation as “dirty, callous, noisy, ostentatious, dishonest and vulgar. In short it is among the most unpleasant places on earth.” He went further: “The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility,”

In 2004, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo offered him the prestigious honour of ‘Commander of the Federal Republic.’ Achebe turned down the honor. Explaining his reason for rejecting the award, Achebe said in a letter to Obasanjo, “Nigeria’s condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 Honours List.”

In 2011, current Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan also offered him a similar National honor. Achebe turned it down again, explaining that “the reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved.”

Now, here in Zambia, have you seen how some people who claim to be humanists clamour to be honoured by incompetent, sick dictators?

Real honours after all do not come from King’s palaces but is expressed by the smiling approval of the common man.

Let me end by the quote below:

“A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.”
― Chinua AchebeThings Fall Apart

Lumbiwe D.


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