The man considered by many as the father of modern African literature, Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe, has died in Boston aged 82.
His breakthrough novel, “Things Fall Apart” published in 1958, was the first novel pitched at an international readership to deal with European colonialism from an African viewpoint. He was the favourite author of, among others, Nelson Mandela, who once said that to read his work was enough “to bring down prison walls”. It is the most widely-read book in the African canon.
After lambasting British imperialism Achebe turned his critical eye on post-colonial Nigeria, attacking military dictatorships and corrupt politicians, and coining the term “kleptocracy” to describe their regimes.
In a wheelchair since a car accident in 1990 restricted his writing output, Chinua Achebe lived in America in the latter part of his life, and was a professor at Brown University until his death.