Friday, March 22, 2013

RIP Chinua Achebe

Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe has died at 82. I admired Things Fall Apart and No Longer At Ease, his first two novels, dealing with the impact of colonialism on African life. His essay on Conrad's Heart of Darkness also has been important to me, sometimes coming up in surprising ways (it informed my asking Charles Mudede, as mentioned recently, about the "heart of whiteness" his African cop character finds himself in Seattle in the film Police Beat; further, when Peter Jackson's King Kong quotes from Heart of Darkness and thus brings a highly problematic racial element in the King Kong story to the fore, I believe I actually quoted from Achebe's article in reviewing the film - or perhaps just referenced it...). It's been awhile since I've read Achebe but he definitely shaped my awareness of how Africa is represented in popular culture, and how European colonialism looked from an African point of view... An important writer has been lost...

No comments: