We received the news of the passing of Prof Chinua Achebe with a sense of profound loss. Yes, he was 82 years old and by any measure not too young to die. But Achebe had for so long been a part of our lives that the thought of his death has an unreal quality.
Additionally, having known him and his wonderful wife, Aunty Christy since I was a teenager, there is, for me, a very personal feeling to this loss.
But the good news is that though he is gone, Achebe is very much alive. He is alive in his works and in his words and in his ideas. Certainly his idea that African culture has intrinsic value beyond anthropological voyeurism is very much alive. That is why his great intellect lives on and the man will never die!
For me and countless others, he was a personal inspiration and indeed a hero. That is why my co-author, Tijan Sallah and I wrote the biography of Achebe for young adults called “Teacher of Light” to capture the essential Achebe for our young people.
Professor Chinua started life as a man, but ended it as a MOVEMENT – a movement for African literature, good governance and the dignity of man.
We extend our condolences to the entire Achebe family at this difficult time. May the Almighty comfort them and all of us at this difficult time.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance.