Chinua Achebe Tribute: Gone, But Not Entirely
The dirge: Gone, But Not Entirely, is a poem written by Isaac Otidi Amuke mourning the passing on Chinua Achebe (16th November 1930-21st March 2013). The literary legend and critic born in Ogidi, Nigeria and author of favorites: Things Fall Apart (1958), No Longer at Ease (1960), Arrow of God (1964), A Man of the People (1966) and Anthills of the Savannah (1987).
The corner tree fallen,
Gone with its domineering shed,
Elders gathered around the fire,
Conversing in low tones,
Tomorrow morning birds,
Shall gather and sing dirges in unison,
The wind shall blow weakly,
Nature sending its commiseration,
The three legged stool,
Remaining gapingly unoccupied,
The youngest wife devastated,
Evening chit chat broken forever,
Gone, but not entirely,
Hovering over the market place,
Amongst proud ancestors,
Keeping unending watch over the clan.
Rest In Peace Professor Chinua Achebe.
Not to devalue the poignant fate of African characters in the collection of Chinua Achebe novels listed above, nor their anthropological value, the controversial essay “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” to us remains the third leg in the three legged stool referenced in the poem.
This essay is a blatant show of Chinua Achebe’s critical mind. This is because “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness ” is devoid of such fillers and sweeteners- like narration- that make novels, novels. Thanks to this brute straight-to-the-point-no-love-lost tone, we humbly propose that this essay be considered seminal text in the study of north-south relations. Disciplines like collaborative health research ethics, even if just for historical value, could benefit from this Chinua Achebe masterpiece.
Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has described Things Fall Apart as “the first novel in English which spoke from the interior of the African character, rather than portraying the African as an exotic, as the white man would see him.” The same could be said for the essay, especially in it’s potential value in reconciliation of African world view and other world views.