Condolences to Achebe family

The Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory has sent its condolences to the family of renowned author and thinker Chinua Achebe, who died in the United States.

Achebe, working as a professor at Brown University, died yesterday at the age of 82.

Centre spokesman Sello Hatang said today that Achebe was “a great African writer and thinker”.

“Nelson Mandela referred to professor Achebe as a writer ‘in whose company the prison walls fell down’.”

Achebe’s most well-known work was the critically acclaimed “Things Fall Apart”. Published in 1958, the book has sold several million copies around the world and is considered one of the finest pieces of English African literature ever written.

“I have learnt with great sadness of the passing of this colossus of African writing,” President Jacob Zuma said in a statement.

Zuma acknowledged the novel’s impact on people on the continent.

“It was in his famous novel ‘Things Fall Apart’ that many Africans saw themselves in literature and arts, at the time when most of the writing was about Africans, but not by Africans,” he said.

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