Ayodele Jabbaar

Obituary: Chinua Achebe (1930-2013)

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The death of Chinua Achebe leads Ayodele Jabbar to recall the legacy of literature he left behind

Chinua Achebe, the great pioneer of African writing, died age 82 on 21 March in Boston. Achebe was born Albert Chinualumogu to Christian convert parents in the traditional Igbo village of Ogidi in eastern Nigeria. He always believed this environment fostered his talent for storytelling - as a Christian living among non-Christian relatives and imbibed with traditional Igbo stories from a young age.

There Was A Country

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Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe is one of the most widely read African writers and in this book he describes his account of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war.

The first part describes life up to independence in 1960. Achebe had a happy childhood. We hear tales of his Christian upbringing, the lure of his ethnic Igbo religion which he found more "artistically satisfying" and his education in an elite colonial secondary school which made it possible for him to be part of a "lucky generation" that would form the budding postcolonial elite.

Red Velvet

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Writer Lolita Chakrabarti

At the Tricycle Theatre, London, until 24 November

Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti looks at the prejudices faced by Ira Aldridge (1807-1867), the pioneering African-American actor in 19th century England. It marks a strong debut for Indhu Rubasingham as the Tricycle's new artistic director.


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Director Kevin MacDonald

Release date: out now

Marley is a detailed tribute to the international music icon Bob Marley.

Opening with an African slave embarkation port in Ghana, West Africa, the story chronicles Marley's move from obscure St Ann, to his rise through the Jamaican music charts to become an international reggae superstar, ending with his final weeks in a Bavarian clinic in 1981. The film shows Marley's life in the difficult streets of Trench Town, seeking out a better living among the urban poor, his conversion to Rastafarianism and the breakup of the original Wailers group.

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