70 Powerful Chinua Achebe Quotes
Ogidi, Nigeria Protectorate
Chinua Achebe was an eminent Nigerian poet, critic, professor and novelist. He shot to fame with his first novel titled, ‘Things Fall Apart’, which is still widely read and is the most sought after book in modern African literature. In 2007, he won the ‘Man Booker International Prize’. He was an excellent student and earned a scholarship to study medicine, but he swapped medicine with English literature at the university. Some of his well-known works include, ‘A Man of The People’, ‘No Longer At Ease’, ‘Anthills Of The Savannah’ and ‘Arrow Of God’. We have compiled some well-known and quotable quotes and sayings by one of Africa’s foremost novelists which he expressed through his writings, poetry, novels, books, thoughts, lectures, essays, short-stories, folk stories and life. Read through the collection of thoughts and quotations by Chinua Achebe that will give you a glimpse of Igbo society, clash of western and traditional African values and the effect of Christian influences.
If you don't like someone's story, write your own. The world is like a Mask dancing. If you want to see it well, you do not stand in one place. While we do our good works let us not forget that the real solution lies in a world in which charity will have become unnecessary. Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am - and what I need - is something I have to find out myself. There is no story that is not true, [...] The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others. To me, being an intellectual doesn't mean knowing about intellectual issues; it means taking pleasure in them. Charity . . . is the opium of the privileged. If I hold her hand she says, ‘Don’t touch!’
If I hold her foot she says ‘Don’t touch!’
But when I hold her waist-beads she pretends not to know. There is no story that is not true. One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised. When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool. When the moon is shining the cripple becomes hungry for a walk If you don't like my story,write your own Nobody can teach me who I am. Age was respected among his people, but achievement was revered. As the elders said, if a child washed his hands he could eat with kings. People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories. Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten. ...when we are comfortable and inattentive, we run the risk of committing grave injustices absentmindedly. Privilege, you see, is one of the great adversaries of the imagination; it spreads a thick layer of adipose tissue over our sensitivity. When Suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat left for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool. Writers don't give prescriptions. They give headaches! It always surprised him when he thought of it later that he did not sink under the load of despair. A child cannot pay for its mother’s milk. It is the storyteller who makes us what we are, who creates history. The storyteller creates the memory that the survivors must have - otherwise their surviving would have no meaning. You do not know me,’ said Tortoise. ‘I am a changed man. I have learned that a man who makes trouble for others makes trouble for himself. The world has no end, and what is good among one people is an abomination with others. Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. The impatient idealist says: 'Give me a place to stand and I shall move the earth.' But such a place does not exist. We all have to stand on the earth itself and go with her at her pace. At the most one could say that his chi or ... personal god was good. But the Ibo people have a proverb that when a man says yes his chi says yes also. Okonkwo said yes very strongly; so his chi agreed. There is a moral obligation, I think, not to ally oneself with power against the powerless. A man who pays respect to the great paves the way for his own greatness Every generation must recognize and embrace the task it is peculiarly designed by history and by providence to perform. People from different parts of the world can respond to the same story if it says something to them about their own history and their own experience. Women and music should not be dated. For whom is it well, for whom is it well?
There is no one for whom it is well. An old woman is always uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a proverb Procrastination is a lazy man's apology. In my definition I am a protest writer, with restraint. That we are surrounded by deep mysteries is known to all but the incurably ignorant. There was a saying in Umuofia that as a man danced so the drums were beaten for him. Eneke the bird says that since men have learned to shoot without missing, he has learned to fly without perching. A toad does not run in the daytime for nothing Those whose kernels were cracked by benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble. When a coward sees a man he can beat he becomes hungry for a fight. He saw himself and his fathers crowding round their ancestral shrine waiting in vain for worship and sacrifice and finding nothing but ashes of bygone days.. When mother-cow is chewing grass its young ones watch its mouth As our fathers said, you can tell a ripe corn by its look. It is the story that owns and directs us. It is the thing that makes us different from cattle; it is the mark on the face that sets one people apart from their neighbors. When a man is at peace with his gods and ancestors, his harvest will be good or bad according to the strength of his arm. ...stories are not always innocent;...they can be used to put you in the wrong crowd, in the party of the man who has come to dispossess you. And theories are no more than fictions which help us to make sense of experience and which are subject to disconfirmation when their explanations are no longer adequate. A child cannot pay for its mother's milk The sun will shine on those who stand, before it shines on those who kneel under them. The air, which had been stretched taut with excitement, relaxed again. To show affection was a sign of weakness; the only thing worth demonstrating was strength. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart. No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man. Fortunately, among these people a man was judged according to his worth and not according to the worth of his father. The fly that no one to advise it follows the corpse into the grave. Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten Villages that their leaders came together to save themselves. At the end of the thirty-month war Biafra was a vast smoldering rubble. The head count at the end of the war was perhaps three million dead, which was approximately 20 percent of the entire population.
I am Fire-that-burns-without-faggots.
I do not know how to thank you.'
'I can tell you,' said Obierika. 'Kill one of your sons for me.'
'That will not be enough,' said Okonkwo.
'Then kill yourself,' said Obierika.
Onye nkuzi ewelu itali piagbusie umuaka. One of the ways an emphasis is laid in Ibo is by exaggeration, so that the teacher in the refrain might not actually have flogged the children to death.
He who brings kola brings life. Wisdom is like a goatskin bag; every man carries his own.