Literary icon, Chinua Achebe to be buried today

BY: Arku Jasmine

Renowned Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, who died in March, is due to be buried in his home town in Anambra state.

Mr Achebe's body arrived back in Nigeria on Wednesday from the US. The author died in Boston at the age of 82 following a brief illness.

Relatives and officials were at Enugu airport in southern Nigeria as the coffin was lowered from the plane.

Mr Achebe is widely regarded as the founding father of African literature in English.

His 1958 debut novel, Things Fall Apart, which dealt with the impact of colonialism in Africa, has sold more than 10 million copies.

The writer and academic went on to write more than 20 works - some fiercely critical of politicians and what he described as a failure of leadership in Nigeria.

He had been living in the US since 1990 after a car crash left him partially paralysed and in a wheelchair, returning to Nigeria infrequently.

Cultural groups performed outside Enugu airport as the plane carrying Mr Achebe's body arrived.

The BBC's Will Ross in Enugu says that although people are mourning, the life of the influential Nigerian writer is also being celebrated.

Mr Achebe's body is due to be buried near his family's home in Ogidi, a small town in the hills of Anambra state, later on Thursday.

Quick read about Chinua Achebe

  • Born in 1930, 30 years before Nigeria's independence
  • First novel Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, has sold 10 million copies
  • Wrote about the effects of colonialism and corruption
  • Nelson Mandela called him "the writer in whose company the prison walls came down"
  • Involved in a road accident in 1990 which left him partially paralysed
  • Refused Nigerian honours

Source: BBC