Joyce Ashuntantang

  • Joyce Ashuntantang

    Batuo's World Captures my world (including the unseen corners) in whatever way suits my imagination!

« | Main | Excerpts of My Video Interview with the Legendary Chinua Achebe »

March 25, 2013


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Doreen Fonju

A brilliant tribute Dr Ash!

You just pulled me back into the world world of Okonkwo. I grew up with Achebe's novels, reading my father's copies, studied them in secondary and high school and university literature and went back for more in my research on African Cinema for my MA.

I have been nostalgic about all those African masterpieces published by Heinemann and rebuilding my collection. It goes without saying, "Things Fall Apart" was top on my list. And I'll be reading it again, as a tribute the the great man; and for more inspiration.

His legacy lives on...

Thank you Dr J. Ashuntangtang, your write ups always inspire me. Well done!

Edlyne Anugwom

Good piece. As an Igbo I can easily relate to the realities of the Achebe novels. They are the stories of generations of a peculiar group that have confronted diverse challenges from the 'outsider' in order to survive. The stories, including the macabre death of Okonkwo and the much criticised story of Biafra are testimonies to the undaunting and resilient spirit of the African. Achebe was a literary icon and master story teller. I only hope and pray that the Nobel Prize committee would eventually overcome its insularity and esoterism and redress an injustice many people cannot still fathom. Anyhow, Omenka has gone to join the reverred league of the ancestors from where his light would continue to guide us.

John Dinga

China Achebe has a powerful message for contemporary Africa at all levels. Like the famous historian, John Kenneth Galbraith, he is urging Africans to prepare for change, or else get swept away by it. Whether we like it or not, change is shaking the foundation of Africa and those who ultimately survive will be those adapting to change in all its ramifications, not those who spend disproportionate amounts of time and energy denouncing colonial education, colonial administration and colonial everything for the continent's stagnation and in some cases, retrogradation.

Education is an on-going business because we learn every single day. But when certain persons see their First School Leaving Certificates(FSLC), General Certificate of Education (GCE) or higher diplomas as the end of learning, that spells doom. Chinua Achebe reminds us to embrace the new and keep adjusting with time. And those obsessed with African languages are reminded that a good message can be conveyed in any language.

 Dr. Menten-Alim Kumbongsi

Prof. Ashuntangtang,

In your interview with Prof. Chinua Achebe the intellect of the man is very telling especially his clever answers to your questions one of which touched on the Cameroon Anglophone, erstwhile Southern Cameroons, situation viz-a-viz the Northern Cameroons joining the Federation of Nigeria and the South joining the French Republic of Cameroon.
A very enlightening interview.

HRH M-A Kumbongsi II, Ph.D.

Frank Garriba

In his determination to correct Africa's image twisted, distorted and battered by cynical western writers, and to have African leaders pay attention to the dignity of their people by ensuring equity in their leadership, Chinua Achebe made as many friends as he did foes both on the black continent and in the west.
Yet, friends or foes, he was never deterred in his resolve in leaving a better Africa before quitting the scene. So stoic was the 'Master Artist' (as Dr J. Ash calls him) that he rejected national honours from successive Nigerian leaders, the last being shortly before his demise late last year.
Achebe carried his oratory, humour, mastery of the Queen's Language, grasp of Igbo proverbs, charisma, and much more to wherever he went. Since coming down to the beautiful city of Abuja in 2008, I have had rare opportunity to meet him at conferences where he always held his listeners spell-bound with his enchanting speeches, usually talking coherently for hours on end without prepared scripts. On countless occasions, his interlocutors have had to weep either for joy or sorrow, except some of his detractors who had to quit the events before time because their consciences took them hostage.
As captured by Dr Ash, reading Achebe's works as a young college boy still struggling to make a difference between Literature and mere story-telling, I most often did not read beyond the characters and the humour they carried. As I advanced to high school and then to the university, I began to see even myself in Achebe's novels. I began to see Okonkwo and Ikemefuna as Africa in the hands of the whites and not just the negative aspect of African traditions and cultures. The laughter that used to feel my mouth gave way to tears; then it dawned on me that Achebe was not writing to amuse his readers but to chronicle the need for change in Africa.
Now, he has breathed his last, but the one billion dollar question on the lips of his admirers is whether he saw that change take place in Africa or whether it will happen before Christ's return. This is because one of Achebe's major concern was genuine democracy. He frowned at political leaders rigging election to cling to power like caterpillars to green leaves. But some critics will ask what his writings meant to people like Cameroon's President Paul Biya, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and others. Did these leaders read him at all or they did and just ignored him as a babbler?
Dr Joyce Ashuntantang should continue from where Master Artist left the fight, having had the unique opportunity to be blessed by the man. Doc, I envy you for receiving the blessing of a man the world will not cease to mourn. More grease for the wonderful piece.
Prince JF Garriba,
Abuja, Nigeria
GSM: +2348063226877
Skype: frank.garriba

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