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The reception would have done justice to royalty or a movie star when Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe paid a rare visit to his homeland recently, some 50 years after penning his book “Things Fall Apart”.
That book has a firm place on school syllabuses in much of Africa and is studied around the world. Achebe, now 79, has been acclaimed as the father of modern African literature and as the continent’s greatest living writer – his books being very accessible as well as giving a penetrating insight into the struggles of his people.
Achebe’s Igbo community in southeastern Nigeria wanted to mark his homecoming in style and Reuters Television’s Africa Journal programme was there to follow it.
Achebe delighted people with readings from his classic novel, which has sold more than 10 million copies and tells the story of Okonkwo, who finds himself and his traditions pitted against newly arrived British colonialists in the 19th century.