On Things Fall Apart:
I read Things Fall Apart when I was 11 years old. I had just started preparing to enter the seminary, where I spent 6 years, reading, writing and living. In seminary, my mother, made sure I had every important title from the African Writers’ Series.
Chinua Achebe, John Munonye and Elechi Amadi were my favourite authors from that series, until one day, my mother shared a story with me. She said: “Do you know Flora Nwapa is your aunt?”
Flora Nwapa’s first novel, Efuru was published in 1966. Under that series. Flora Nwapa eventually won my heart. I started thinking about her every day. My mother grew up saying, ‘Uncle Gogo, Uncle Gogo.’ Gogo Nwakuche is Flora Nwapa’s husband. She married him after the death of her first husband, Gogo Nzeribe. I think, back then, many women, had had previous marriage experiences before starting a new one. It was just a month ago, while with the son of Flora Nwapa, Uzoma Nwakuche, that I found out that my own mother had been ‘forced’ to marry a man in Oguta. It did not work out. She married my father, who is almost 16 years older than her. To cut out my mother’s story, she made me realize that I was an incarnate of Flora Nwapa, even being born as a boy. She kept calling me Booker T. Washington. Because of the love I have for Flora Nwapa, I started work on The House of Nwapa, a documentary film celebrating her and discussing issues leading to her death. It will be screened in Harare next week.
I cherished Things Fall Apart until I read Anthills of the Savannah in the semiary. It was a recommended text. After reading Anthills of the Savannah, I carried the book around with me. I worshipped it. So, when I granted an interview to Premium Times and said I don’t, genuinely, think Things Fall Apart is the Great African Novel, a debate that continues, the entire heaven got loose. I think hell opened too. I refused to be consumed. So, you have so many useless people who did not read my interview, coming at me. Some of these bastards have not even read Things Fall Apart, but their great grandfathers told them Things Fall Apart is the best thing that happened to tapioca since it was invented.
I don’t agree with you, so disagreeing with me should not lead to bloodshed. Many people who want to shed blood because they feel I insulted their God, Chinua Achebe, did not see that part where I said I feel Anthills of the Savannah is a beautiful book. Some writer, whose book I have not even read, said he would not take my criticism to the bank. Sorry, but if I thought him to be a serious writer, I would have read his things. Each time I go to the bookshop, I stroll pass his books, because I have never had any interest in his writings. That is the same way I feel towards some of the older idiots who went to the internet to insult themselves. I am not amused.
Back to Things Fall Apart, I have read that book, here, there and I will read it again, but I will maintain my stand that Anthills of the Savannah is a better book. The term, Great African Novel completely discountenances the efforts of other writers from the continent. Nigeria is not Africa. We always make it look like Nigeria is Africa. Not a huge fan of Ngugi wa Thiong’o because of his hypocritical views on Africanism and imperialism, I still find his writing powerfully delivered. There is Amos Tutuola. I am not here to compare and contrast. I am more interested in pushing this debate further. By the way, which is the Great Asian Novel? Or the Great European Novel? Limiting everything to Things Fall Apart is palpably an insult to an entire continent brimming with writers of styles. I will not take it if you said my novels are not great even if they were not. That is why I have forgiven the Fighters of Achebe, but they have nothing on me. As long as they don’t come close to me – knowing fully well that I have a walking stick with a dagger – I am great with their slurs on social media. Those things don’t get to me. I want to end on Things Fall Apart by adding that there are better novels than that lazily cooked up slim novel of childish exuberance.
On Linda Ikeji Media:
Linda Ikeji took me on a tour of her office space in Lekki. Linda is aware that I love beautiful souls. My heart gladdens when people around me prosper. My spirit gets lifted. As we walked through the rooms, she explained things to me. Her life is getting beautiful day by day. She keeps fighting her demons and winning. The things she faces every day, we may never know. Now, in those 22 rooms in that building, Ms Ikeji is going to make the lives of many youths beautiful. She has patterned something for them. She has created jobs that the government wouldn’t, but we will prefer to crucify her and leave Farouk Lawan who should be in jail, languishing. Why Farouk Lawan is not in jail is beyond me. I don’t even understand why we allow idiots like that to rock this world.
I am very proud of her. And what she has become. She works hard. With blogging, Ms Ikeji has created jobs for so many people and made dreams realistic for so many people. She has once again proven that you can be whatever you want to be. I will keep adoring her. I know people will differ on this – people keep talking about how she has damaged lives and how she’s a plagiarist. We have learned to blame others for our failure. We are interested in looking for who is bringing us down. We want to find someone to blame for our misfortune. I don’t see those things. I am easily won over by affection and I am easily charmed by people who understand human predicament. Linda Ikeji has positioned herself atop the affairs of my heart. She won me over with her diligence.
I am not even interested in talking about haters, but from what I have seen, nobody can bring her down. It is not possible that negative vibrations can now get to her. I know her battle. Six years ago, she shut down her office, packed her stuff and went home because she could no longer afford rent. Today, she is renting this space for 11 million per year, because the owner of the property doesn’t want to sell.
She is ready to start a new life in her office, a studio complete with overhead suspended lights, and a tastefully furnished central office splashed generously with colours. Ms Ikeji is set to launch a conglomerate: her radio station and music studio. There is a studio where TV shows will be shot as well. She’s ready! There are 22 rooms in there and I saw all of them!
Dreams come true! I am very proud of Ms Ikeji and I will continue to support her.