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Our Iroko Is Gone (A Tribute to Chinua Achebe)
I hear mournful wails from far and wide.
No! Wailing is all around me. It reverberates from everything.
Or is it echo?
Birds, dogs, fowls. Everything cries.
And the heaven?The sky is wearing a mourning garment.
The dark, glamour-lacking colour people wear on funerals.
And suddenly, the heaven starts shedding tears.
How great is the downpour.
I run across the yard to Grandma’s hut.
She always has answers to all my worries.
She too is in tears.
“Mama, What’s happening?” I inquire.
“Achebe, the great Chinua is gone”
“Who is Achebe?”
She beckons to a side-stool, I sit to learn.
“Achebe is the Iroko of Africa,
The giant who tore into shreds the Whiteman’s false depiction of our people.
He opened Africa to the world.
He shone the light of knowledge, and the world followed.
He opposed colonialism, racism, corruption and oppression.
He stood tall above his peers, while sitting on a wheelchair.
He stood on the part of truth, honesty and integrity.
He was hated, of course. Why won’t he be?
My father says, a man with no enemy, has done nothing worthy.
He was like Jesus Christ, Prophet Mohammed.
Those people who change world thinking with radical philosophies and ideas.
People whom generations offer their lives to continue their legacies”
“Oh! I’m dead”. Grandma sobs, uncontrollably.
And then I wake from my sleep. What a terrible dream?
But reality dawns on me. Chinua is gone.
Rest in peace, our Iroko.