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2008 – Achebe On Africa 50 Years After ‘Things Fall Apart’

In this video from a news clip in 2008, Chinua Achebe [born 1930 – died 2013] discusses his classic book Things Fall Apart 50 years after its publishing. In his interview he speaks to the idea of a “gap in the book shelf” which, even now, another 6 years later is still relevant. 

He also talks about why in his book he made an effort to illustrate pre colonial Africa in “all its grander and in all its weakness”.

He touches on his own religious background and Christianity’s incomplete story.

He is asked about the success of Things Fall Apart and talks about the book’s relatability to people internationally especially other colonized peoples.

Towards the end Achebe makes a statement about the tradition of european’s telling the story of Africa: “The reason for that is not very far from the reason for the slave trade… it is as deep as that, to present a people’s story in such a way as to make them look bad.”

And finally, in this 2008 interview, he ends by saying that an authentic african voice is just being developed.

What do you think of these ideas now? 6 years after this interview…

This entry was posted in: For Readers


I am an activist, author, and teaching artist passionate about anti-racist, anti-sexist, and anti-imperialist education. I started Pens Up Press because I love to read and write and because I believe in the power of our people to liberate ourselves and each other through learning and grassroots activism. In conjunction with Pens Up Press, I manage the Uproar Poetry Group facilitating free creative writing workshops and supporting free open mic events. I live in Harlem with my dear friend Marcus Potts, my fiancee Xi'an Glynn, and my black cat Squeaky.

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