36 Incredible Chinua Achebe Quotes

36 Incredible Chinua Achebe Quotes

by / Comments Off / 92 View / Jan 7, 2015

Chinua Achebe was a professor, poet, and writer from Nigeria. He is most famous for his novel Things Fall Apart, which has become the most read book in African Literature. He later went on to become the Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University. He died on March 21, 2013 at the age of 82.

“A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy educated, participatory followership, and an educated, morally grounded leadership.”

“A man to whom you do a favor will not understand if you say nothing, make no noise, just walk away. You may cause more trouble by refusing a bribe than by accepting it.”

“A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself.”

“After such treatment it would think twice before coming again, unless it was one of the stubborn ones who returned, carrying the stamp of their mutilation–a missing finger or perhaps a
dark line where the medicine man’s razor had cut them.”

“And when, as on that day, nine of the greatest masked spirits in the clan came out together it was a terrifying spectacle.”

“Art is man’s constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.”

“Democracy is not something you put away for ten years, and then in the 11th year you wake up and start practicing again. We have to begin to learn to rule ourselves again.”

“Even the village rain-maker no longer claimed to be able to intervene. He could not stop the rain now, just as he would not attempt to start it in the heart of the dry season, without
serious danger to his own health.”

“I don’t care about age very much.”

“I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side.
“He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry.”

“I think back to the old people I knew when I was growing up, and they always seemed larger than life.”

“If one finger brings oil it soils the others.”

“If the clan did not exact punishment for an offense against the great goddess, her wrath was loosed on all the land and not just on the offender. As the elders said, if one finger brought
oil it soiled all the others.”

“Nigerians are what they are because their leaders are not what they should be.”

“Okonkwo was popularly called the “Roaring Flame.” As he looked into the log fire he recalled the name. He was a flaming fire. How then could he have begotten a son like Nwoye, degenerate
and effeminate?”

“Once you allow yourself to identify with the people in a story, then you might begin to see yourself in that story even if on the surface it’s far removed from your situation.”

“One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.”

“People from different parts of the world can respond to the same story if it says something to them about their own history and their own experience.”

“People go to Africa and confirm what they already have in their heads and so they fail to see what is there in front of them. This is what people have come to expect. It’s not viewed as a
serious continent. It’s a place of strange, bizarre and illogical things, where people don’t do what common sense demands.”

“People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that’s the time to do something about it, not when it’s around your neck.”

“Presidents do not go off on leave without telling the country.”

“Real tragedy is never resolved. It goes on hopelessly forever. Conventional tragedy is too easy. The hero dies and we feel a purging of the emotions.”

“Stories serve the purpose of consolidating whatever gains people or their leaders have made or imagine they have made in their existing journey thorough the world.”

“The damage done in one year can sometimes take ten or twenty years to repair.”

“The land of the living was not far removed from the domain of the ancestors. There was coming and going between them, especially at festivals and also when an old man died, because an old
man was very close to the ancestors. A man’s life from birth to death was a series of transition rites which brought him nearer and nearer to his ancestors.”

“The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.”

“The sun will shine on those who stand before it shines on those who kneel under them.”

“The white man is very clever. He came quietly with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like
one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.”

“There’s no lack of writers writing novels in America, about America. Therefore, it seems to me it would be wasteful for me to add to that huge number of people writing here when there are
so few people writing about somewhere else.”

“They have not always elected the best leaders, particularly after a long period in which they have not used this facility of free election. You tend to lose the habit.”

“We shall all live. We pray for life, children, a good harvest and happiness. You will have what is good for you and I will have what is good for me. Let the kite perch and let the egret
perch too. If one says no to the other, let his wing break.”

“When did you become a shivering old woman, Okonkwo asked himself, “you, who are known in all the nine villages for your valor in war? How can a man who has killed five men in battle fall to
pieces because he has added a boy to their number? Okonkwo, you have become a woman indeed.”

“When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.”

“When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.”

“When there is a big tree small ones climb on its back to reach the sun.”

“Whenever you see a toad jumping in broad daylight, then know that something is after its life.”