Achebe’s unity call to Black intellectuals – Decolonise your eurocentred minds

 By Thomas L Blair, Chronicleworld

If postcolonial Black authors tend to succumb to the Westernized worldview of “good (and therefore white)” literature, Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe was ready to fight back.

Chinua Achebe, professor and partisan (1930-2013)
Chinua Achebe, professor and partisan (1930-2013)

Achebe repossessed Africa’s history and identity in his first novel Things Fall Apart (1958), probably the most widely read African-authored novel ever. This chilling tale of destruction of an Igbo tribesman and his village at the hands of the British set the tone for his later works.

The roots of this intellectual combatant ran deep. He spoke of decoupling Black intellectuality “from our colonisers”, especially in the realms of academia, research and policymaking.

Achebe delivered this mind-changing message in years of professing at US universities and in London’s lecture halls. Those who profess the arts, literature and even economic development must unite across continents and centuries of separation to serve their respective peoples.

Achebe, the emissary of Black World intellectuality, reinforced his message at Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2005. Talking to diasporan novelist Caryl Phillips he said:

“We need to remember that we are one.” [Whether in Louisiana, Haiti or Africa, blacks are fighting the same battle – against inequality]. Therefore, “black people need to be aware of power. We need to talk together in order to form a powerful base.”

Author: Thomas L Blair ©All rights reserved 25 March 2013

Achebe, London quote:

Achebe Photo, Acknowledgements to The Trumpet Media Group,  In addition, Google images.

Achebe obits appeared in major UK and US newspapers:

And in”I”, the daily briefing newspaper of the Independent, Monday, 25 March 2013, in The Opinion Matrix column, p. 12

To find out more about the trials and triumphs of the postcolonial generation of Black scholars and communities, see my E-book, Thomas L Blair, Decolonising Knowledge – Expanding the Black Experience in Britain’s heritage. Copyright Editions Blair© 2013.

Contents: Why Decolonising Knowledge?; The Black Public intellectual; Black Britain — crucible of transformation and change; Black scholars – mind of the Diaspora; Upgrading Black heritage in national collections; Time for a Decolonising Knowledge agenda; The Thomas L Blair Collection, with Appendices. 134 pages. Complimentary pdf copies are available for useful commentaries, by e-mail to Prof Thomas L Blair at