Must-Read African Literature: ‘Things Fall Apart’

Thing Fall Apart is Chinua Achebe’s classic, published in 1958. It is the most widely read book in modern African literature, about “Africa’s cataclysmic encounter with Europe as it establishes a colonial presence on the continent. Told through the fictional experiences of Okonkwo, a wealthy and fearless Igbo warrior of Umuofia in the late 1800s, Things Fall Apart explores one man’s futile resistance to the devaluing of his Igbo traditions by British political and religious forces and his despair as his community capitulates to the powerful new order.”

Wikipedia: One critic called the book “a classic study of cross-cultural misunderstanding and the consequences to the rest of humanity, when a belligerent culture or civilization, out of sheer arrogance and ethnocentrism, takes it upon itself to invade another culture, another civilization.”

Achebe, a Nigerian, explained his novel’s popularity: “This was the first time we were seeing ourselves, as autonomous individuals, rather than half-people, or as Conrad would say, ‘rudimentary souls’.”

He was a professor, first at Bard College from 1990 to 2008, and then at Brown University from 2009 to 2013. He was born in 1930 and passed away in 2013.

More interviews with and about AchebeMore interviews with and about Achebe on

Movies Set in Africa Inevitably Shape Our Perception of the Continent

If I’m lucky, I might spend a month of my life in Africa, which is certainly more than most North Americans could ever hope to do, but still is not nearly enough to fully grasp nor understand a continent. Most of our perceptions of Africa, let’s face it, will come from the news media or the movies, for good or ill.

Movies Set in Africa (Googled).

Movies about Africa that I’ve seen.