Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

“I fear for young people because you do not know how strong is the bond of kinship. You do not know what it is to speak with one voice”

This book is a classic. There are so many superlatives that could be used to describe this book.

This was one of the first mass published books about Africa that was written by an African. My only regret is that I read this one so late in life – not that I’m that old!

Okonkwo, the book’s main character is a strong, masculine village elder who has the respect of all and does not show any weakness, ever.

The reader however is able to hear Okwonko’s true feelings, which help the reader understand the motives for all his actions.

The story is centered around a tribe of Igbo people. Achebe helps the reader understand the Igbo’s customs and how proud they are of their traditions. The sub stories within the book teaches the reader about the culture of the people in those times. 

We read about colonialism from the Africans point of view. We read about how colonialism impacted Africa’s culture and traditions.

The English came to Africa offering Christianity, government and education. These buildings were setup and through time, the locals started to attend the Christian church and allowed their kids to attend the Christian schools..

We now know that this was Britain’s master plan. #KillThemWithKindness Offer them security, knowledge and structure. At first, the tribe were allowed to keep their traditions, but as the English grew more confident in their ability to convert the locals, they also began to govern the area and removing local customs.

It is easy to understand why the English thought the Africans to be uncivilised, but this is looking at the Africans from the eyes of the western world. Not understanding that we all are different and should be allowed to be different and develop at our own rate.

The book depicts how Africans were captivated by the white man and what they brought with them to Africa. Unfortunately for Africans, they were naive to the fact that the British were entirely self serving in this exchange. It seemed that a small number of Okwonko’s tribe were aware of this and did their best to resist.

We all know the story of colonialism, but we’ve never heard it from the African point of view and this book tells us a version of it.

Have you read this book, if so what did you think of it? Hit me up in the comments.

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