The home state of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, the “father of modern African literature” who died this week in the United States, wants him to be buried in his native community, an official said Saturday.
The family of Achebe, who had an uneasy relationship with his home country, has not announced their burial plans following the 82-year-old’s death on Thursday.
“He is a renowned promoter of the African culture. He cannot but be buried in his native home community,” said Mike Udah, spokesman for the governor of Anambra, Achebe’s southeastern home state.
“The idea of him being buried outside his community is totally ruled out.”
The state governor, Peter Obi, is due to travel to the United States this weekend to discuss Achebe’s burial plans with his family, he added.
Best known internationally for his novel “Things Fall Apart,” which depicts the clash between British rule and traditional Igbo culture in his native southeastern Nigeria, Achebe was also a staunch critic of corruption in the country.
He had lived and worked as a professor in the United States in recent years. A 1990 car accident left him in a wheelchair and limited his travel.
“People are still dispirited over Achebe’s death,” Udah said, referring to the mood of Achebe’s native community.
Messages of condolence have continued to pour in following Achebe’s death.
Major newspapers in Nigeria reported on their front pages on Saturday the death and life of Achebe in addition to condolence messages from within the country and across the world.
Headlines included “World mourns Achebe,” and “Streams of Eulogies as literary icon Achebe dies at 82.”
Some referred to him as an “iroko” — the iconic tree native to west Africa.