In a world filled with diverse talents, few individuals work to the level of their legacy outliving them. Nigerian writers have in the past exhibited and still show how powerful the pen can be used in changing the world. Even in their grave, these authors still exist among us through outstanding books they wrote during their lifetime, their names are indelible in the literary world. Late Buchi Emecheta is great example of a Nigerian whose activities with the pen influenced the world greatly.
Sunday, July 21, 2019 marked Emecheta’s 75th posthumous birthday and American multinational company and world’s most popular internet search engine Google celebrated the prolific Nigerian writer by designing a google doodle portraying her. The display is proof that the literary giant who wrote numerous novels during her time on earth has not been forgotten two years into her death. Google’s new doodle commemorated Emecheta, unarguably one of the greatest writers that graced mother earth with her talent and brilliance in the world of writing, the legacy created has outlived the dark skinned writer.
Life & Work
Born on July 21, 1944 in the suburbs of Lagos, western Nigeria, Florence Onyebuchi Emecheta was from the popular Igbo ethnic group of Eastern Nigeria. Betrothed to her husband at the age of 11, she was initially prevented from schooling but successfully persuaded her parents to allow her attend an all-girls missionary school. Lucky to have gained a full scholarship, she married her husband Sylvester Onwordi at the age of 16. The couples moved to the United Kingdom after having two kids so that her husband Sylvester would attend university in London. In the space of six years, she bore 5 children. She eventually left her husband to live alone as a single mother of five and would go on to earn a degree in sociology from the prestigious University of London.
As for my survival for the past twenty years in England, from when I was a little over twenty, dragging four cold and dripping babies with me and pregnant with a fifth one—that is a miracle.Buchi Emecheta
Notable for writing books motivated by her life as a single mother, Emecheta shot herself to limelight through write ups reflecting her experiences as a Black British woman in a regular column of the New Statesman. Later in 1972, she released a collection of the articles in what would be her first published book titled In The Ditch. Two years later, she released her second book Second Class Citizen, and in the course of years, outstanding novels like The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1979- winner of the 1978 Jock Campbell Award), The Joys Of Motherhood (1979), and host of others. Doubling as a library officer in the British Museum in London and youth worker in the 1970s, she explored the opportunity to give the world unforgettable pieces.
In the later part of her life, legendary Emecheta toured the UK and US establishing herself as a visiting professor for several universities like Yale and UCLA, and was resident fellow of English in popular Nigerian University of Calabar. Part of her achievements include being knighted an Officer of the British Empire in the year 2005. Though the single mother promoted several campaigns geared towards liberation of women, she refused to be referred to as a feminist. Hit by a stroke in 2010, her activities in the literary world was cut short, she would die seven years later in January 25, 2017.
I work toward the liberation of women. My books are about survival, just like my own life.Buchi Emecheta
Featured Image Source: Punchng
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