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One the novelists who  had a great impression on me, who captivated me and  left me awed as a young girl was Buchi Emecheta.

Although I read her books back then more for amusement, I still saw some uniqueness in her books. Now that I am cloaked in wisdom through my journey in life, I have deep understanding and better appreciation today.

Buchi Emecheta’s books are semi autobiographical where some aspects of her life reflected in her novels. She fled a domestic marriage with 5 children and yet achieved her dreams through grit and determination.

According to her “I work towards the liberation of women, but I am not a feminist, I am just a woman” an idea probably conceived as a child when she was at home in favor of her younger brother who was in school. However, when she finally got the chance to go to school she did so well that she won a scholarship! I think she rightly felt that a woman could liberate from oppression through education.

She was born to Jeremy Nwabudinke and Alice Okwekwuhe on 21st 1944 in Lagos but had her roots in Ibusa, Delta State.

At the age of 9 she went to Ibusa, but when she turned 16, she married Sylvester Onwordi and moved to the United Kingdom with him. When she was 22 years old, she fled the abusive marriage with four children, visibly pregnant with the fifth child.

She worked and went to school to earn a degree in Sociology and by will power went on to have a PHD. The story of her marriage reflected in one of her books titled THE SECOND CLASS CITIZEN

While working, she schooled, she took care of her five Children and she still found time to write.

Some of her books are NAIRA POWER, IN THE DITCH, HEAD ABOVE WATERS, an autobiography, SECOND CLASS CITIZEN among others.

She died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 72 on January 25th 2017 in Highgate Nursing home and buried in Islington cemetery in London. During her burial on February 15th it was said that a dirge sung at her grave by her Ibusa age mates in London was to send her “CHI” (spirit) to back to her roots Ibusa.

Two sons and a daughter survived her for she had lost two daughters in her lifetime.

Even in death, this phenomenon is celebrated. During her tribute at Terra Kulture in Lagos, the renowned writer Sefi Atta described her as “Child bride, Child Mother, child divorcee who later became a renowned writer ….” She was also described as incredible resourceful, industrious and tenacious with enormous strength.

Molara Woods described Buchi as a woman who long before the rise of new generation of female Writers trudged a lonely path taking Nigeria Women’s fiction to international heights, making herself a household name at home and abroad.

On October 28th 2017, her son Sylvester Onwordi would give a tribute to Buchi Emecheta at the African Literature conference at SOAS.

November 16 -18 Celebration of this literary Icon’s life and work at the ASA conference in Chicago.

January 6 -20 2018, SABLE LIT festival in Gambia, MBOKA festival of arts, culture and sports.

February 3, there would be a combined memorial tribute, cultural east event and book Launching.


SOURCE: AKINTAYO ABODUNRIN on terra kulture event.







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