Cyprian Ekwensi (September 26, 1921 – November 4, 2007), one of many grand outdated males of African fiction-and one of many few who made the transition from Onitsha-market-pamphlet-fiction to an writer with no less than one thing of a global fame handed away as The Literary Saloon introduced on Sunday 4th of November in Enugu on the age of 86. DARKNESS fell once more within the Nigerian literary firmament .. when veteran novelist, pharmacist and public commentator, Cyprian Ekwensi handed on. So one other Lagos-based paper The Guardian introduced this unhappy occasion.
The writer of the favored Jagua Nana sequence of novels died on the Niger Foundation in Enugu the place he he had undergone an operation for an undisclosed ailment.
He is the writer of the earliest printed fiction depicting social life within the Lagos Metropolis along with his down-to-earth type of writing and his prolific output, with over 20 novels to his credit score. Ekwensi thus grew to become celebrated because the ancestor of town novel, which pressured ample description of the locale with a largely episodic type drawn from his earlier pamphleteering.
Mrs. Ekwensi, who’s in her late 60’s mentioned that she lower brief her go to abroad after spending two weeks to fly him from Lagos again to Enugu, including that within the final one month, that they had often visited the hospital. “Since we left Lagos, we’ve not rested. It is from one factor to a different …”, she mentioned.
Mrs. Ekwensi, who reeled in waist ache as she instructed her story, disclosed that the pains elevated throughout their lengthy days on the hospital, whereas attending to her husband. “The hospital bench grew to become my mattress,” she complained including that her husband’s situation remained important till his loss of life. The deceased’s eldest son, George who flew in from the U.S. when he learnt about his father’s ailment, started consultations with relations and notable indigenes of Anambra State on burial plans.
Speaking with the Daily Sun, the novelist’s son, Ike, famous that his father’s burial wouldn’t be decided by relations solely, contemplating his excellent contributions to nationwide growth.
Ekwensi was due for an award in Lagos, on November 16. He had left Lagos in good spirit a month earlier than with the hope of choosing the award later not figuring out that he wouldn’t make it.
Following the loss of life of this famend novelist , the Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, apex Igbo socio-cultural group, previous and current governors, ministers of presidency, writers and All Progressive Grand Alliance have expressed shock over his demise.
They described Ekwensi’s loss of life as an amazing loss to Nigeria and your entire literary world. Factional President-General of Ohanaeze, Dozie Ikedife, mentioned an amazing Igbo son had departed, stressing that he left enviable legacies that might final for generations to come back. “It is a pity. He is likely one of the biggest authors of our time. . . . He has been round for someday….Nigerians and your entire literary world will certainly miss him. . . .,” he mentioned. Ikedife urged the household to bear the loss with fortitude, trusting in God and believing that he had contributed his finest to writing and social engineering.
The governor mentioned Ekwensi’s loss of life has created a spot within the state and within the literary world and made assurances that the state authorities would absolutely take part within the burial preparations. Being a standard chief and titleholder, Ekwensi’s household will first meet earlier than formally speaking the information of his passing to the federal government.
In his tribute, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance Chief Victor Umeh mentioned Ekwensi’s loss of life has robbed Nigeria, of one of many biggest literary minds to have handed via the land. He noticed that his works had contributed immensely to the event of literature in Nigeria, including that he can be vastly missed by all Nigerians.
Former Health Minister, Professor A.B.C Nwosu recalling that the late literary icon who had began life as a pharmacist, performed an important position within the eradication of the then dreaded guinea worm illness in outdated Anambra state as chairman of the state Health Management Board on the time when he (Nwosu) was Commissioner for Health mentioned he would discover it tough to seek advice from Ekwensi prior to now tense, having change into used to his resourcefulness as each a author and administrator.
“It is a horrible blow. . . . He gave me the slogan ‘Get rid of guinea worm’ when he was chairman Anambra State Health Management Board and I used to be Commissioner for Health below the late Emeka Omeruah. We traversed the entire of Abakaliki space within the quest to kick out guinea worm. He helped me get funds from Japan to finance the venture. We each acquired former American President Jimmy Carter. A fantastic man with a fantastic thoughts. . . .” Nwosu added.
Former Governor of Old Anambra State, Chief Christian Onoh additionally described Ekwensi’s demise as an enormous blow to the literary world. Onoh, among the many first set of people who paid a sympathy go to to the Hill view Crescent, Independence structure, Enugu residence of the late prolific author, mentioned that, the information got here to him with impolite shock, expressing dismay that Ekwensi may die at a time when in response to him, ” we want him round to reform our training”.
Clad in white lace, the elder statesman, mentioned he was nevertheless consoled by the truth that the late Ekwensi by no means wasted his time on earth, including that his contributions to the literary world would stay perpetually. He mentioned that, Ekwensi who authored many literary books, lived and died for writing and prolonged his sympathies to the Nigerian literary world in addition to your entire south East.
The Minister of Information, Mr John Odey described the late “Ekwensi as an amazing contributor to the unity of Nigeria and the event of literary training within the nation”.
The message reads: “the Federal Government acquired the information of the sudden loss of life of a distinguished citizen of your state and a good literary icon of this nation, Chief Cyprian Ekwensi, with disappointment. “I’m notably touched by his loss of life due to his having served as a workers of my ministry the place he rose to change into a Director”.
Reacting to the loss of life of the novelist, National President, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Dr. Wale Okediran, mentioned, “his loss of life, although at a ripe age, marked the top of a convention of story telling. As a author of fashionable fiction, COD was a pure storyteller whose works had been each accessible and entertaining.”
Okediran, who described the late Ekwensi as his instructor within the fashionable literature style, mentioned a construction within the proposed ANA village in Abuja can be named after him as a part of ANA’s plan to immortalise him, including that ANA would collaborate with the Nigerian arm of PEN, a worldwide affiliation of writers, to make obtainable, a documentary made on Ekwensi to all Nigerians.
A former ANA President Professor Obafemi, on his half, mentioned “Ekwensi’s loss is the lack of a key architect of contemporary Nigerian literature and the primary to carve a nationwide character for Nigerian fiction. He was a type of who erected the canon and pillars of fashionable fiction in Nigeria. His loss of life has taken away an ancestral voice within the Nigerian artistic cosmos.”
Professor Olu Obafemi described the late author as a key determine within the institution of what’s now referred to as Nigerian literature. According to Obafemi, Ekwensi would perpetually be remembered as one of many oldest writers of the English expression who stored and gave nationwide character to Nigerian literature. “Ekwensi’s loss of life” he mentioned ” is a significant deprivation to Nigerian literature. He was one of many main architects of contemporary Nigerian literature, who, as early as within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties, started to jot down about points and occasions past his ethnic background.
The assistant General Secretary of ANA, Mr Hyacinth Obunseh, described Ekwensi’s loss of life as unlucky. Obunseh mentioned that the literary neighborhood and certainly the world would miss him particularly for, his peculiar type of writing. “Ekwensi’s imaginative and descriptive energy will likely be vastly missed,” Obunseh mentioned.. He, nevertheless, regretted that the late literary large didn’t stay lengthy sufficient to finish his autobiography.
Another author, Fred Uzo, expressed the hope that Nigeria would “give him the honour that is because of a scholar, a author and a humanist of his stature.”.
Earlier in 2007, Ekwensi launched Cash on Delivery, a group of brief tales, which turned out to be his final e book. When he turned 86 the earlier 12 months, the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Lagos State chapter and the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA), feted him.
Told of the passing on of Ekwensi, poet and previous president of ANA, Odia Ofeimu, was “shocked past phrases” to remark instantly.To the newly elected Lagos State ANA chairman, Mr. Chike Ofili, it was an unnerving piece of data. He too withheld his feedback until later. When information of the loss of life broke out Nigerian authors had been rounding off their yearly conference held in Owerri, Imo State.
Cyprian Odiatu Duaka Ekwensi was born at Minna in Northern Nigeria on September 26, 1921 to Ogbuefi David Duaka and Uso Agnes Ekwensi. He later lived in Onitsha within the Eastern space.. He was educated at Government School, Jos, Government College, Ibadan; Higher College, Yaba in Lagos, Achimota College, Ghana, in lbadan University the place he earned his B.A
He studied forestry and labored for 2 years as a forestry officer. He additionally taught science and labored for Radio Nigeria earlier than getting into the Lagos School of Pharmacy which led him on to the University of London the place he continued his research on the Chelsea School of Pharmacy It was throughout this era that he wrote his earliest fiction Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Tales and When Love Whispers each of which had been printed in 1947. He additionally participated in a global writing program in. University of Iowa, USA.
He lectured in pharmacy at Lagos and was employed as a pharmacist by the Nigerian Medical Corporation. After favorable reception of his early writing, Ekwensi joined the Nigerian Ministry for Information and rose to turning into the director of data by the point of the primary navy coup in 1966. The persevering with disturbances within the Western and Northern areas in the summertime of 1966, might have led Ekwensi to surrender his place and relocate his household at Enugu. There he grew to become chairman of the Bureau for External Publicity in Biafra and an adviser to the pinnacle of state, Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu.
Ekwensi started his writing profession as a pamphleteer a reality which is clearly mirrored within the episodic nature of his novels. This tendency is nicely illustrated by People of the City (1954)the primary main novel to be printed by a Nigerian, through which Ekwensi gave a vibrant portrait of life in a West African metropolis. Two novellas for youngsters adopted in 1960; each The Drummer Boy and The Passport of Mallam Ilia which had been workouts in mixing conventional themes with undisguised romanticism.
Ekwensi’s most generally learn novel, Jagua Nana,which appeared in 1961.returned to the locale of People of the City however boasted a way more cohesive plot centered on the character of Jagua, a courtesan who had a love for the costly. Even her identify was a corruption of the costly English vehicle. Her life customized the battle between the outdated conventional and trendy city Africa. Ekwensi printed a sequel in 1987 titled Jagua Nana’s Daughter. Ekwensi pressured description of the locale and his episodic type was notably nicely suited to the brief story.
Burning Grass (1961) is principally a group of vignettes a couple of Fulani household via which Ekwensi provides perception into the lifetime of this pastoral individuals. Ekwensi based mostly the novel and the characters on an actual household with whom he had beforehand stay. Between 1961 and 1966 Ekwensi printed no less than one main work yearly. The most essential had been, Beautiful Feathers (1963) and Iska (1966), and two collections of brief tales, Rainmaker (1965) and Lokotown (1966). Ekwensi continued to publish past the Sixties, with the novel Divided We Stand (1980) through which he lampooned the Nigerian civil warfare, the novella Motherless Baby (1980), and The Restless City and Christmas Gold (1975), Behind the Convent Wall (1987), and Gone to Mecca (1991). His work, Divided We Stand (1980), , is slated for dialogue by literary consultants in a convention on 40 years after the civil warfare.
Ekwensi additionally printed a quantity works for youngsters. Under the identify C. O. D. Ekwensi, he launched Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales (1947) and The Leopard’s Claw (1950). In the Sixties, he wrote An African Night’s Entertainment (1962), The Great Elephant-Bird (1965), and Trouble in Form Six (1966). Ekwensi’s later works for youngsters embody Coal Camp Boy (1971), Samankwe within the Strange Forest (1973), Samankwe and the Highway Robbers (1975), Masquerade Time! (1992), and King Forever! (1992). In recognition of his expertise as a author, Ekwensi was awarded the Dag Hammarskjold International Prize for Literary Merit in 1969.