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No Longer At Ease

No Longer At Ease

by Chinua Achebe

Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

Achebe is the most widely read author from the African continent. His books have been translated into 40 languages. (Source)

The kola nut is a symbol of Igbo hospitality. It is offered to visitors and guests at weddings. It contains caffeine and was once used in Coca-Cola and other soft drinks. It is now used in Red Bull's Simply Cola. Kola nut is pretty bitter and takes getting used to – kind of like coffee. It has been used to treat whooping cough and asthma, apparently opens up the bronchial tubes as a result of the caffeine. (Source)

Achebe wrote his novels in English. Though this may seem like a reasonable choice, it had huge political implications and he was criticized for it by other African novelists. African novelist Ngugi wa Thiong'o wrote in his native tongue, Gikuyu, in part because he was rejecting the language of the colonizer. (Ngugi also got thrown into prison for it because it was seen as resistance to the government.) Ngugi claimed that to write in the language of the colonizer is to acquiesce to your own domination. The language of the colonizer was always a politically sensitive issue, as evidenced by the Soweto riots in South Africa in 1977, when schoolchildren boycotted schools because they no longer wanted to be educated in the language of the oppressor. Though Achebe was criticized for it, he chose to write in English because he recognized that it was a language that allowed him to communicate with more widely than if he had written only in Igbo. (Source)

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