Veteran author and literary icon, Buchi Emecheta died in London
Thursday at the age of 72. The cause of her death is still unknown.
Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, Denja Abdullahi said the death
was a big loss to the Nigerian literary world, saying that Emecheta
would forever be remembered for championing the agenda of the girl child
through her works.
“We have lost a rare gem in this field. Her
works would forever live to speak for her. It is a sad loss to our
circle and we pray that God would give the family the fortitude to bear
the loss. She was known for championing the female gender and we would
forever miss her,” he told Daily Post.
Emecheta, born on 21 July
1944 was a Nigerian novelist, based in Britain since 1960, who had also
written plays and autobiography, as well as for children.
the author of more than 20 books, including Second-Class Citizen (1974),
The Bride Price (1976), The Slave Girl (1977) and The Joys of
Motherhood (1979). Her themes of child slavery, motherhood, female
independence and freedom through education won her considerable critical
acclaim and honours, including an Order of the British Empire in 2005.
once described her stories as “stories of the world…[where]… women face
the universal problems of poverty and oppression, and the longer they
stay, no matter where they have come from originally, the more the
problems become identical.” She had been characterised as “the first
successful black woman novelist living in Britain after 1948.”
was born in Lagos, Nigeria, to Igbo parents, Alice (Okwuekwuhe)
Emecheta and Jeremy Nwabudinke, both parents from Ibusa, Delta State,
Her father was a railway worker in the 1940s. Due to the
gender bias of the time, the young Buchi Emecheta was initially kept at
home while her younger brother was sent to school; but after persuading
her parents to consider the benefits of her education, she spent her
early childhood at an all-girl’s missionary school.
died when she was nine years old. A year later, Emecheta received a full
scholarship to the Methodist Girls School, where she remained until the
age of 16 when, in 1960, she married Sylvester Onwordi, a student to
whom she had been engaged since she was 11 years old.
immediately moved to London, UK, to attend university and Emecheta
joined him. She gave birth to five children in six years. It was an
unhappy and sometimes violent marriage (as chronicled in her
autobiographical writings such as Second-Class Citizen).
her sanity, Emecheta wrote in her spare time; however, her husband was
deeply suspicious of her writing, and he ultimately burned her first
manuscript; she has said that The Bride Price, eventually published in
1976, would have been her first book but she had to rewrite it after it
was destroyed: “There were five years between the two versions.”
the age of 22, Emecheta left her husband. While working to support her
five children alone, she earned a BSc degree in Sociology at the
University of London.
She began writing about her experiences of
Black British life in a regular column in the New Statesman, and a
collection of these pieces became her first published book in 1972, In
the Ditch. The semi-autobiographical book chronicled the struggles of a
main character named Adah, who was forced to live in a housing estate
while working as a librarian to support her five children.
second novel published two years later, Second-Class Citizen (Allison
and Busby, 1974), also drew on Emecheta’s own experiences, and both
books were eventually published in one volume under the title Adah’s
Story (Allison and Busby, 1983).
-Kazeem Ugbodaga with Agency report.
source pm news.