A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy educated, participatory followership, and an educated, morally grounded leadership.
A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself.
Among the Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten.
An artist, in my understanding of the word, should side with the people against the Emperor that oppresses his or her people.
Art is man’s constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.
But I liked Yeats! That wild Irishman. I really loved his love of language, his flow. His chaotic ideas seemed to me just the right thing for a poet. Passion! He was always on the right side. He may be wrongheaded, but his heart was always on the right side. He wrote beautiful poetry.
Democracy is not something you put away for ten years, and then in the 11th year you wake up and start practicing again. We have to begin to learn to rule ourselves again.
Derived from the words Terrible Vaudeville…We call it a medium because nothing’s well done.
Even now they have not found the mouth with which to tell of their suffering.
I don’t care about age very much.
I tell my students, it’s not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What’s more difficult is to identify with someone you don’t see, who’s very far away, who’s a different color, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders.
I think back to the old people I knew when I was growing up, and they always seemed larger than life.
I was a supporter of the desire, in my section of Nigeria, to leave the federation because it was treated very badly with something that was called genocide in those days.
I’ve had trouble now and again in Nigeria because I have spoken up about the mistreatment of factions in the country because of difference in religion. These are things we should put behind us.
In fact, I thought that Christianity was very a good and a very valuable thing for us. But after a while, I began to feel that the story that I was told about this religion wasn’t perhaps completely whole, that something was left out.
My parents were early converts to Christianity in my part of Nigeria. They were not just converts; my father was an evangelist, a religious teacher. He and my mother traveled for thirty-five years to different parts of Igboland, spreading the gospel.
Nigera is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be.
Nigeria has had a complicated colonial history. My work has examined that part of our story extensively.
Oh, the most important thing about myself is that my life has been full of changes. Therefore, when I observe the world, I don’t expect to see it just like I was seeing the fellow who lives in the next room.
Once a novel gets going and I know it is viable, I don’t then worry about plot or themes. These things will come in almost automatically because the characters are now pulling the story.
Once you allow yourself to identify with the people in a story, then you might begin to see yourself in that story even if on the surface it’s far removed from your situation.
One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.
People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.
People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that’s the time to do something about it, not when it’s around your neck.
Presidents do not go off on leave without telling the country.
Stories serve the purpose of consolidating whatever gains people or their leaders have made or imagine they have made in their existing journey thorough the world.
The damage done in one year can sometimes take ten or twenty years to repair.
The last four or five hundred years of European contact with Africa produced a body of literature that presented Africa in a very bad light and Africans in very lurid terms. The reason for this had to do with the need to justify the slave trade and slavery.
The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.
The people you see in Nigeria today have always lived as neighbors in the same space for as long as we can remember. So it’s a matter of settling down, lowering the rhetoric, the level of hostility in the rhetoric is too high.
The problem with leaderless uprisings taking over is that you don’t always know what you get at the other end. If you are not careful you could replace a bad government with one much worse!
The whole idea of a stereotype is to simplify. Instead of going through the problem of all this great diversity – that it’s this or maybe that – you have just one large statement; it is this.
They have not always elected the best leaders, particularly after a long period in which they have not used this facility of free election. You tend to lose the habit.
What a country needs to do is be fair to all its citizens – whether people are of a different ethnicity or gender.
When a tradition gathers enough strength to go on for centuries, you don’t just turn it off one day.
When I began going to school and learned to read, I encountered stories of other people and other lands.
When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.
When suffering knocks at your door and you say there is no seat for him, he tells you not to worry because he has brought his own stool.
When the British came to Ibo land, for instance, at the beginning of the 20th century, and defeated the men in pitched battles in different places, and set up their administrations, the men surrendered. And it was the women who led the first revolt.
Whenever people have asked me which among my novels is my favourite I have always evaded a direct answer, being strongly of the mind that in sheer invidiousness that question is fully comparable to asking a man to list his children in the order in which he loves them. A paterfamilias worth his salt will, if he must, speak about the peculiar attractiveness of each child.
Anger and hatred lead to fear; compassion and concern for others allow us to develop self-confidence, which breeds trust and friendship.Dalai Lama