He was one of Nigeria’s finest novelist and playwright. Renowned Nigerian author, Elechi Amadi, best known for his work “The Concubine”, which pictured the culture of marriage and forbidden traditions and was originally published in 1966, has died this Thursday, aged 82. A loss to Nigeria and Africa as much as to the world lamented President Buhari in a statement.
Elechi Amadi died in Port Harcourt after a protracted illness occasioned by multiple organ failure. The report also said that the Rivers State government had concluded arrangements to fly him overseas for medical treatment, but that his condition deteriorated between Monday and Tuesday. He passed on in a private clinic in the New Government Reservation Area of Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
Amadi hails from the first generation of Nigerian writers, in the league of the likes of Chinua Achebe, JP Clark, Cyprian Ekwensi and Christopher Okigbo. Many Nigerians grew up reading his first novel “The Concubine”, which focuses on love in a southern village, and how it came into conflict with traditional life. He will best be remembered for the way he portrayed life in rural Nigeria and for the convoluted plots and changing views in his novels.
Born on May 12th 1934, in Aluu in the Ikwerre local government area of Rivers State, Elechi Amadi attended the University of Ibadan (1955–59), where he obtained a degree in Physics and Mathematics. Amadi served as an officer in the Nigerian military at a turbulent time, during the 1967-1970 civil war, when the military put down an attempt to create an independent state in the east. It spawned Amadi’s only non-fiction work, “Sunset at Biafra”, in 1973, detailing his experiences during the war.
Some of his other works are “The Great Ponds”, “Isiburu”, “Dance of Johannesburg”, “Peppersoup”, “The Road to Ibadan”, “The Slave”, “Estrangement”, and “The Woman of Calabar”. He has been writer-in-residence and lecturer at Rivers State College of Education, where he has also been Dean of Arts, Head of the Literature department and Director of General Studies.
In paying homage to the Man of Letters, “visionary and venerated elder who dedicated his life to values of peace, equality, dignity and the reading culture in Nigeria”, the President affirmed that the outpouring of grief and tribute across Nigeria and beyond was a testament of the high degree of respect and acceptance Amadi commanded around the world.