The Concubine was my first encounter with Elechi Amadi’s work. A secondary school classmate lent me the book. I loved the genius of Amadi’s writing. Certain aspects of the story were familiar to someone like myself, a child brought up in an Igbo society. Perhaps, that’s why the novel has always enveloped me with nostalgia.
The novel left me with the realization that one could write stories about one’s cultures and traditions so passionately without holding back—in other to educate and to entertain.
As I grew older and became a writer, I realized that Amadi was an icon. I became aware of the role his work played in strengthening the African literary tradition. I began to search for his other works, enjoying The Great Ponds as much as I did The Concubine. When my dad gave me Sunset In Biafra, it made me hunger for more knowledge about the Biafran story. I became interested in the events that took place during the war and the many stories told about these events. That’s how I came to read Madiebo’s The Nigerian Revolution & The Biafran War.
On June 29, news broke of Amadi’s passing. He was said to have died in a Port Harcourt Hospital. The cause of his death remains undisclosed. It was a sad day for the African literary community as we mourned the loss of such a cherished literary soul.
Now the iroko has fallen, and if it were in the times of old, the Ikoro would sound for days and ear-tickling tales of Amadi’s greatness would be passed from mouth to mouth.
Though Amadi has joined his ancestors, we celebrate a long life spent enriching the world with the beauty and nutrition of art in its purity and authenticity, and for helping many young artists embrace their own narratives.
About the Author:
Obinna Udenwe is a prize winning Nigerian writer. He debut novel, a conspiracy thriller titled Satans and Shaitans, was published by Jacaranda last year. His works have appeared in the Kalahari Review, Tribe-write, Flair Magazine, Kadunaboy and in Literary & Travel Magazine. Satans and Shaitans, was published in October 2014. His short story was featured in the African Roar 2014
collection. When he is not traveling all over the world, he shares his time between Abakaliki and Enugu.