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Akachi Chukwuemeka.

Chukwuemeka “Akachi” Emmanuel Ugwoke, a Nigerian poet and editor of The Muse, the literary journal of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the oldest student journal in West Africa, has passed on at 21. Until his death by suicide on Monday, 13 May 2019, he was a final year undergraduate at the university’s Department of English and Literary Studies, where The Muse is housed, and a member of The Writers’ Community (TWC), a group of literary creatives in the university. He was a remarkable person, profoundly humane in his concern for others.

Akachi was born in February 1998. When he began writing, he chose “Akachi” as his pen name: literally, it means “Hand of God” or “Hand of Personal God,” but is a metonym for “The Work of God” or “What God Does.”

His published work includes:

He was a recipient of the James Nnaji Prize for Poetry, the student poetry award at the UNN’s Department of English.

Akachi suffered from depression and survived previous suicide attempts. After he left a note on Facebook and was found unconscious, he was carried to the university Medical Centre, where he began receiving treatment, and afterwards to the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu State, where he passed on.

Akachi loved taking walks, liked talking literature and music and listening to Simi, liked watching football, and liked eating raw plantain. He was stuck trying to think through and answer great existential questions of meaning and fulfilment. More than anything, he wanted to be happy, and loved seeing others happy.

At the end of most of his conversations, Akachi told people: “Don’t die. Live.” At different moments in his life, through different relationships with people around, he was able to cause real joy for the people around him. That is what we should hold on to: Akachi at his very best, caring for the pain of others, wanting happiness for them even as it eluded him. He was a brilliant mind and a gifted poet, and that is how he should be remembered: as a light.

May he rest in peace.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he got an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies and English & Literary Studies. He taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

One Response to “Akachi Chukwuemeka, Poet and Editor of the University of Nigeria’s Literary Journal The Muse, Passes on at 21” Subscribe

  1. Rene Aneke June 16, 2019 at 4:03 am #

    Once, I showed him Darwin’s ” ID Card”; he beamed.
    As a poet, he loved experimentation…the unconventional.
    RIP.

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