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Literary giant, Elechi Amadi dies – 6 things to remember


Popular novelist and playwright, Elechi Amadi (82) died yesterday, June 29, 2016 after battling a bout of illness. He was an author of plays and novels that are generally about African village life, customs, beliefs and religious

Amadi was billed to be at an annual book reading programme organised in Port Harcourt by Total Exploration and Production on the day he died but was represented by his wife, Preye, due to his ill health.

Here are 6 things to know about the late icon…

  1. Elechi Amadi was born on May 12, 1934 in Aluu in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State. He attended Government College, Umuahia (1948–52), Survey School, Oyo (1953–54), and the University of Ibadan (1955–59), where he obtained a degree in Physics and Mathematics.
  2. He worked as a land surveyor at a time and later was a teacher at several schools, including the Nigerian Military School, Zaria (1963–66).
  3. Amadi served in the Nigerian army, remained there during the Nigerian Civil War, and retired at the rank of Captain. Sunset in Biafra (1973), his only work of nonfiction, recounts his experiences as a soldier and civilian during the Biafran conflict.
  4. He also held various positions with the Rivers State Government Permanent Secretary (1973–83), Commissioner for Education (1987–88) and Commissioner for Lands and Housing (1989–90).
  5. Amadi is best known, however, for his historical trilogy about traditional life in rural Nigeria: The Concubine (1966), The Great Ponds (1969), and The Slave (1978). These novels concern human destiny and the extent to which it can be changed; the relationship between people and their gods is the central issue explored. Amadi is a keen observer of details of daily life and religious rituals, which he unobtrusively describes in his dramatic stories. Similar emphases are found in his verse play, Isiburu (1973), about a champion wrestler who is ultimately defeated by the supernatural power of his enemy. Among his other works is Pepper Soup and the Road to Ibadan (1977).
  6. On 5 January 2009, Amadi was kidnapped at his home in Aluu town, Port Harcourt, by unknown gunmen. He was released 23 hours later, on the evening of 6 January.

Here is a body of Elechi Amadi’s works

The Concubine (novel) – 1966

The Great Ponds (novel) – 1969

Sunset in Biafra (war diary) – 1973

Isiburu (play) – 1973

Peppersoup and The Road (plays, combined volume) 1977

Dancer of Johannesburg (play) – 1978

The Slave (novel) – 1978

Ethics in Nigerian Culture (philosophy) – 1982

Estrangement (novel) – 1986

The Woman of Calabar (play) – 2002

Speaking and Singing (essays and poems) – 2003

Collected Plays (ed. Seiyifa Koroye) – 2004

  • Daniel Fayemi for

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