As a kid, I was a little weird. I did not have much interest in most of the childhood games that my colleagues were always engaged in. I seem to be searching for something that would bring me inner satisfaction. Pockets of mischief became my close pals. Then I realized I love to tell stories. My mates loved to gather around me to hear my awesome stories. Most of them were not true though. I remember a very hilarious story I told my mates back in class 5 or 6 about Manchester United, just before that famous 1999 UEFA cup finals. My quest to get more stories to share drove me into reading any material that came handy. Funny enough, I hardly understood most of the things I read. As far back as class 6, I was reading these “Silhouette Romantic Series”. Perhaps, this is where all the naughtiness originated.
My first day in JSS 1, we were tasked to work in the school library. Some books were marked to be disposed. I picked two of them, MONEY GALORE and THINGS FALL APART. I loved money back then, so quickly made a decision to read MONEY GALORE first. It happened to be the first African novel I read. At least I understood most part of it, compared to the foreign romantic novels I had attempted previously. Then I picked THINGS FALL APART.
After reading THINGS FALL APART, my thirst for books knew no limits or boundaries. I immediately fell in love with the writer and wanted to be like him. Someway somehow, I did not have enough African novels, so I went back to my romantic novels. I entered Opoku Ware School to read General Arts. The powers that be thought it wise to make me read General Science. My case in the Science class then was the same story of a fish out of water.
As if by an order of destiny, I returned to the chamber ( In OWASS, our rooms were called chambers) one day, only to find a book on my bed. It had an inquisitive title, ANTHILLS OF THE SAVANNAH. I found the owner and asked him if I could have it for a week or two. He agreed and quickly, I forgot about the world around me and delved myself into the book. It was confusing from the first chapter, so I jumped to chapter two and later when I had a grasp on the story, I came back to chapter one. After I turned the last page, I heard that inner man in me screaming “ Courage, this is what I want to do. This is who I want to be”. It was more of a personal discovery. I have found a role model in Chinua Achebe. His writing styles appealed to me. I loved the way he took liberty with the language and did more of offhand translation. I loved how his works focused on the political environment. I loved politics, I loved literature and I fell in love with his works. The struggle to get back to my root started.
When I changed my course to read General Arts for just a year and half, I had the chance to do a detailed study of ANTHILLS OF THE SAVANNAH. Everything about the book and the author made me want to develop my writing skills and use it in the politics and development of my society. Achebe therefore became an automatic role model. I went on to read ARROW OF GOD, A MAN OF THE PEOPLE and NO LONGER AT EASE.
Today that great man who played an integral role in world politics and literature, whose work made me discover myself and who has been a lifetime role model is gone. One thing I am sure to have picked from him is how he took liberty with the language in all his works. He wrote in such a way that people could easily relate with his stories. CHINUA is gone but his works live on. Like the slogan of my own Katanga, THE LEGEND LIVES ON!!!!


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