Chinedu Achebe on Writing, Real love and on being black

A beautiful Monday it is…and we are glad to finally have Chinedu Achebe here on African Stories. Author of Blunted on Reality now available for Free, He talks about the difference between true love and real love, what being black is all about and his love for writing in his interview with African Stories. In his book, Blunted on Reality, Chinedu uses a style of writing that ‘engages’ his audience and gives insightful political positions surrounding the 2009 Obama’s election. Never one to ignore ‘the love ingredient’ in his book, Chinedu spices up his book with a little love triangle… Get a free copy. Read his interview.

Q. Who is Chinedu Achebe really?
A. Lol. That is a very good question. I am just a very chill, laid back guy that is trying to just enjoy my life.
Q. At what point did you pick up your pen? A clear call or a hobby?
A. I started writing seriously about 5 years ago. I tried to start a blog, but after writing a couple of posts I decided to go in another direction. It wasn’t until after the 2008 presidential election victory of Barack Obama that I decided to write a book.
Q. What is your writing formula? A freestyler or traditionalist?
A. My writing formula consists of a little bit of both. I usually have the main ideas that I want to discuss in the book. But after that I do a lot of free styling from chapter to chapter.
Q. Would you say writing is 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration? What really should be an African writer’s ideal writing mix?
A. I would disagree with that notion. In my case the inspiration is about 40% and perspiration is 60%. In my opinion, you have to have a reason to want to write a book.
Q. In your book “Blunted on Reality”, you made mention of the difference between being an African and a black American, is there really a difference? An ideology perhaps?
A. I feel there is a difference but you have to throw in a person like myself who was born by two Nigerian parents, but was born and raised in the United States into the mix as well. People like myself are in the middle because we can relate to Africans along with black Americans. The differences are usually just cultural, but it is funny that both African and black Americans share some traits as well.
Q. Obama at the time of writing “Blunted on Reality” was a common denominator; do you think that is still the case?
A. I don’t think he would be the common denominator as was the case in 2008 and 2009. But Obama would still help shape my story.
Q. If you were to write “Blunted on Reality” today, what will change?
A. That is a hard question to answer because timing is everything. When I started writing Blunted on Reality in 2011, I was 29 years old. Now I am 32 years old. In those three years I have experienced different things in my personal, family, and professional life that have shaped me.
Q. Your style of writing exudes a distinct trait stemming from black Americananism – “meaning to write as if one were living in the hood”. To what extent do you think environment affects a writer’s style of writing?
A. I feel that environment plays a huge role on your perspective of things. It helps shape are thoughts and views.
Q. Nigeria’s Nollywood singlehandedly redefined movie making and marketing in the region, making it one of the biggest movie industries. What in your opinion should be done about publishing in African countries to attain same success story?
A. Younger African authors need to find their voice and tell the story of their generation. Nollywood does a great job of making movies that appeal to various ages. The movies that I watch aren’t the same as the ones my parents would watch. But we also have to be aware to not confine African authors just to the continent. There are Africans in Europe, Canada, and the United States telling their stories as well.
Q. If there was any reason to reshuffle roots, where would you rather have yours? Any particular reason?
A. I wouldn’t change anything. I have a lot of pride in being a Nigerian of Igbo descent. But I can’t dismiss the influence that being born in the U.S. exposed me to black culture beyond the music and tv, which people outside of this country associate it to. I have been able to learn and understand the history of black people in this country and also see their struggles as my struggles.
Q. Your first read was? Your favorite authors are?
A. I don’t remember the first book that I read. But the book that influenced me was Chinua Achebe’s No Longer At Ease. My favorite authors are Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Adichie, and Michael Eric Dyson.
Q. What are you working on now? Tell us all about it.
A. I am currently working on the sequel to my first book, Blunted on Reality. I hope to have it finished by the end of this year or early 2015. I am really excited about it.
Q. Upcoming African authors you are aware of are?
A. Tope Folarin
Q. Social media and self-publishing – ebooks, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon….the works – has played a great role in the rise of number of writers on the continent; almost as if having a writer’s bio validates existence. Is this a good trend? A ‘dawn-phase’ before publishing in Africa witnesses a rebirth or the classic case of the good old bandwagon ride?
A. I feel that social media plays a huge role in writing now. You have to be on Twitter and Facebook at the minimum. Self-publishing is great because it allows people to write their own stories without waiting for the traditional publishers to anoint your book with their “holy water”. I have met so many authors who are writing amazing stories. It is a great thing for the continent, because Africans can now reach other all of the globe.
Q. Love, Responsibility and Purpose feature in your book. What is your personal take on these? A believer in true love?
A. I think those are three things that most of are searching for in our lives. The hard part is that they all come to us at different phases of our lives. I don’t believe in true love, I do believe in real love. I feel that loving someone is very hard and is something that you have to really work on.
Q. Hobbies, Awards, Humanitarian works?
A. I love watching basketball and American football. I enjoy hanging out with friends and just discussing all types of topics from politics to tv shows.

About Chinedu Achebe.
Chinedu Achebe was born in Richmond VA and currently lives in Houston, Texas. He works as an accountant in the oil and gas industry. He is the oldest of three siblings and graduated from the University of Houston with his bachelor’s in Economics. Blunted on Reality is his first book which was published in 2012. He is @ChineduAchebe on twitter and his book is also available on Amazon

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And that wraps it up guys! Hope you had an exciting read.
Want to know more about African authors right here? Simply comment below stating the names of favorite writers and the questions you want asked and we will make it happen.

Remember,
All Fun and Games by Tomi Adesina will be posted tomorrow.
Love on the 25th by Unen Ameji on Wednesday
Beautiful Strangers by Tomi Adesina on Friday.

Excerpts of new book “Blunted on Reality” by Chinedu Achebe will be posted and yes! his review by Unen Ameji too. (Unen Ameji Submit his review already!!! :D)

A busy week we will have…

Read Stories. Share Love Stories.
Have a lovely day.
Cheers!!!

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Earliest Civilization: The Kushites : Meroe : Nubia.

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During the time of ancient Egypt’s glory – during the third and second millenia B.C. – the influence of Egyptian civilization was strong in the land to the south, the eastern or Egyptian Sudan, often called Nubia and known to the Egyptians as Kush. The
northern Nubians, darker skinned than the Egyptians who may have originally come from Asia and those further south were Negroes. Egypt traded with, fought with, and to some extent ruled over these peoples.
early Africans
A Kushite civilization in Nubia, with its capital at Napata, flourished from the 11th century B.C; and at the same time Egypt entered into a long period of weakness and divided rule.

About 750 B.C. the Kushites began the conquest of Egypt, and in 715 established there a Kushite dynasty (misleadingly known as the Ethiopian Dynasty). But about 50 years later the Kushites were driver out of Egypt, after some tremendous battles, by invading Assyrians. The Kushite kings retired to their old capital at Napata, where they continued to rule until early in the 6th century B.C. They then transferred their capital to Meroe, 300 miles further south, perhaps because Meroe was situated in an area rich in iron ore.

The Kushite Kingdom of Meroe lasted for eight centuries, until about A.D. 320, when it was destroyed by the King of Axum, the rising power in Ethiopia. The Kushite civilization vanished completely. It was not until very recently that knowledge of it
has been compiled, from inscriptions in tombs and the ruins of Meroe and Napata.
NubianMeroePyramids30sep2005(2)
The Meroitic writing has been partly deciphered, though the language is dead. The Kushites were great traders – from Red Sea ports to the east, and through Egypt where their relations with the Ptolemies in the last centuries B.C. were generally
friendly. The Kushites were skilled iron workers; and their armies gained strength from their horsed cavalry and their taming and use of the elephant. Meroe was a splendid city, with a magnificent palace and a beautifully decorated Temple of the
Sun.

About 200 years after the destruction of Meroe the Nubian descendants of the Kushites were converted to Christianity by missionary monks from Egypt (where at that time Christianity was widespread). There then existed for many centuries
Christian kingdoms in Nubia, where the people appear to have led a comfortable life.
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Good farmers and craftsmen, they were also greatly interested in learning. They developed a modified form of Greek writing suitable for their own language, and built
schools and libraries. After the Moslem conquest of Egypt in the 7th century (see chapter 4) the Nubian Christians continued on friendly terms with Egypt until about 1250, when their kingdoms were invaded by Moslem Arabs and African neighbours who had been
converted to Islam. By the 14th century this Nubian Christian civilization had faded out.

This short history has been compiled from the study of a number of works, including the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Encyclopedia Americana, Every-man’s Encyclopedia, W.L.Langer’s “Encyclopedia of World History”, other reference books such as Whitaker’s Almanack and The Statesman’s Year Book, “The Last Two Million Years” published by the Readers’ Digest, and “Discovering Africa’s Past” by Basil Davidson.

New episodes of Love on the 25th by Unen Ameji and
All Fun and Games by Tomi Adesina

The Races of Africa

The two main races inhabiting Africa in early times were the Berbers of the Mediterranean coastlands and the Negroes of equatorial Africa. The Berbers (and the ancient Egyptians) were of Hamitic stock – racially Caucasian, with “European” facial
characteristics. The Negroes included the small-statured Pygmies. The pygmies, and a third race – the rather yellow skinned Bushmen – may have been widely spread over central and southern Africa until they were driven from the most fruitful lands by the Negroes.

The descendants of the Pygmies now inhabit the forests of central
Africa. Only small numbers of Bushmen now survive, mainly in the Kalahari desert in the south.

Between the northern coastlands and equatorial Africa is the Sahara desert. Until the end of the last Ice Age (about 8000 B.C.) the Sahara was a fertile grassland. It then started to dry up, much of it remaining habitable until about 2000 B.C. The early
inhabitants of the Sahara were probably a mixture of Berbers and Negroes.

Recently discovered rock paintings show that cattle keeping was a major occupation in what appears to have been a peaceful life. The paintings also show that music and dancing were important to these ancient Africans – as they are to the modern Negroes.
Between about 4000 and 2000 B.C, as the desert spread, the peoples of the Sahara gradually emigrated to the north, east and south though some remained, learning to live with little water: their descendants are the Berber Tuareg of the desert today
(whose men wear veils).

Those who went South settled in the western and central Sudan. (The term Sudan relates to the wide strip of grassland stretching across Africa, south of the Sahara and Egypt. The western Sudan is separated from the coast to the south by a belt of dense forest.) In the Sudan the newcomers mixed with other Negro tribes to form the Bantu-speaking peoples, who gradually spread into central, eastern and southern Africa.

In the eastern Sudan, south of Egypt, another civilisation arose, starting about 1000 B.C. – that of the Kushites, probably a mixture of Hamitic and Negro stock. Further east is Ethiopia. The Ethiopians were probably of Hamitic origin, mixed later with
Arabs from Arabia.

Historical times, that is when history is known with reasonable accuracy and some detail, started on widely different dates in the different regions of Africa, very
roughly as follows:-
Egypt – about 3000 B.C.
Nush – about 1000 B.C.
Berber North Africa – about 1000 B.C.
Ethiopia – about A.D. 0
Western and Central Sudan – about A.D. 300.
East Africa – about A.D. 700.
The Forest lands south of the Western Sudan – about A.D. 1000

Till next week!

Excerpts…
A Short Story of Africa: A compilation from the study of a number of works, including the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Encyclopedia Americana, Every-man’s Encyclopedia, W.L.Langer’s “Encyclopedia of World History”, other reference books such as Whitaker’s Almanack and The Statesman’s Year Book, “The Last Two Million Years” published by the Readers’ Digest, and “Discovering Africa’s Past” by Basil Davidson.