Chinua Achebe (Albert Chinualumogu Achebe), the Nigerian writer, has died at the age of 82 and therefore is on his way to join the DEad WOrkers Union.

"The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers and our clan can no longer act like one," says Okonkwo's friend, Obierika, in the novel Things Fall Apart, which was published in 1958.

The author is also known for the essay An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart of Darkness (1975), a hard-hitting critique of Conrad in which he says the author turned the African continent into "a metaphysical battlefield devoid of all recognisable humanity, into which the wandering European enters at his peril", asking: "Can nobody see the preposterous and perverse arrogance in thus reducing Africa to the role of props for the break-up of one petty European mind?"

Born in 1930 in Ogidi, in the south-east of Nigeria, the author won a scholarship to the University of Ibadan, and later worked as a scriptwriter for the Nigeria Broadcasting Service. He chose to write Things Fall Apart in English – something for which he has received criticism from authors including Ngugi wa Thiong'o. But Achebe warns African writers against trying to learn to use English like a native speaker, calling it “neither necessary nor desirable” . Instead, the African writer ought to “aim at fashioning out an English which is at once universal and able to carry his peculiar experience.”

After receiving numerous awards in the West Achebe has twice rejected the Nigerian government's attempt to name him a Commander of the Federal Republic – a national honour – first in 2004, and second in 2011. In 2004 he wrote that "for some time now I have watched events in Nigeria with alarm and dismay. I have watched particularly the chaos in my own state of Anambra where a small clique of renegades, openly boasting its connections in high places, seems determined to turn my homeland into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom. I am appalled by the brazenness of this clique and the silence, if not connivance, of the presidency … Nigeria's condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 honours list."

Two of DAMTPs attended Chinua Achebe's lecture at Cambridge University on Friday 19th November 2010. Chinua Achebe entered to a standing ovation. We thought this excessive but not surprising given his status in Academia. He apologised at the start of the talk in advance, for any offence he was about to cause and spoke for an hour about Nigeria, the road from colony to independence and towards democracy and was mainly addressing the Nigerian elite present. There was however much to interest us. He spoke of prophesy and of the Society of Nigerian Artists who he was a member of during the colonised era - and he explained that he saw SONA as - in his own words - a sort of trade union set up by the artists to protect themselves in the revolutionary period.

He also spoke of the Igbo traditions of democracy and the word/name Ezebilo - which means the King Is An Enemy. As Sipho Jelle and PUDEMO know too, Tinkhundla is not the only traditional anti-colonial form that is an alternative to Western Democracy. Chinua spoke about leadership as a sacred duty - something Igbo tradition of magical leadership demonstrates.

Iroko ada na! Dike eji aga mba na gbo. Prof, kachifo.