Anglican funeral for Chinua Achebe: The Church of England Newspaper, May 26, 2013 p 6. May 27, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Nigeria, Syncretism.
Tags: Chinua Achebe
A tug-of-war over the body and reputation of Nobel laureate Chinua Achebe is underway Nigeria.
The Punch newspaper reports the Church of Nigeria has declined to turn over the remains of the author of Things Fall Apart — the most widely read book in modern African literature – to the tribal leaders of the Ogidi community in Anambra State in the Niger Delta for burial.
The body of Prof. Achebe, who died on 21 March 2013 in the United States, is to be buried on 23 May 2013 in Ogidi. President Goodluck Jonathan and other Nigerian leaders are expected to attend the ceremony at St. Philip’s Anglican Church. However Chief S. Okoli, the Regent of Ogidi, said that as Prof. Achebe was a “titled man” he would be buried according to Igbo customs, his body line state in a yam barn attended by “daughters of the clan” and buried at midnight.
However the novelist’s family said Prof. Achebe was a devout Christian and would have preferred a church burial. Nor would his wife be required to perform the tribal rituals for widow at the time of the death of her husband, the novelist’s niece Mrs. Ngozi Ezedum told Punch. The Church of Nigeria had abolished the “widowhood rites because they were repugnant to good conscience” she said, adding her aunt would not be required to shave her head, drink the water used to bathe her husband’s corpse, sit on the floor and sleep in the same room with the body until the funeral.
“She will not even wear any mourning clothes black or white. The Anglican Church doesn’t want that anymore,” Mrs. Ezedum said.