Buchi Emecheta: Joys of Motherhood Author Passes On At 72

Nigerian novelist and the first successful black woman novelist living in Britain after 1948, Buchi Emecheta, has been reported dead.

Available information says that the brilliant African storyteller passed on at the age of 72 in her home in the UK. She died in her sleep on Wednesday.

She was born as Florence Onyebuchi  Emecheta (but professionally called Buchi Emecheta) into an Igbo-Delta family.

The daughter of a railway worker had a firsthand experience of gender inequality as her brothers went to school and she stayed back at home. With the death of her father, she made it to school through a scholarship she won in a missionary school.

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At the age of 16, she was married. Soon she relocated to the UK with her husband who was to study there. Amidst a turbulent marriage, Buchi worked to support her 5 children and still went on to earn a BSc degree in Sociology at the University of London.

In her spare time, Buchi who worked as a librarian and a community worker at different times, practiced the art of writing. Little did she know that she would become an authority in the field.

In time she became a visiting professor who traveled all over the United States, the UK and Africa to give lectures.

Buchi Emecheta is a Nigerian literary figure whose works had so much nearness to history and reality that many identified with her perspective on various issues.

Just like Chinua Achebe had the effortless skill of driving home the point with familiar imagery and a largely simple diction, Buchi skillfully carries her readers along and about ordinary events, making it captivating.

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She authored over 20 books; one of which included an all-time classic, The Joys of Motherhood.

Found recurring in the themes of her works include elements of African womanhood, pre- and post-colonialism and the intricacies of life.

Buchi Emecheta had personally described her novels as “stories of the world”.

She published 16 novels which includes The Bride Price, Second-Class Citizen, Destination Biafra, Slave Girl; an autobiography- Head Above Water, 6 articles, 2 plays and other works for children.

Amongst a host of international recognitions, the talented writer Buchi won the Jock Campbell Award from the New Statesman in 1979. In 1983 Granta magazine listed her as one of the Best of the Young British Novelists.  

Buchi Emecheta is a one of a kind writer. She motivated a host of female African writers who came after her. She will be missed.

May her soul  rest in peace.