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Johannesburg - Renowned author and thinker Chinua Achebe, who died in the United States, was a legendary figure in African literature, President Jacob Zuma said on Friday.
“I have learnt with great sadness of the passing of this colossus of African writing,” Zuma said in a statement.
Achebe, who worked as a professor at Brown University, died on Thursday at the age of 82.
His most famous work is the critically-acclaimed “Things Fall Apart”.
Published in 1958, the novel has sold several million copies around the world and is considered one of the finest pieces of English African literature.
Zuma acknowledged the novel's impact on people on the continent.
“It was in his famous novel 'Things Fall Apart' that many Africans saw themselves in literature and arts, at the time when most of the writing was about Africans, but not by Africans,” he said.
Earlier, Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory spokesman Sello Hatang said Achebe was “a great African writer and thinker”.
“Nelson Mandela referred to professor Achebe as a writer 'in whose company the prison walls fell down'.” - Sapa