Image: porfinenafrica.com

One of the foremost Nigerian female writers and literary icons of the twentieth century, Buchi Emecheta, passed away yesterday, the 25th of January 2017, at the age of 72.

Emecheta was born on the 21st of July 1944 in Lagos Nigeria to parents from Ibusa, Delta state.

She married at the early age of sixteen, and moved to London, UK with her husband, Sylvester Onwordi, and over the following six years, gave birth to five children.

Her marriage was however unhappy, and sometimes violent and at the age of 22, she left her husband, and while working to support her five children alone, she earned a BSc degree in Sociology at the University of London.

In 1972 and 1974, she published her first and second books, In The Ditch and Second-Class Citizen, which were semi-autobiographical accounts of her real life experiences. The two books were later published in one volume in 1983 under the title, Adah’s Story.

However, The Joys of Motherhood, is Emecheta’s most popular novel. The book, as well as most of her other work, featured themes of motherhood, female independence and freedom and was a major influence on many female contemporary Nigerian writers such as Chimamanda Adichie, Sefi Atta and Nnedi Okoroafor.

In these days of increasing global as well as local recognition of female empowerment, writers such as Emecheta, the recently remembered Flora Nwapa among others, are reminders that feminism did not begin from the West but has been fought diligently and graciously from the past.

They might be gone but their legacy will surely and definitely live on.

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Author: Aderonke Adeleke

Writer. Music lover. Movie junkie. Social Media Enthusiast. Aspiring dancer. Aspiring photographer. Social Introvert.