Chukwuemeka Ike Reunites with our Ancestors: Are the Veterans Leaving African Literature in Good Hands?
We do not mourn men like Chukwuemeka Ike because they do not actually leave us. We know that their journeys to the land of the spirits did not begin on the day they hosted death. So when we scoop a handful of tributes, we do not do so at the dictates of grief. We do so to manure their legacies. We do so to ─ as Chukwuemeka himself would say ─ ‘to heap sand around the waist’ of the trees they added to the orchard of creativity and African Literature.
Here at EBOquills, we will not join our voices in the dirge. We will not let tears make its furrows on our cheeks. We will not let sorrow lodge in our hearts, for after a harvest (of stories), every farmer must return. And it is only wise that we rejoice with the man whose baskets and barns have seen the blessings of his chi, whose table had and still has something for us and who the gods cannot but smile at.
However, we must bear in mind that when the music stops, the dancers must catch their breath, hence, we that yet dance must take a moment to re-examine our dance-steps. Are you the weevil in the basket of African stories that our ancestors have been collecting? Are you not bleaching your black voice (that is if voices truly have colors) to get Western attention? Are you not putting away our locust beans and other African spices from your creative delicacies because the judges at nearly every contest cannot stand the smell? Are you not diluting our heritage just so it does not corrode the narcissism of those who are giving you a platform?
As you write tributes and send goodwill messages to the family of the deceased, string along the questions above. Try to answer them sincerely.