Chinua Achebe was heralded by many as the patriarch of modern African literature.

Having started his career with the 1958 novel Things Fall Apart, which presented the colonization of Africa from an African perspective for the first time ever, he was highly respected the world over. Nelson Mandela referred to Achebe as “the author, who introduced Africa to the world”, because of his work educating and creating awareness of African cultures and way of life.

Sadly, Chinua Achebe passed away at the age of 82. Achebe died on Friday in Boston, after a brief illness. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan called him "a cultural icon" and said that his "frank, truthful and fearless interventions in national affairs will be greatly missed at home in Nigeria." Achebe’s heritage spans a considerable volume of work, including five novels in addition to edited collections of modern African literature, essays, poems, short stories and children’s books, though he remains best known for “Things Fall Apart” – an honest, inside look at the impact of colonization on the African way of life.

Achebe wrote the novel, which focuses on an African man on the border between the old and the new in English, a literary choice which drew many criticisms. Many critics proposed that Achebe should have used the native Igbo language, but the author’s main point was that he wanted to speak not just to Africa, but to the world at large. With all of the recognition his work has received, it’s safe to say that Chinua Achebe fulfilled his wish.