Google celebrates late Nigerian writer Buchi Emecheta

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A new Google doodle which featured an African woman writing, was put up to celebrate Nigeria’s late popular writer Buchi Emecheta on Sunday to mark what would have been her 75th birthday.

Google Doodle is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages intended to commemorate holidays, events, achievements and notable historical figures.

Born to Igbo parents in the Lagos suburb of Yaba on July 21 in 1944, Florence Onyebuchi (Buchi) Emecheta, moved to the U.K. in 1962, with her husband and first two children.

“She had another two, and, at the age of 22, pregnant with a fifth, left her husband and set off on her own.

“She supported her five children by working at a library, pursued her Sociology degree, all while working tirelessly on her novels— usually at the kitchen table as her children played,” the story shared with the doodle said.

Her son Sylvester Onwordi recalled that as an immigrant single mother battling poverty in the slums of 1960s London, she would draw her five small children around her, light candles, and delight them with what she called her “Moonlight tales”.

He said that according to her mother, the stories were what she had learned at twilight by the light of a hurricane lamp from her aunts in the village, or imbibed at her father’s knee during her family’s internal exile in Lagos.

For the young Nigerian girl who dreamed even then of being a writer, these tales were like umbilical threads connecting the lonely orphan she became with the lost world of mythical ancestors and her beloved home town of Ibusa.

Over the course of her life, Emecheta published 16 novels, including: “In The Ditch, Second-Class Citizen”, and “Slave Girl”, as well as her 1986 autobiography, “Head Above Water.” She also wrote several plays for stage, TV and radio.

Her first novel, In The Ditch, echoes the unhappiness of her marriage. In the novel, a fictionalised alter-ego Adah daydreams of becoming a writer while living with a violent husband in horrendous conditions.

Although she resisted labelling herself a “feminist” author, much of Emecheta’s writing addressed issues of gender and race.

Emecheta suffered a stroke in 2010 and died in London on 25 January 2017.