Achebe was a brave African - Mbeki

Thabo Mbeki says all Africans need to remember Chinua Achebe as a great novelist.

Thabo Mbeki says all Africans need to remember Chinua Achebe as a great novelist. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Former president Thabo Mbeki today remembered Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe as a "very brave African" and an important leader for the continent.

Achebe, regarded by millions as "the father of African literature", is perhaps best known for his seminal novel "Things Fall Apart" - an exploration of colonialism in Africa.

It was confirmed today that he died in a Boston hospital at the age 82.

Mbeki said the news of Achebe's death came as a shock.

He described the writer not only as a distinguished African novelist but also as a thinker and social critic.

The former president said Achebe dreamt of a Africa that was free of corruption.

"[He dreamt of Africa] without corruption and its politics, without corruption in the economy and what we do to ourselves and by ourselves."

Mbeki said many children grew up with Achebe's books and his thinking.

He said Achebe inspired a belief that Africans need to improve of their condition.