Posted on Sun 18 Aug 2019, 09:27 AM

Florence Onyebuchi Emecheta was born on 21 July 1944, in Lagos, Nigeria, to Igbo parents, Alice (Okwuekwuhe) Emecheta and Jeremy Nwabudike.  Her father was a railway worker and moulder. 

Due to the gender bias of the time, the young Buchi was initially kept at home while her younger brother was sent to school; but after persuading her parents to consider the benefits of her education, she spent her early childhood at an all-girl's missionary school. 

When she was nine years old her father died ("of complications brought on by a wound contracted in the swamps of Burma, where he had been conscripted to fight for Lord Louis Mountbatten and the remnants of the British Empire").  

A year later, Emecheta received a full scholarship to Methodist Girls' School in Yaba, Lagos, where she remained until the age of 16 when, in 1960, she married Sylvester Onwordi, a schoolboy to whom she had been engaged since she was 11 years old.

Later that year, she gave birth to a daughter, and in 1961 their younger son was born.

Onwordi immediately moved to London to attend a university, and Emecheta joined him there with their first two children in 1962.

She gave birth to five children in six years, three daughters and two sons

Her marriage was unhappy and sometimes violent, as chronicled in her autobiographical writings such as 1974's Second-Class Citizen.

To keep her sanity, Emecheta wrote in her spare time. However, her husband was deeply suspicious of her writing, and he ultimately burned her first manuscript, as revealed in The Bride Price, eventually published in 1976. 

That was her first book, but she had to rewrite it after the first version had been destroyed. She later said "There were five years between the two versions. 

At the age of 22, pregnant with her fifth child, Emecheta left her husband. 

While working to support her children alone, she earned a B.Sc (Hons) degree in Sociology in 1972 from the University of London. 

In her 1984 autobiography, Head Above Water, she wrote: "As for my survival for the past twenty years in England, from when I was a little over twenty, dragging four cold and dripping babies with me and pregnant with a fifth one - that is a miracle. 

She went on later to gain her PhD from the university in 1991. 

Buchi Emecheta died on the 25th of January, 2017 at the age of 72

On 21 July 2019, which would have been Emecheta's 75th birthday,Google commemorated her life with a Dood

Credit: Wikipedia

 

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