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Chinweizu is a Nigerian critic, poet, journalist and pan-African Philosopher. Though he has identified himself and is known simply as Chinweizu, he was born Chinweizu Ibekwe at Eluoma in Isuikwuato in the part of Eastern Region that is known today as Abia State, and was educated at Government College, Afikpo. He later attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for college education. While studying in America, during the civil rights era, Chinweizu became influenced by the philosophy of a black arts movement. He later enrolled for a Ph.D. at the State University of New York (SUNY), Buffalo[1], under the supervision of political scientist [Claude E. Welch, Jr.[2] Chinweizu apparently had a disagreement with his dissertation committee and walked away with his manuscript, which he got published as The West and the Rest of Us: White Predators, Black Slavers, and the African Elite by the powerhouse New York based Random House in 1975. He took the book to SUNY, Buffalo, where he demanded, and was promptly awarded, his Ph.D. in 1976, one year after he had published the dissertation. Thus, the publication settled his disagreement with his advisors in his favor. The book was highly acclaimed and cited within the field of radical political economy of the 1970s and 1980s.

Chinweizu started teaching overseas, at MIT and San Jose State University. He had returned to Nigeria by the early 1980s, working over the years as a columnist for various newspapers in the country and also creating a visible platform to promote a Pan African consciousness. In Nigeria, he became a literary critic, attacking what he saw as the elitism of some Nigerian authors, particularly Wole Soyinka. Chinweizu was reported in March 2008 by the Nigerian tabloid The Sun still to be single and never married in his 70s.[3] http://www.sunnewsonline.com/images/Chinweizu.jpg Beside Nigerian authors, he also joined issues with Prof Ali Mazrui who though appears as a pan-African scholar, is really more of an Islam apologist.


Like Molefi Asante and Abu Barry, Chinweizu is believed to have been among the major influences on Afrisecal philosophy /Afrisecaism of Francis Ohanyido and some of the younger Pan-African movements.

References

  • Simon Gikandi, Encyclopedia of African Literature, Routledge, 2002
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