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Guildford priest to represent Archbishop of Canterbury in Nigeria

Date: 20 May 2013

The Diocese of Guildford’s world mission advisor the Revd Andrew Wheeler will represent the Archbishop of Canterbury at the funeral of African literary giant Chinua Achebe in Nigeria on Thursday May 23.

Andrew will deliver a tribute from Archbishop Justin at the funeral which will be attended by senior figures from across the African continent and the globe.

Over 10,000 people are expected to attend the burial of the man who has been Africa’s leading novelist for the past 50 years and a fierce critic of corruption.

Andrew, chosen to represent Archbishop Justin because of the Diocese of Guildford’s companion link with Nigeria, said it was a privilege to be asked.

He said: “The funeral will be a hugely important event. Chinua Achebe was a towering figure who commanded universal respect, not tarnished by power or corruption.

“He was the Charles Dickens of Africa, with a gift of writing about families and local communities but with a sense of the big changes in African society whether it was colonialism or post-colonialism, tribalism or corruption.

“The fact that the Archbishop has been invited speaks of the Christian rootedness of the family. Achebe’s father was an Anglican evangelist and the funeral will be an Anglican one.

“It is a real privilege to be able to be part of the proceedings and underlines the long-standing relationship between our diocese and Nigeria.”

The funeral will take place at Ogidi, Achebe's home town.

Achebe proverb: “Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

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