#97 | Sin é, Achebe: Translating the Great Nigerian Novel into Irish

The Irish for a Prime Minister is Príomh-Aire; Taoiseach is specifically the title of the Prime Minister of Ireland and it comes from the old word for a tribal chief. This word is still used on the Nuacht on those occasions when an African tribal chief is in the news – older listeners might remember references to “An Taoiseach Bhutelezi”.

This isn’t the only time that Irish and African imaginations have dreamed the same dream. When Chinua Achebe set about to write his great novel, Nigeria was not yet an independent state and gripped by a debate on language not unlike that in Ireland. He chose a line from a poem by W.B. Yeats to name his story about the collapse of a social order. What inspired him to do so?

In today’s episode, Ola Majekodunmi chats to Darach about “Titeann Rudaí as a Chéile”, Irene Duffy Lynch’s Irish language translation of “Things Fall Apart”. She tells Darach about the place of the novel in Nigerian culture in contrast to European novels set in Africa, the positive and negative lessons that Achebe took from Ireland and considers other African novels she’d love to see translated as Gaeilge.

Today’s episode also includes a contribution from the lads at “Pints of Malt”, Headstuff’s Nigerian-Irish podcast, on Achebe’s masterpiece and their experiences with Irish.

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