ANSWER: in 1967
The Life and Works of Christopher Okigbo
Christopher Ifekandu Okigbo was a renowned Nigerian poet and publisher who lived from 16 August 1932 to 1967.
He was born in Ojoto, a town in present-day Anambra State, Nigeria.
Okigbo was the second child of his parents and had three siblings.
His father, Mr. James Okigbo, was a clerk in the Nigerian Railway Corporation.
Okigbo began his education at St. Michael’s Primary School, Ojoto, and later went to Christ the King College, Onitsha, for his secondary education.
After completing his secondary education, Okigbo got a job as a clerk in the Nigerian Tobacco Company in Lagos.
However, he soon realized that he was not cut out for a career in the corporate world and quit his job to focus on his passion for writing.
In 1958, Okigbo published his first collection of poems, “Heavensgate,” which was well-received and won critical acclaim.
The Citadel Press
In 1960, Okigbo co-founded The Citadel Press with two of his friends, Chinua Achebe and Christopher Enweremadu.
The Citadel Press was an influential publishing house that was instrumental in promoting African literature and providing a platform for African writers to showcase their work.
Okigbo was the driving force behind the press and was responsible for editing many of its publications.
The Nigerian Civil War
Unfortunately, the success of The Citadel Press was short-lived.
In 1967, the Nigerian Civil War broke out, and Okigbo, who was a staunch supporter of the Biafran cause, joined the Biafran army as a volunteer.
Okigbo was appointed as the Chief of Staff of the Biafran Army’s 4th Battalion.
He fought bravely in several battles and was instrumental in securing victory for the Biafran forces in many instances.
However, Okigbo’s stint in the army was short-lived.
On August 2, 1967, Okigbo was killed in action during the Battle of Biafra.
His death was a huge loss to the Nigerian literary community, and many of his contemporaries mourned his passing.
Okigbo’s Literary Legacy
Despite his short life, Okigbo left behind a lasting legacy as one of Nigeria’s most celebrated poets.
His poetry was characterized by its lyrical quality, vivid imagery, and poignant social commentary.
Okigbo’s work often dealt with themes of identity, freedom, and the search for meaning in a rapidly changing world.
His poetry has been translated into several languages, including French, German, and Italian, and has been published in numerous anthologies.
Okigbo’s work continues to inspire a new generation of African writers and is celebrated around the world for its depth and originality.
In conclusion, Christopher Okigbo was a gifted poet and publisher who made significant contributions to the Nigerian literary community during his short life.
His work was characterized by its depth, originality, and social commentary.
Although Okigbo’s life was cut short by the Nigerian Civil War, his legacy lives on through his poetry and the impact he had on the Nigerian literary scene.