One of Nigeria’s famous writers, poets and novelists, Dr. Gabriel Okara, has died at the age of 97.
The poet died at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) just four weeks shy of his 98th birthday.
According to Premium Times, a Nigerian online newspaper, Okara was the first renowned English language black poet and the first modernist writer on the African Continent.
The newspaper goes on to cite some of his greatest achievements such as becoming the first African to be published in the prestigious literary journal, Black Orpheus by 1960, winning the best prize in literature in Nigeria’s festival of arts in 1953 and bagging the highest literary honor in Nigeria, the NLNG prize in 2005.
Tributes have been pouring in on social media for the late poet.
"So a meek wonder held your shadow and you whispered; "Why so?" And I answered: "Because my fathers and I are owned by the living warmth of the earth" – (You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed)
RIP, Gabriel Okara. Your literary achievements is hanging light of warmth and virtue. pic.twitter.com/kHW7muqUFV
— Hon. Ben Igbakpa (@benigbakpa) March 26, 2019
Gabriel Okara; you taught us to use our words as swords indeed we did use it but today depraved deeds have not made the lettered seeds flourish.
Today, we now laugh with our eyes, cry with our ears, and hear with our mouths.
You did better with your words. RIP Gabriel Okara
— Chijioke Izundu (@CjIzundu) March 26, 2019
the death of Gabriel Okara is a monumental loss to the country. What a departure of a true Literary icon. Rest in peace Boss.
— SholaAdeboye (@22c1d81cc2d7475) March 26, 2019