While expressing her grief, Rice had written thus;
“[T]oday is a somber day in Nigeria, as Chinua Achebe was laid to rest in his native village,” Rice wrote. In a following tweet she added “A giant of African lit., he brought the Continent-and Nigeria, in particular-2 the world. His works left lasting impression on me & my gen.”
Interestingly though, Achebe died in March of 2013 at age 82 in Boston after a brief illness. In May of that year, an elaborate funeral with trumpeters, dancing troupes and scores of dignitaries honored the author in his native Nigeria. He was then buried in his hometown of Ogidi.
Rice deleted the tweets after other users of the social media site pointed out her mistake. She kept other tweets about Nigeria, though, including one calling for free and fair elections that linked to a video of President Obama speaking directly to the Nigerian public.
“As they head to the polls in the coming days, the Nigerian people will, as always, find a friend in the United States,” Rice said.
Before a stint as President Barack Obama’s first ambassador to the United Nations, Rice previously served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs under President Bill Clinton.
Achebe was a harsh critic of corruption in Nigerian government and was often at odds with the country’s president, Goodluck Jonathan, who is currently seeking reelection. Jonathan reportedly wanted to hold a state funeral for the writer but relented in favor of a service in Ogidi.