You should check out my mom's (yes, as in my own mother's) blog - Akuko Ifo (honestly, it is too late in the day for me to start searching for o's and u's with dots under them...and yeah, you're right - in the time it took me to write this, I could have spelled out "Akuko Ifo" properly.) My mom recently started a blog to share some of the folktales she told my brothers and I when we were younger. Please feel free to widely circulate this message to your children and friends with young children. Right now, all she has up is an intro post, but she hopes to have a fresh story up after the Christmas holiday.
I thought I was the only one who could not sit through the completion of Adichie's TED talk, "Danger of a Single Story." Honestly, I think my self-declared fast from Facebook was largely spurned by the inundation of my mailbox and Newsfeed with links to this talk.
First let me admit that I literally swallowed Half a Yellow Sun after dinner one night, and nearly felt somewhat depressed when I started inching towards the final pages of the novel because I so desired the book to go on, and on, and on. To say that Adichie is an amazing storyteller, would be quite the understatement. I have not yet had the chance to pick up her collection of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck (Christmas gift, anyone?).
Yes, call me a hater, but I felt that at least the first few minutes that I did happen to slug through were somewhat tiresome. Literally, it was the "single story" that I have heard countless numbers of Nigerian, Ghanaian, Jamaican immigrants tell over again, but this time, more eloquently and on a more public stage...
Young person fetishizes the West...person grows up and travels to this West...person becomes increasingly jaded with the West and its apparent love affair with itself (to the ignorance of other non-Western countries)...person becomes more aware of the beauty and diversity of his/her African identity (primarily through Western outlets which were hitherto thought of as inaccessible in home country)...person shuns western dress and takes interest in rocking dashikis and African headwraps...
And true, as someone has mentioned to me in the past, Adichie's loudest critics happen to be men - see here and here - which was why I was initially hesitant to bring attention to yet another male who just doesn't get our collective love affair with Adichie. Beyond calling attention to the fact that several Nigerian stories were well-established around the time of Adichie's birth, Nnorum Azuonye also points out the apparent contradiction behind Adichie's talk...
The jaundice in The Danger of a Single Story is that Ms Adichie was in fact perpetuating stereotypes. Anyone who does not know better who watches that presentation would conclude that all Westerners refer to Africa as a country. We know this is not true. There is a lot of it going on, but it is not standard by any stretch of the imagination. Never mind that Africans, especially Nigerians are guilty of insinuating that Africa is a country. Many times in the United Kingdom, you ask a Nigerian where he comes from. Afraid of admitting to being a Nigerian and being consigned to the heap of criminals...he would say he comes from Africa. He would only admit the Nigerian connection if the person asking knows Africa is a continent and questions further, ‘what part of Africa do you come from?’ Interestingly, some would respond to this more specific question with a neither here nor there answer; ‘my Dad originally comes from Lagos, and my mother is from Benin.’ If pushed further, he will say, ‘Make it Lagos. I come from Lagos.’Azuonye forgot to add that yes, while some Westerners find Africa as the bastion of poverty and disease, several of our compatriots have also made careers off of such saving some nebulous creature called Africa. I would suggest taking a peek at the essay yourself...and if Azuonye also sounds tiresome, by all means, change the page in search of yet another single story.
H/T Aloofar for the link
Have been a little slow with social media updates since the holidays so forgive me if I wasn't aware of this earlier.
Texas in Africa describes the recent partnership between Twitter and (RED) to celebrate World AIDS Day as a "failure." I wholeheartedly agree. December 1, a day when the entire world promotes AIDS awareness, Twitter has decided to highlight all tweets with the word Africa in red thereby reinforcing an inextricable link between Africa and AIDS.
Seriously, why? Was not aware that today was Africa AIDS day....missed the memo.