The above named title was coined from a recent interview Chimamanda Adichie granted ( I think it’s all over YouTube). I have not watched the video clip but from the title, it is safe to assume that she was talking of the need to project our own stories and not one woven around Famous Five, Barbie, Fawlty Towers and others.
While reading an article on Oprah’s website last week, I came across her book of the month. The title was ‘Say You Are One of Them’, written by Uwem Akpan, a Nigerian author. Anyway, while reading through its’ synopsis, I discovered that the story revolves around genocide and war issues in Africa. If Chimamanda Adichie thinks that there is a danger in projecting stories from a particular race, I agree.
However, the danger behind the single story our African writers are projecting is a continent of despair, famine, inter tribal wars, communal strife, voodooism, witchcraft, female subjugation and other dark things you can associate with Africa. No wonder, it is referred to as ‘the dark continent’. Is it just me or am I biased in thinking that for every burgeoning African writer, there’s this urge to centralize their story themes around one war or the other to continually project dark stories to be a potential winner of ‘The Pulitzer Prize, The Caine Prize and other international awards available. I’ve often wondered why books such as ‘A Man of the People’, ‘No Longer at Ease’ or ‘Jagua Nana’ never won international acclaim. Guess, we’ve been feeding the world wrongly.
Why can’t we weave our stories around more positive elements? Why must it be the usual suspects? I am looking forward to the day, an African writer will win the Pulitzer prize for stories woven around more central positive themes than what is prevalent now.
I realize we need to tell our stories and keep it for future generations yet unborn, so they can have an idea of how we waded through the storms to finally find heaven (this is assuming and hoping we do make something bright out of Africa).
I listened to an interactive programme on 101.5FM (Star FM), on my way to the office this morning. It was anchored by Moyo Oyatogun and the topic for discussion was concerning ritual rites performed, when a king passes onto the great beyond. A particular Erelu spoke on this issue extensively for about 10 minutes highlighting the age long tradition (which I believe must be repudiated), involving incision on the body of the late king, hanging the body (like a common criminal)to hydrate, while the heart and some other parts are taken out for preservation for the next king, who is expected to consume these parts upon ascending the throne.
It was ‘Tales of Horror by Daylight’ at its’ best if you ask me. We would be deceiving ourselves if we deny that this hideous practise is not prevalent within most parts of Africa. She also gave some startling revelations about what was done to the late body of Funsho Adeolu (if you ever watched ‘The Village Headmaster’), you’ll know who I’m talking about. She said, his body was hung to dry, while several incisions were made on his body, and some vital organs were removed for rituals and preservation for the next king. This was done before she assumed the title (just in case you’re wondering, what she was doing there). According to her, upon assuming the title of Erelu, the late king appeared to her in a vision, and told her of what was done to his body, and how he was finding it pretty difficult to rest in perfect peace. He led her to the people who committed such atrocities and she demanded for a release of his body parts, so a proper burial could be conducted for the late king.
It was as a result of this, she decided to start a campaign against ritualism and cannibalism. If you are wondering why such a traditionalist should be speardheading this campaign, she spent most of her years outside this country, acquiring education, skills and knowledge before coming back to assume this title. From my own point of view, I find it reprehensible that we are still engaging in such dark practices while the rest of the world (who are saner), are thinking of improving the welfare of their people. This is why Africa will never develop where such people abound. I shudder to think of the innocent souls that have been wasted. I support this campign wholeheartedly, and so did a lot of people who called into the programme to contribute to this topical issue.
My people, we can only get better. Please if you’ve got a blog, discuss this issue and raise more awareness. If you’d like to be involved in the campaign, you can get in touch with the Erelu via: email@example.com (I hope I got it right) and if I did not, do let me know so I can get in touch with the radio station, to obtain the correct email address.
I have been screaming all week and I am done with screaming. I have thought about how I am going to change things about what I do not like. I will be doing this via this blog. If you happen to stop by and observe that, I no longer disscuss financial issues, it’s because I am done with nonentities ruling us in this country.
There’s a need to sensitize our youths on the need to be actively involved in deciding who rules this country. The reason why we have not moved an inch, is because of nonentities who are parading themselves as leaders, within the corridors of power. I am done with mediocrity.