Connecting to Africa

The hardest thing about moving permanently to the continent, is when you’ve not yet moved permanently to the continent. I’m currently in this limbo. I am back in London, (albeit for my graduation – congratulate me) and I wake up every morning or so missing Ghana and all its quirkiness.

So I read. At the moment I’m reading The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. Bought it off Amazon. It’s a throwback to an era I shouldn’t recognise but do, because in many ways Ghana hasn’t changed in its six decades of independence. Most of the time I’m reading this book on the way to a conference or something. In these conferences, young professionals (often Second Generation Africans) highlight the dilemma of not knowing where to start in helping the continent.

Answer: Read.

Not the expected answer? No. And it won’t be clear how that would be of any help, but it is. It was the reading of articles and journals when I was a small teenager that opened my mind up to Africa. It was Things Fall Apart (as it often is for people) that spurred an activist in me to find a dignified hybrid between our inherited culture and our adopted culture. It was Chimamanda’s Half Of A Yellow Sun that made me curious about Nigerian politics. And in almost all of the books I read, especially those about an era with which I should not be familiar, my familiarity with the characters, the situation, the dilemmas highlighted how much things haven’t changed.

I won’t wait for a 21st Century African government to identify the areas in which they want to see change. I will let the authors of times gone by tell me what they wanted changed way way back.

[UPDATE: My friends have started this awesome thing called Afrikult which is all about reading African stories. Find them on all the major social media platforms and broaden your horizons]

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