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.
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]