Thursday, January 05, 2006

One day, when I grow up

and I'm a little less rambunctious, I'd like to be able to write like Teju Cole, as he makes sense of his recent trip to Nigeria (I had the immense pleasure of spending a few days with him):

"If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? We begin to understand Africa from the point of view of African normalcy, then we can talk about what is not normal in Africa. We can talk about the way the world fails Africa and the way Africa fails herself. But specificity is the first step in any act of compassion, and naming is knowing. Saying my grandmother’s name is Khalilatu Yusuf and she was born on March 3 1923. Saying her house is on Itun Ajina in Offin, Sagamu some forty-five minutes drive from Lagos. Saying such and such is her experience in life. This is the only way to combat the National Geographic images of Africa, an Africa which is only natural beauty, despotic regimes and heartbreaking poverty, the same partial truths reiterated. This is the way to give meaning to the toll from American military or corporate misadventure. The specificity of the lives and stories."

Click here to read the full text on African specificity.


Teju Cole 5:20 pm  

Aw shucks.

That's very nice of you Jeremy. Thanks for the link- and the admiration is entirely mutual.

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