In Summary
  • We are still stuck in the imagination our colonial mother Britain conceived of us: a place to extract raw materials and exploit. We have been unable to detach ourselves from this perspective.

  • This is why our politicians spend all their time coming up with ways to fleece our economic coffers dry.

  • Because it is still set up in the mold of an institution to extract and repatriate, rather than to nourish and nurture.

  • This colonial imagination is inimical to art and creativity, recognising that they are its ultimate kryptonite.

This was supposed to be an angry feminist piece. This was supposed to be a piece excoriating the West for all the problems of the global black community. This was supposed to be a piece wagging its finger at all people in positions of power (although in a sense, are we not all?) and trenchantly taking down all gatekeepers – cultural, political, economic. This was supposed to be a piece railing and lamenting about all that’s wrong in the world and how it is not fair at all, and someone should do something about everything. But, in the way writing is occasionally wont to do, this piece made its mind up to be something entirely different.

BEST AND BRIGHTEST

It has been a heart breaking year for the literary community. Losing not just its best writers but some of its most fierce and strident defenders of what it really means to be a writer: to be a keeper of the flame of humanity. It was with extremely dark humour that I remarked to Storymoja founder Muthoni Garland on Monday evening, that the death gods surely could have set their eyes on less deserving souls than Pius Adesanmi and Binyavanga Wainaina, both who died early this year. Adesanmi, the Nigerian essayist and academic, died in the March 10 Ethiopian Aircrash, while Binyavanga passed away on May 21 after an illness.

And then now Toni Morrison.

Why, surely, did it have to be our best and brightest taken away?

Toni Morrison will be remembered for a lot of things, but mostly for her centring of the black and black female narrative, presenting their voices and views into the world at a time when they had been devalued and pushed to the periphery.

Her writing was mystical, poetic, sometimes dark and gritty, but the non-literary seeing the world go gaga following her death (she lived a good long life till 88) may only remember her for having won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 and the Pulitzer Prize in 1988. While many writers thumb their noses at prizes and fame and fortune, I want to suggest that this is the thing about her that bears remarking on.

NORMALISED VIOLENCE

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