‘How to Write About Africa’: A Tribute to Binyavanga Wainaina

I started reading at a time when many will consider late, but I can say that I fell in love with African fiction harder than many others. One of the first books I read then was written by this brilliant author. The book title ‘One day I will write about this place’ is a memoir. I love reading books that give me an experience and this one, I can promise, does just that.  One of my favorites parts of the book is in the first chapter where the authors describes water. I can say I have never been more thirstier!

The first knowledge I had of his death was from a post made by Chimamada Ngozi Adiche announcing his death. I am sure my heart broke into pieces at the time as I really looked forward to another book from him. Immediately, I went to check if he wrote anything else since his memoir. I came across this article titled ‘How to Write About Africa’ and honestly, it was the most intriguing thing since…..since! To introduce you lovely readers to my literary hero, I decided to do a summary of this piece of perfection below.

How to write about Africa

biny

1. A cover with only prominent Africans. Or if you must, include a picture of one ina a Masai or Zulu or Drogon dress

2. The modern African is a fat man who steals or works in the Visa office refusing to give work permits to qualified westerners………an enemy of development who makes it difficult for the good hearted expats to set up NGOs or Legal Conservation Areas

3. The starving African must be included with your hero a beautiful tragic international celebrity/aristocrat who bathes, feeds and can teach them.

4.You must describe in detail mutilated genitals, naked breasts, dead bodies, the real Africa – suffering filthy people, and finally no dead/suffering white people

5.Describe Africa as bright with big and red sunsets, and big sky.

 

I’m back baby! and (you deserve an explanation)

Dear 365-ers,

I really owe you an explanation for my abrupt absence………….for 2 whole years. Hmm and indeed, there is a lot to be said but now I am back and cross my heart not to go missing again. As for your pending questions, the answers are simple:

where have I been? School! I started my degree in Law in the summer of 2017 and might I say, it took over my life. Errmm…..and  during the holidays? I fell out of love with reading and writing (a whole conversation deserving its own post) because I had to do at such a high intensity for school and so the idea of coming home to write did not appeal to me at all. Also, to be honest, my whole summer was spent going from one internship to another and there was really no time.

What has changed? Obviously, the fact that I am back because I missed you all and the ever supportive community of bloggers here (Hello Oluchi). They say absence makes the heart fonder, and it really does. In the time I have taken away from here, I have missed writing this and I am glad to be back.

What happens when you get tired of writing again? Before this, I always felt the pressure to tell just stories as that was all I thought I had to say. However, I must say I have grown to a point where I now understand that even being unable to tell a story is something worth discussing given it is a natural part of life to fall in and out of love with what we do. Lets just say, I have changed gears and have come into a new learning curve. This one is about learning not to quit even when the going gets tough. The best part is that now that this has been said, I have you 365-ers here to hold me accountable.

Before I go on to post my first post of this new, I have to declare my love for you readers and your support for my posts (imperfections and all). Yes, I know that we are a dot in the grand spectrum of the internet (some may even consider us too small to have a name like 365-ers) but I still owe you my appreciation. Thanks for reading, commenting, liking and supporting.

Yours truly,

Her..