Now that I went Afro kinky here is a piece I stumbled upon that speaks for itself.
Anxious, excited, eager, nervous
But ready, I stretched out my arms
For life to hand me The book
That book with my life story
Only to open the book and see
Blank staring back at me
I flung the book back at life
I asked for the book of my story
complete in ink, finished so
I am here sitting, staring, waiting
Waiting for the book of my story.
Tom Odhiambo a University of Nairobi Literature Lecturer also had something to say about Chimamanda. Have a look.
There will be nothing
No looking into eyes
No Friday night movies
No sleeping-in Saturdays
No brunch Sundays
No long drives outta town
No singing along to music
No stolen kisses
No calls in the break of dawn
No long calls in the dead of the night
Nothing but you and me
You there; me here
Reaching out to memories
Hoping against hope
That time will not break us
I write this post with a lot of feelings in my heart.
Okay, I know you are wondering who is this favourite author and why we are talking about feelings. I was on my computer doing stuff on the net last week, as I always do, when I came across this post saying that my fave author is going to Kenya. I was super excited!!!! Then I looked around me and immediately I was reminded that I am miles away from home and I felt my heart sink, sink, sink…
Chimamanda Adichie Ngozi. This is my favourite contemporary author. She has been around for a while now but you almost didn’t hear people drop her name loosely in conversations a few years ago. I first read Chimamanda when I was a 2nd year undergrad and immediately fell in love with her writing. I read ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ and was amazed at how well she could craft a story in the backdrop of the Biafra War, and have characters so believably created that I felt like I was transported back in time to their life and reality.
Being a young girl then who had this dream to write I asked myself if I can/ would ever be able to write such a book. I went on to look at the various realities that I could create my stories around, I mean Chimamanda had the war in Nigeria. I looked back through my young life and I could not see any significant reality that I could weave my story – if ever I would get to write one – around. Looking at all the writers I have read especially African authors, this concept is there. They lived some of the realities that so often is visible in their writing; ‘The Ngugis’ have the colonial era to weave their stories around, what could I possibly have?
I left that question shelved somewhere in my mind and picked up my next book.
Then I read ‘Americanah’ . A book so beautifully crafted. I read this book when I was about to go through change in my life and I could relate with what I read. I read about being African out of Africa, about race, about identity and finally about hair. ‘Americanah’ could not have come at a better time; it awakened something in my heart and finally I knew the answer to my question when I was an undergrad. I might not have lived the realities of the generation of old, I might not have the war, the colonization, but I have lived the realities of today and that is where my story is. This is what the young people of today must do; we must tell our stories, we must write our realities on paper because unless we put pen to paper we historically do not exist.
p.s. for now I live with the amazing pictures people posted on social media from the Chimamanda event last week and hope against hope that soon I get to meet my favourite contemporary writer. Maybe she will stumble across this piece on thewordsounds sometime and give me a shout…oh well
Let’s talk hair-
I hope you have had a great week. I have had a super great one and most of it was spent thinking about my hair. A few years ago, I woke up and decided that I am ‘locking’ my hair. You know, long before every Jane and Maria locked their hair and back then I only knew a few people who had their hair in locks. But this is not what this post is about so…
Long story short, I am in a point where I have to cut my locks. I
know knew that I had to cut my hair at some point when change came knocking in my door. What I did not know is that it will be so hard for me to finally get the courage to pick up the pair of scissors and cut it. I keep going back to the days when the journey with my locks started, how hard it was, the numerous visits to my hairdresser, and finally to this last year when they grew and became amazingly awesome.
Long before I locked my hair I had on an Afro, a massive afro kinky head, what I did not know is that society gives us an identity based on the kind of hairstyle we keep and as such expects us to assume the new identity effortlessly. When I finally put on locks people started asking me if I liked reggae, if I am a Rastafarian and when I replied in the negative I was met with some blank faces. At first I used to try explain to people that it is just but a lifestyle, then I got tired and let them be.
Others just assumed that since I am in locks then I am some sort of a rebel, a revolutionist, a puritan, an Africanist…and such other words. While I let this people be in private I started analyzing these terms against my personality and yes I could see a resemblance and when I later gained my footing and had my life in perspective in terms of what I wanted to do and the sort of things I will care and fight for then the terms/ words used by people started falling in line with what I was doing.
I always wonder if the society can actually influence you, give you labels, sit back and watch you take on the labels they have given you like they are your normal dresses or shirts. Is this what was happening to me or did I put on locks subconsciously yet at the back of my mind this was in line with the greater scheme of things in my life…
Oh well, we might never know. Just like I do not know now why I am hesitating to cut the locks even if I know that I gotta cut them.
How about we talk after I go Afrokinky again
The thing with new beginnings is that you are trending on uncharted paths, you are pretty unsure of most things and there are a lot of false starts in there. But this is also the time that defines the next phase of your life so you know how important it is. However, if you are like me, you might keep reaching out to the past long gone and recalling it to the present. This, while offering you some sort of comfort is not the best of things to do. It will only make your start a little harder. As such do let us get our footing in the present and look to the future as we make this baby steps.
This one is for those struggling with change, hang in there.