Saturday, January 28, 2012

Dispatches from two failed States, Zimbabwe & Nigeria

Two of Africa's contemporary writers, Petina Gappah and Chimamanda N. Adichie, have portraits of their native countries, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. Great writing, a study in contrast in styles and personalities. I have the feeling that these two writers, to the degree that they remain faithful to their temperaments, philosophies and creative outputs, will surely shape African writing in ways Achebe and Soyinka did.

Petina Gappah: "Zimbabwe:
"If Zimbabwe were human, the country would need more years of therapy than its 30 years of independence. According to Foreign Policy, in 2010, Zimbabwe was fourth on the “Failed State Index.” In 2006, it was declared to be the unhappiest place on earth—ahead of Zimbabwe on the “Happiness Index” were countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and North Korea. In 2008, it had inflation rates not seen since the Weimar Republic: prices of goods changed as customers walked to the tills. By any measure, Zimbabweans should just have given up, switched off what little lights remained burning, and hightailed it to the nearest border.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:"Why Are You Here?"
I came at the wrong time. It was mid-March 2011, a few weeks before general elections, and every surface in Lagos—compound walls, gates, even buses—was covered with political posters. “You came at injury time,” the senior teacher at the government junior high school told me. She was small and well-groomed, her blouse awash in ruffles. She looked me over suspiciously. “Why are you here?”

No comments:

Post a Comment