Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Of Writers, Writing On Conflicts and Wars in Africa

In his latest review, Ikhide Ikheloa asks the type of questions that keep me sleepless, questions that add to the existential and moral anguish I face as a writer of African descent. "What is the role of the writer in shaping events in today's Africa? What is the best medium for forcing the people to focus brightly on the fires that burn so fiercely all around Africa? Is this generation of African writers self-absorbed and narcissistic, and why?"
These questions appear to be parts of what the book he is reviewing either directly or indirectly do. The book in question, a collection of essays, edited by Okey Ndibe and Chenjerai Hove.
As usual, a beautiful review. ENJOY


  1. Greetings Mr Eze! This one burns me and makes my head hurt! Indeed, why the turmoil? I was at Soulbrother V.2 blog and he's talking about seizing control of our narratives as black people. On Abagond's blog he's imagining a world of black supremacy and how black women would be viewed in it. Alot of black existential musings lately, and I think it's a good thing. I have that throbbing sinus headache that comes when I think of the frustrations and issues of black folks. Sigh! As for Sister Yvonne Owuor question, I think a better question is why wouldn't the west look at their wars as full of valor! Why is it soooo important for us blacks to have the west validate us? Why is it so important what they think? The review itself shakes me to my own soul's roots!!!! I feel like crying this minute, but I'm at work and can't (or won't).
    "Why is the world indifferent to the travails of Africa"? A better question: Why are Africans in the continent and Africans in the diaspora and the African children of the stolen Africans (that's every last African who claims it)so indifferent to the travails of Africa? Why do we look outside of ourselves for validation and actually expect it? Grrrrrr, I can just scream!! In my own blog I ask the question: Should blacks world wide create alliances? Is it irrelevant and is it politically correct?
    Now that my soul is shaking from the roots, I better sit down to a cup of tea, no sugar!

  2. Renee, dear. I share your concerns. I was sharing my idea somewhere else with a friend and it occurred to me that sometimes if we fail to ask relevant questions we might end up providing irrelevant answers. One thing I strongly believe in is that every human being, especial a person of African descent should be disturbed about the state of Africa today. That, however, is not, never, a reason to feel so depressed as to let it all disrupt one humble contribution to life in general. I remember being knocked senseless by some inexplicable headache for about two weeks when the Rwandan genocide erupted in 1994. I was in Germany then and I thought that every pair of German eyes burned a hole in me.
    But I remember taking an oath then: do my best in my own field, be the best I can be. This has guided me and keeps on guiding me till date. I swore that anyone who meets me will go away happy that s/he has met a decent human being regardless of my origin, Nigeria, and my skin color.
    It is of course, bogus for someone to talk of Black supremacy when people in different black communities haven’t yet understood one another, and, like in Chicago where I reside, when black youths hunt fellow black youths.
    I agree with you that it is wrong to look to the West for validation of our humanity. That is perhaps where I might fault Owuor; where I faulted Chimamanda who appears overly interested in the West’s image of Africa. I ask with you: why not ignore the gaze of the West and dig deep within to know what is wrong with us.
    The truth is that every culture in this world that prides itself as foreword-looking has done that. Europe went through that process of rigorous self-examination which included brutal, population-decimating wars that lasted even till the last decade. But they asked important questions. Africa, (and if I may add, Islam) still avoids confronting the evil within. The result is occasional burst of anger and violence that though directed at the other (the oppressor) ends up hurting one.
    I’m rambling, right. I don’t believe I alliances; I believe in individual responsibility, doing your best to put smile on the face of whoever happens to know you.
    Keep the faith – as Travis Smiley would always say

  3. We at least have the right to rant, ramble, rave, and whatever else, I guess. Thanks Mr. Eze. I'm calmed down now, yes, keep the faith!