Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor

Hello, it’s me.

I recently read an African sci-fi novel from a feminist author, YAAS. If you remember, I vowed to only read from African authors primarily, women take priority over men. Should I compromise on this vow I’ll read from people of color, but NO WHITE AUTHORS.

Back to the Goddess, Nnedi Okorafor. I met her. At African Futures, I was there specifically to hear her reading and hopefully get to chat with her (which I did) and she is lovely. I love that she read her book the way I did with the little voice in my head, we might be soul-twins.

About the book. It’s set in the future, a distant future where computers are ancient and traditional magic practices are widely accepted. That’s what I first loved about it. Perhaps it speaks to my belief that in order for us to move forward we should remember who we are and love ourselves? I’m not referring to that imaginary pre-colonialism Africa was a happy peaceful place when we all shat rainbows and farted out fairy-dust, I’m looking at you traditionalist, sexist African man. Anyway, yes, the story follows Onyenoswu (translated: Who fears death) who is a magical being born of evil and goes on to save the world. Not exactly like that, she’s a “normal” girl, she gets her mensies, she falls in love and does the sex, she makes friends and they fight, she hates authority and is a spoiled brat – I know, sounds just like me, right? That’s precisely what makes this book addictive. It’s *relatable.

And when I was done with it, well, I had that gap left in one’s soul at the end of December vacation. I miss the friends I made in the book and I want to read them again, I want to know if my favorite couples makes babies.

(*My spell-check thinks this isn’t a real word, lol)

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My encounter with Sane people of faith

I had the opportunity last week to attend a summit hosted by a Faith organization. Theme was “Citizenship in a Democratic society”, organized by the Inter-Faith Action for Peace in Africa (IFAPA).

The moment I read “Faith” I was ready to shut down my mind because the few times before this summit that I had consciously engaged with Faith-ists,  it was with Christians who wanted to force me to believe in Jesus, or with newly-converted Muslims who were shaming me for exposing skin – you know how excited and radical people get. Needless to say, I wasn’t very excited – until I thought to the believers I’ve seen on my twitter and how practical their discussions were, I decided that the IFAPA summit is something my mind was ready to experience.

I will not write out a summary for you on here, no. Instead I want to share with you what I picked up from the summit. I must say, it was brain-stimulating and my mind had the best time there – best decision I’ve made for my knowledge bank this year.

1. Youth are bound to mimic their predecessors

The most part of socialization is through copy-cat mechanisms, and while we all know this our elders like to lead their lives with a “Do as I say and not as I do” attitude knowing very well that it’s not quite as successful as it ought to be. It’s unfortunate that there is also a fast-growing gap between generations which is somewhat of a barrier to inter-generational communications. It becomes challenging for adults and youths to engage and advise each other on matters where one knows better than the other, without triggering defensiveness and rejection.

2. Religious communities fail to relate to the use

At the summit, they used the word “brainwash” in referring to how they would like to encourage youths to be active members of institutions of faith.  Although not to mean it in the negative sense, the term itself carries a negative implication because we understand it to be manipulating one’s mind into agreeing/doing/believing. This said to me that these institutions cannot relate to us, and this is a contributing to inter-generational gap which we seem to be struggling with already. This is not helped by the conflict between religions, and the geo-economic boundaries between the youths themselves also counters the efforts to facilitate integration and practice tolerance.

How do we talk to each other if we can’t be in the same space together?

 

You can read the tweet-summaries of my favorite speeches here on my story account at LindelwaR

a) Inter-Faith Relations & Society’s development

b) Citizenship in a Democratic Society 

c) The right to Food