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Selasi Mom 13

Taiye’s twin– Yetsa, Dr. Tuakli, and Taiye

I follow African novelists on various social media platforms. The joys of being a blogger.

One of the things I quickly learned about Taiye Selasi is that she is a creature of the hearth. Her family means a lot to her.

I can only imagine that the road to becoming a writer is long, winding, and lonely. Writers often seek support and take comfort in family relationships.  Zimbabwean author, Noviolet Bulawayo, has spoken about the love and support from both her father and sister. For Achebe, it was his mother and later his wife—two women who played a significant role in his life.

Taiye Selasi’s mother Dr. Juliette Tuakli seems to be just such a figure in Selasi’s life. She is part Scottish, part Nigerian. Apart from being a world-renown pediatrician, working for many years in Harvard and now in Ghana, she is the first female president of the Rotary Club of Ghana. In a Wall Street Journal interview, Selasi refers to her mom as “Panther Mom”—that kind of mother that strongly encourages success and instills traditional values in her children. 

I like to think that we can draw inspiration from the folks behind the literary success stories that make the contemporary African literary scene vibrant and alive.

Referring to her mother, Selasi once wrote on Facebook: “Everything that I’ve become and becoming began with you: your love, your determination, your vision, your flair.”

Suggesting similarities between characters in novels and individuals in the life of an author is always tricky, but this passage from Ghana Must Go seems like an appropriate thought to keep in mind as you go through these images of Selasi and her mother.

“They were doers and thinkers and lovers and seekers and givers, but dreamers, most dangerously of all.
They were dreamer-women.
Very dangerous women.
Who looked at the world through their wide dreamer-eyes and saw it not as it was, “brutal, senseless,” etc., but worse, as it might be or might yet become.
So, insatiable women.
Un-pleasable women.”

Enjoy the weekend!

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Selasi Mom in Elle

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Photos Courtesy Taiye Selasi’s Instagram page.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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