Petina-gappah-okey-ndibe

It’s no news that there is a strong African literary presence on social media.

The scene is vibrant and intellectually stimulating. And while there are shouting matches—only when the Nigerians are in the house—there are also lots of laughs and genuinely delightful moments—like this one.

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The photo was taken at the recently concluded Open Book Festival in Cape Town. On the left is Okey Ndibe, the author of Foreign Gods, Inc. On the right is Petina Gappah, whose new novel The Book of Memory was recently published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

It’s quite possible these two are laughing because the festival is so much fun. We monitored the Twitter updates on the festival and everyone, including speculative fiction writer Lauren Beukes, raved about how wonderful it was. [see the #OBF2015 Facebook timeline HERE]

Or maybe it’s the wine.

We could spend days trying to decode this image and would produce a thousand captions in the process.

But, don’t worry, Gappah saved us the trouble.

When she posted the photo on Facebook, she tagged on this text:

This, right here is the picture that sums up my Cape Town experience. Mati kujabulika ikoko! And for the record, our moderator Andrew Brown had asked Okey Ndibe and I: So, what do you really think of Pa Ikhide. And this was our response [smile emoticon]

The “likes” quickly snowballed and the comments multiplied. The African literary corner of Facebook has been having a field day making fun of Pa Ikhide.

If you don’t know Pa Ikhide and why he is the butt of such literary fun, then sorry your claims to being a fan of African literature is highly suspect.

He is the “baba nla” of the African literary social media. He says what everyone is thinking but no one has the guts to say. He keeps everyone honest and in check. And somehow manages to entertain us in the process. Let’s just say he is loved.

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Pa Ikhide has since responded, in his signature fashion, with threats and counter-threats. But everyone is still laughing at him.

Have a lovely weekend everyone! See you on Monday.

 

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Image via Petina Gappah’ Facebook page.