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Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina seeks to unite everyone in love with African continent under a movement called the Upright People Movement.

If you follow Binyavanga Wainaina on Twitter, you know that for the past week or so he’s been drawing up a list of what he calls “upright” people.

The expansive list, which he continues to update, includes the likes of Teju Cole, Chimamanda Adichie, Taiye Selasi, Nigerian dancer Kudus Onikeku, Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu, Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe, South African artist Zanele Muholi, Nigerian book critic Ikhide Ikheloa, and Nigeria’s former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan.

This list of name isn’t just a random favorite-people catalogue. It looks like it is the ideological basis of a movement that Wainaina is calling the Upright People Movement. Our search for more information about the movement led to an essay by Wainaina published in Expound Magazine and a video shot by Kamau John (watch it below).

In the essay, Wainaina defines “upright” as a term that refers to “people who love the continent, and those who have its best interests at heart.” He envisions a “social media movement” that organizes these Africa-loving individuals under one purpose: “harness[ing] the power of everybody to make sure Africa has power this century” and that “we can be listened to.”

It’s an open movement, so “everyone is welcome.” By everyone, Binyavanga means the vast global community of Africans, the black diaspora, and even Europe. The only people who are excluded are those who “have any doubts that this century is Africa’s century.”

Apparently, it’s easy to join the movement. Here is Wainaina’s recent tweet about how to become “upright.”

binyavanga-wainaina-upright

While all the key aspects of the movement aren’t entirely clear, we are certainly intrigued by the idea that grounds it. The idea of building a global community around Africa as something lovable is fascinating.  We are particularly curious about how it might open up a new discourse on Africa–one that is based on love.

 

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Post image by Erik (HASH) Hersman via Flickr.

Facebook link image is an adaptation of an image by m.a.r.c. via flickr.

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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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