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Taiye Selasi.

Taiye Selasi has argued against suggestions that South Africa’s cultural atmosphere “isn’t African enough.” She discussed it while speaking with Huffington Post during her visit to the country for the Nirox Words Festival. She counters the idea of Africanness as a phenomenon to be explained away in a monolithic manner.

“What is Africa supposed to feel like?” she asks. “I can be in Accra and drive 45 minutes away and already experience something completely different, so I wouldn’t know what that ‘Africa’ was—that monolithic, one-note, single-story Africa that South Africa is supposedly meant to be more like. In order to say that South Africa doesn’t feel like Africa, you would have to first believe in a huge fallacy, which is that Africa is one thing.”

“You see, I flew into Johannesburg, but I know that this is different to Durban, which is different again from Cape Town, which is why I think the idea of ‘locality’ is so important. To be a local of Cape Town is not the same as to be a local in Jozi. To be a local in Lagos is not the same as to be a local of Accra. So, I think if we can honour those nuances, and celebrate those complexities, then we are so much closer to genuinely celebrating what makes this place unique.”

The Ghana Must Go author, who was among Granta’s “Best of Young British Writers” in 2013, often describes herself in terms of localities rather than origin, with her 2015 TED Talk, “Don’t Ask Where I’m from, Ask Where I’m a Local,” rebelling against conventional tags of culture and supposed identity choices. The talk has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.

Find out more HERE.

 

 

About the Reporter:

Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a poet, essayist and fiction writer and founder of SPRINNG literary movement. He writes from Ibadan, Nigeria. His writings border on the themes of unease, racism, colonialism, terror and all things familiar to the black folk. He describes his art as that specialized literary alchemy which aims to extract beauty from the frail commonplaceness of words. His experimental works have appeared on such platforms as  TUCK Magazine, Brittle PaperKalahari ReviewBombay ReviewLunaris ReviewAfrican WriterSprinng.orgAuthorpedia,  Parousia Magazine and Sampad International Journal. He was the 2016 recipient of the Albert Jungers Poetry Prize.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, an academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review ("Mulumba," 2016), Transition ("A Tenderer Blessing," 2015), and in an anthology of the Gerald Kraak Award ("You Sing of a Longing," 2017), for which he was shortlisted. His work has further been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship in 2016 and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop facilitated by Giles Foden. He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. The first, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (October, 2016), focuses on Nigerian cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June, 2017), focuses on professions in Nigeria. He studied history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is currently completing a postgraduate programme in African Studies, and teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, he just Googles Rihanna.

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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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