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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 was born in Aba, Nigeria and attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. A finalist for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, his short stories include: “A Tenderer Blessing,” which appears in Transition Magazine and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015; “Mulumba,” which appears in The Threepenny Review; and “You Sing of a Longing,” which was shortlisted for the inaugural Gerald Kraak Award and appears in Pride and Prejudice, an anthology by The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His essays appear in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays and in Brittle Paper where he is Deputy Editor. His interviews appear in Africa in Dialogue, Bakwa Magazine, SPRINNG, and Dwartonline. He is the editor 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. A postgraduate student of African Studies, he currently teaches English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu, Nigeria. When bored, he blogs pop culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or just Googles Rihanna.

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  1. Taiye Selasi Wants People to Stop Saying That “South Africa Isn’t African Enough” — Brittle Paper – Afrikáná - 2017/11/03

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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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