OH THE PLACES YOU’LL GO WHEN YOU READ

If invited to give a 12 minute TED Talk what would you speak about?

This is a great exercise/question as it opens a window into what an individual is passionate about.

Currently, I am exploring how to literature travel, so I wrote on something similar: Reading Africa Page by Page.

What would you write or speak about if invited by the TED team? Please share.

Here is an excerpt:

It has been said that to hide an essential piece of information from an African, write it in a book. This statement stems from the perception that Africans don’t read. The truth is Africans read.

We read newspapers. We read self-help books: Climb the Ladder to Millions this year; “Quench your Enemies’ Missiles this week; Capture Love Today”. One may find these titles hilarious, but they present the epicenter of the country’s reading dilemma.

Africa, what are we reading?

I am yet to visit Zimbabwe, but I have travelled via the pages of NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names. The Nigerian civil war and its aftermath have been humanized in the pages of Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun and Uzodinma Iweala’s Beasts of No Nation. From the first sentence to the closing remarks of Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday, the current crisis in Northern Nigeria is illuminated through the eyes of a boy.

That is the power of books.

Fiction and Non-fiction from the continent can help us to connect the dots, draw the lines, and interpret trends that can make a difference. In Siywanda’s TED Talk delivered last year, she concluded with the transformative phrase, “Africa’s future is online.” Reading Africa has been made easier by this trend.

African literary blogs are the curators of this wealth of resources. There is Ainehi Edoro’s Brittlepaper.com where authors and their works from all parts of the continent are catalogued for readers. Under 30 minutes one can discover the works of Moroccan author Leila Abouela and her representation of issues synonymous with her country of origin.

I want to drink bush tea in Botswana and call out, Dumela mma as I walk through the streets of Gabarone like the characters in Alex McCall Smith’s  The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Travelling around the continent to the countries mentioned so far can be quite an expense. Reading books that provide reliable background information and stories from this region constitute a fraction of that expense.

What will it take for this statement to be the norm? If you want to conceal information from an African, remove it from the page”

I am Nmadiuto Uche, an African literary enthusiast, reading Africa page by page. Would you like to join me?

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