Monday, June 25, 2012


Hope the week has started well for everyone. We thought to share some links of interesting articles that we stumbled upon. Have a great week!

Mr. Marable argues that Malcolm X was a gifted performer, adept at presenting himself to black audiences “as the embodiment of the two central figures of African-American folk culture, simultaneously the hustler/trickster and the preacher/minister.” He also suggests that Malcolm exaggerated his criminal youth in his “Autobiography” to create “an allegory documenting the destructive consequences of racism within the U.S. criminal justice and penal system,” and to underscore the transformative power that the Nation of Islam brought to his own life while in prison.

Of course you knew her; she lived in the building behind, taught over at Sayreville H.S. But it was only in the past months that she’d snapped into focus. There were a lot of these middle-aged single types in the neighborhood, shipwrecked by every kind of catastrophe, but she was one of the few who didn’t have children, who lived alone, who was still kinda young. Something must have happened, your mother speculated. In her mind, a woman with no child could be explained only by vast untrammelled calamity

My father used to say because you are a singer doesn’t mean you don’t have a brain and can’t discuss everything that comes your way. Read, be curious and ask questions. If I don’t have the answers, I will go and get the answers for you. But you cannot be an artist and not be able to talk about your art or other people’s art and culture. That’s not going to happen under my roof. Everything I accomplished today started in my childhood.

That night it rained. The thunder claps were quite loud and the lightening splashed across the room, making it feel like it was day time. I was sitting in front of the television, fighting off fear from the lightening as I watched the match between Italy and Argentina when suddenly I began to hear sporadic gun fire. Gun fire was normal on the barrack but this was an usual hour for it and it was so loud and continued for a while. Mother immediately woke up like someone who had just had a nightmare and resumed mumbling prayers on the rosary, saying “Jesus” loudly each time the guns boomed. I thought perhaps it was some kind of foreign aggression as the Head of State had made many enemies especially among the world powers and I imagined that they had attacked us. I was very worried about Father being out there.

Fortunatus Osifo-Whiskey was seized by the police while playing checkers, and clamped into detention with no money in his pocket.  He was hooked by the hem of his trousers and whisked away so fast he wasn’t allowed to put on the pair of flip-flops he had slipped off before the game started. For him, removing his slippers, made of strips of an abandoned Michelin tire, had a way of making his blood warm to the game. It gave him a sense of seriousness and determination.

Fortunatus played draughts all day. He played draughts every day. People placed bets on him. Champions from other districts came to challenge him. As a matter of fact that was the only thing he succeeded at. But then he had tried his hands on so many things to make something good for himself.  He cherished deceptive hopes. He nursed lofty dreams and newfangled ideas. Sometimes he would take long walks, thinking deep, born aloft by wild fantasies. He would make plans of grandiose proportions that never materialized. Fortunatus could never bring himself to follow anything through. His hypertensive father had long left him to his own devises and his mother was not alive to bewail his situation.

He tried in vain to pass his school certificate exams and so could not proceed to any higher institution. Whenever he failed he blamed the educational system.

“They messed up my grades those bastards! They destroy our education and then send their kids to expensive schools abroad” he would say to his friends who also idled about. 

Writing on depression in Africa is a rarity. Here, Wainaina’s book seems singular. While at a South African university studying commerce, Wainaina’s equilibrium alters dramatically. His unevenness sees his tight rope walker plunge, as he “moves out of the campus dorms and into a one-room outhouse [falling] away from everything and everybody”. Within this room he barely leaves, the scope of the writer-camera adjusts to macro. The scenes thickly stick to objects surrounding him, bound in vignettes

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