Thanks, But No Thanks.

Commonwealth Foundation
Hurrah!

The commonwealth does it again! How can we thank you? How can we convey our gratitude and thanks for the consistent and persistent support you have shown for African writers?

In case you are reading this and do not yet know, the shortlist for the commonwealth book prize for 2013 includes FOUR African writers. Three of them are Nigerian and one is South African. Each author should be esteemed for writing excellent work in a language that is not their own tongue – which in and of itself is a great achievement – and hopefully tons of movie rights will follow.

Sarah House, Ifeanyi Ajaegbo – human trafficking, prostitution, slavery, pimps, thugs.

The Great Agony & Pure Laughter of the Gods, Jamala Safari – war, rape, child soldiers, violence, thugs, refugees, hunger.

The Spider King’s Daughter, Chibundu Onuzo – ancient traditions, corruption, violence, struggle for modernity.

Sterile Sky, E.E. Sule – mindless religiosity, violence, sweltering temperatures.

I thought the famous essay “How to Write About Africa” by Binyavanga Wainaina was satire and not to be taken as aserious blueprint for story development, but I see what you’re doing there. You highlighted it as a guideline for the World outside Africa. I’m so pleased I finally understood the message and the general requirements for consideration. My writing will be commonwealth worthy, I promise you that.

To show you that I understand what you require I’m going to blow your mind with my subject matter. I can combine all the “African” topics for you to drool over and store on your shelf along with the curios you purchased from your last visit. I can write a story with a child prostitute who worked her way up the ranks in a guerrilla gang deep in the humid impenetrable forests of Africa, to become the top human trafficker who used religious establishments to take orphans whose parents died of AIDS when they were just little babies. To make it even more interesting I’ll throw in a corrupt politician, dusty unpaved roads, violent rape, preteen pregnancy and a particularly threatening, dark-skinned, wide-nosed, tall and imposing thug with a harrowing mean streak called Afande.

Thank you once again for telling authors in Africa, who seek recognition in a wider arena, what topics and subjects they should cover in order to be noticed by you.

Sincerely,
African Writer.

Advertisements

Making Connections

Hello there reader! Welcome! How is your day so far?

I’m in the midst of a flurry of Chrome tabs, clicking, linking and reading up on all manner of things.

One of the things I am keenly aware of is the fact that authors need to make connections. Connections with other authors, connections with book lovers, connections with book bloggers, publishers, agents etc. Back in the day, when I had nary a care in this World, I was the queen of connections. I belonged to a few online Yahoo! Groups that were active and vibrant and I thrived. Now the internet is a lot easier, you can find a website/blog, twitter account, facebook page, goodreads account and connect with people.

Learning that just connecting with them is the key to success in my opinion. Looking out for authors who have blogs and are themselves looking to make connections with others is key. If they are not reaching out, looking for readership themselves, then I’m not quite sure my time is best spent trying to connect with them. Of course it means that the number of connections I have dwindle, but I know that worthwhile relationships usually work both ways. If I’m lookin’ for a buddy and you’re lookin’ for a buddy it makes it easier.

I’m not a marketing guru by any standards and I hope that I’m doing the right thing looking for people this way. Only time will tell.

BTW, I’m looking for buddies.

Africa and Her Tongues

I am proud to say I am not one of those people who DON’T see color. I see color. I love color. Whenever I have the priviledge of meeting a new person of African Descent (NPOAD – I don’t think that will catch on, but hey…) I always ask what their heritage is. It becomes a little complicated in places like the USA, but in Canada it is a much more acceptable question. Most NPOADs in Canada have close ties to one of the Caribbean Islands or an African country. (Just so you know, I hound nonNPOADs and it is astounding how many have Irish heritage.)

I love the differences in culture because it makes for a richer experience if I can go to the home of a family from Gambia, sample their food, listen to their music and talk to them about their World view. I love the amazing range of myths and legends that have been passed down through the generations, fables to teach children what acceptable behaviour is and lessons about their own culture. The clothes and jewelry adapted for modern times, still brilliantly crafted, gloriously displayed on varying shades of chocolate skin and the muscular, curved bodies shaped by daily activities.

So, you get it. I love Africa. But what I love most about Africa is her languages.

Shona

Lingala

Somali

Beautiful, aren’t they? They twist your tongue and roll your mind. Sometimes you don’t even have to know what is being said. I read a blog by a Nigerian living in America. He wrote:

 Sisi Clara at the embassy in Washington DC would take one withering look at the pale jelly fish quivering in her presence at the embassy, stamp a lusty DENIED! on his passport and shoo him off with the sage words: “Gerraway jo! Olosi! Your father will not see Nigeria, your mother will not see Nigeria! You will not see the yansh of Nigeria! Olosi! Olori buruku! Moose from Alaska!” And the wimp would slink off wailing: “I want to go to Nigeria! Waaaaaaaaah!” (permalink)

It doesn’t mater that I don’t know what Olosi or yansh means, the gist of the conversation makes me snicker and laugh. I enjoy the story. Occassionally, my best friend and partner in crime will say something in her mother tongue and I’ll laugh because I understand the intention of her words even though I do not understand them.

What does this mean? Can we still communicate, with the vastness and variety that Africans are allowed to enjoy, and understand one another’s intentions? Can I write a story, fill it with words that cannot be expressed in English and still have my audience connect with me?

I still yearn to learn the different languages. I pick up words here and there, hoping that something will infect my brain and suddenly WHOOSH! It will all come alive and understanding any language will be my unique gift. That would be the day.

 

Author Websites

Under construction

Creating a website

Welcome back!

Are you having a good day/night?

I’ve been wondering about this blog. I’m not a newcomer to blogging, but wanted a space where I could blog about writing, connect with other writers and pimp my wares (my wares are not yet ready for pimpin’, but look out for the pink suit soon!).

Is it good manners to greet your readers every time you start a post? My momma raised me well and she said to always say hello and sound interested in what people had to say if you asked them how they were. I’ve not previously done this, but I’ve wondered sometimes how crazy it is to go to someones blog (like a conversation or something) and before you even know anything or take a breath there are CAPS in your face, little crazy any doodles or LOL cats.

cat funny

So if you see me say hello and just want to say hello back and talk about how you’re doing, feel free to. I promise I’ll listen!

Secondly, why doesn’t every author have a website or a blog or a wikipedia page where I can peek into their lives and find out some information? There are some writers I respect and in this digital age, I would like to connect with them, purchase their eBooks (environmentally concious here) and leave them a comment or two. I guess that is why I’m working on this one, so when y’all read my fabulous work, you can come here and praise me :-).

Lastly, this blog has a sister blog where I attempt to practice and hone my craft. Luckily for you (and quite unluckily for me), the story/stories there will be free. Please feel free to visit, comment, leave adulations so I can connect with you.

I’m looking forward to this adventure. I hope you are too!

See you around!

Welcome

My name is Bwandungi. Welcome to this blog, supposed to serve as my “Author” blog, which may or may not fulfill the requirements set out for an Author blog.

There are a few things important to me that I will list here. Elaboration on request!

  • Elevation and unification of black people everywhere
  • Human rights
  • Children’s rights
  • Books
  • Creativity
  • Justice
  • Good food
  • Science
  • Education
  • Bujuju

These are in no particular order and the list may keep growing as I remember other stuff.

Stay awhile, read a story or two.