So I’ve finally decided to abandon the angst of lost ideas for the anxiety of ideas shared far and wide.
I’ve been writing intermittently for a few years. Tracing my trail of thought onto paper now and again to relieve myself of the sense of utter panic of looking at the world around me and finding a harsh reflection based on even harsher assumptions.
This is certainly not new.
Binyavanga Wainaina’s 2005 essay, How To Write About Africa perfectly explains how difficult it is to orientate the world of ‘knowing’ when being firmly rooted in one’s Afrikan identity. In fact, it becomes a matter of ducking land mines of discourse on this and other matter while hoping not to trap oneself in an echo chamber that would lull the natural thirst for intellectual engagement.
It’s a tricky balancing act that requires one to identify the antagonism that represents conversations on Afrika and her people, while also not allowing for romanticism to ease one into a false sense of security on what still needs to be achieved in order for the continent to claim its rightful place at the table of the world. Or even at its own table of expectations.
Ayi Kwei Armah, one of Afrika’s most gifted authors and visionary minds, gave a legendary talk called The Awakening in the early 1990’s that articulated what I’m trying to say far better than I ever could :
“Now if we are concerned with our awakening, it is because we’ve been asleep. Now we were put to sleep by historical catastrophes. And you know when people get into an accident; they need to go to sleep in order to survive the accident. If you are totally conscious when it happens, you won’t survive. So sleep is sometimes useful. But after sleep we have to wake.
Now since these catastrophes began, our minds have been kept in a sleepy state of ignorance through a series of cultural and intellectual anesthetics. Dope.”
A beautiful and accurate analogy that sort of captures the waves of anger, despair and optimism that flow within discourse about the continent. They are the rumblings of a people shaking themselves awake in a world where being asleep is far easier.
I’ve decided, in this vein, to use Renaissance Dialogue to share my thoughts on issues affecting Afrika in a way that I hope shakes us harder. In a manner that attempts to propel us towards a door of reasoning that sparks hope and a definiteness of purpose about where we need to be.
An early confession I feel I should make is that I’m more concerned with the economy than with most other things, so I will be concentrating on prying open continental economic policy in a heterodoxic manner and deliberating on interesting developments in the field that may have a place in the Afrikan conversation.
I’ll also be sharing reviews on interesting books and articles that I come across and most importantly, I’ll be learning.
It would be great to have you with me on the journey.