I recently listened to Chimamanda’s Ted talk ‘The danger of the single story’. It reminded me of old times so I decided to tell you my story.
For the longest time, all my characters had ‘English’ names; from Kate to John to my favourite name, Eric (I overused this name sote I’m sure all the Erics were sneezing multiple times). I struggled to give them the ‘abroad’ lifestyle that I was not familiar with. Forced them to eat baked beans, drink orange juice with their bowl of cereal and speak back to their parents. I mean, unlike Chimamanda, I knew what baked beans tasted like but it was the underlying problem I became worried about. I held the ‘international’ lifestyle so high that I started to think I wasn’t good enough. The characters in my writings mocked my Nigerian accent and my lunch of stewed beans and plantain. Why didn’t school serve us burgers as lunch? Why couldn’t my thirteen-year-old boyfriend sleep over in my room? Why couldn’t I go for walks to the parks? (more…)