When thinking about Africa this is what comes to my mind:
- Dark skin
Looking back at this list, there aren’t a lot of good or positive images that come to mind. Honestly, I am ashamed to admit that the knowledge about Africa is extremely limited. As a Black woman, I should know better right? But, me being Black doesn’t mean that I am supposed to know everything that pertains to Blackness or Africa. Hey, I am American and we all know that American society loves to make themselves seem like they are the survivors to other countries and continents. But, like I said in past post, who said they needed saving? I read this article in the New Yorker about Achebe and the article says that Achebe is “the patriarch of the African novel.” I understand that “Things Fall Apart” is a great book and the first African novel to tell the story of Africa from a standpoint other than European but calling him the “patriarch of African novel” is an overstatement. I believe it leaves a lot of African novels out. What do you guys think?
(http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/05/26/after-empire)<<< New Yorker Article
I’ve read “Things Fall Apart” about 4 years ago. When I reread it this week, it was like breathing a breath of fresh air. After reading Christopher Columbus encounter of the indigenous people of “American,” it is no surprise why my mind immediately goes to the native when I think about Africa. Over the years, I’ve educated myself and have learned more and more about myself as well as Africa. Not everyone in Africa lives in poverty. Yes, they have cities and music. I love to listen to music by African artists. If you follow my blog, I feature some of Africa’s top musicians such as Mr. Eazi, Maleek Berry, Kordeo Bello, and Tekno. There’s so much out there that people in America do not know about. I’m ashamed to say that Black children believe that if you are from Africa then you are dirty. American society has attached a negative connotation to the term of Africa and it’s people. However, some African that I have met hold a lot of confidence and respect for where they are from. If I were them, I would be the same way.
I’m going to try and discredit my thoughts about Africa through Achebe novels. In Chapter 2, Achebe talks about darkness. He says, “The night was very quiet. It was always quiet except on moonlight nights. Darkness held a vague terror for these people, even the bravest among them. Children were warned not to whistle at night for fear of evil spirits” (113). Of course, people were afraid of darkness. Just like children in America believe in the terrors hiding under their beds, people in Africa believe terrors surround them in the darkness. It’s stupid to think that African people live in darkness because reading books like this allow the reader to see a completely different viewpoint.
I do agree with the New Yorker article that Achebe did something completely different from other “African” novels. Looking at Chris Abani, I would have never thought he was Nigerian. But, then again, there goes the stereotype of what African people are supposed to look like. I get asked all the time “what part of Africa are you from?” But assume that I am African because I look like it. But it takes a lot more to be African than just looks. I love that Adichie says that stereotypes are incomplete. I agree with her and it’s important to question them. I think Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart” is one of those novels that allow you to question stereotypes. I wouldn’t know how intelligent and talented people in Africa are until I questioned the stereotypes and appreciate the art that comes from Africa. I’ve grown to accept my Nigerian heritage, my confusing American education, and the diversity that makes me unique. I can see why Achebe was called the patriarch of African novels.