Tuesday afternoon Nov 1st
I had a lovely conversation with the SS2 students (the equivalent of high school seniors.) They had been studying literature and I asked what were their favorite novels and writers. Hands down it was the novel “The Purple Hibiscus” by Ngozi Adiche and the drama “Blinkards” by Kobina Sekyi. Unfortunately, I didn’t know either one. I asked if they had ever heard of the Nigerian writer Chimananda Adichie or her books “Something Around My Neck” or “Half of a Yellow Sun”. They were unfamiliar with her or her works. I told them about Chimenanda’s TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story.” They enjoyed hearing about her early writing as a child that reflected the English books she’d read and her breakthrough in discovering her voice in writing about her life in Nigeria. I felt her experience made a favorable impression. They then wanted my interpretation of Shakespeare’s Tempest and I had to claim ignorance as I am not familiar with that particular Shakespeare play. That seemed to amaze them. Here it was required literature in their class, and I was not familiar with it. I told them the truth that when I was their age, I preferred to be outside rather than reading indoors. That took them by surprise! The only one who smiled was somewhat of an outcast that then said quite deliberately, “My favorite thing to do is play ball outside.”
They wanted to know my favorite Nigerian food and I told them chicken and jolof rice. They thought that was very fine!