On the Stories We Tell About Africa


‘… The problem isn’t really the stories that are being told or which stories are being told. The problem really is the terms of humanity that we’re willing to bring to complicate every story.’

A recent comment from reader Justin Kraus reminds me that I’ve been meaning to post this brilliant talk from Chris Abani. Justin’s comment probably deserves a longer post (which would first dispense with the positive/negative binary), but Abani’s talk gets at just about everything I think about as I encounter “Africa” every day, and then attempt to write about those encounters.

It’s a couple of years old so you may already have run across it but it doesn’t hurt to hear it again. It’s worth your 19:34.

On another note, Chimamada Ngozi Adichie, another personal favorite (Herman posted her equally important talk on the danger of a single story last year), has been chosen as one of The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list of fiction writers worth watching, the first such list in more than a decade. I like this (even though we don’t much care for lists around here).

Further Reading