Thursday, September 24, 2015

Going to try how to NOT write about "Africa" with some guidance from @BinyavangaW

Nairobi National Museum, Kenya
So, it is hard to write about "Africa", hard not to fall into the cliches that Binyavanga Wainaina  has laid out for us in his witty (and biting) essay, "How to Write About Africa" (Granta 92, 19 Jan 2006: The View from Africa).
Always use the word ‘Africa’ or ‘Darkness’ or ‘Safari’ in your title. Subtitles may include the words ‘Zanzibar’, ‘Masai’, ‘Zulu’, ‘Zambezi’, ‘Congo’, ‘Nile’, ‘Big’, ‘Sky’, ‘Shadow’, ‘Drum’, ‘Sun’ or ‘Bygone’. Also useful are words such as ‘Guerrillas’, ‘Timeless’, ‘Primordial’ and ‘Tribal’. Note that ‘People’ means Africans who are not black, while ‘The People’ means black Africans.
This is a hard one, but just for "sky". Some places just have great skies. New Mexico and the rest of the American West has it, so did South Africa and Ghana. So did Kenya!

And likewise: 
Readers will be put off if you don’t mention the light in Africa. And sunsets, the African sunset is a must. It is always big and red. There is always a big sky. Wide empty spaces and game are critical—Africa is the Land of Wide Empty Spaces.
And last, "Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care."

Not sure how I did overall during my trip to Ghana and South Africa, but I'll try not to do that with these posts during my time in Kenya, specifically the environs of Nairobi and Kajiado County in the Great Rift Valley (Amboseli National Park to be exact).

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