Page 19 - May 2021 Litterateur
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The term ‘Afropolitan’ was made famous by Taiye Selasi                                   Around the world
                   of Ghana Must Go fame. Born to a Ghanaian father and                                         Afroplitanism, Diasporic
                                                                                                             Literature and Africa’s Secret
                   Nigerian mother, the affable Taiye Selasi has lived in the
                                                                                                                       Literary War
                   UK,  the  US  and  Italy,  and  travelled  the  globe.  She  has                                    Alexander Nderitu
                   discussed  the  word  ‘Afropolitan’  on  many  different

                   platforms  but  she  initially  popularized  it  via  a  seminal

                   essay titled Bye-Bye Babar, that was published by The

                   LIP Magazine back in 2005. In the article, Taiye admitted
                   that  it  was  hard  to  trace  the  exact  genealogy  of  those

                   who  consider  themselves  ‘not  citizens,  but  Africans  of

                   the  world.’  A  study  conducted  in  1999,  Taiye  wrote,

                   estimated  that  between  1960  and  1975  thousands  of
                   highly skilled Africans left the continent for the West. By

                   1984,  the  exodus  represented  roughly  ‘30%  of  Africa’s

                   highly  skilled  manpower.’  Taiye  concluded  that                                           Taiye Selasi (Press photo)
                   Afropolitans  were  ‘the  newest  generation  of  African

                   emigrants,  coming  soon  or  collected  already  at  a  law

                   firm/chem  lab/jazz  lounge  near  you.  You’ll  know  us  by
                   our  funny  blend  of  London  fashion,  New  York  jargon,

                   African ethics, and academic successes.’

                   The term struck a chord with Diasporans and ignited many discussions. One of

                   the writers that fully embraced it is Minna Salami, a Nigerian-Finnish writer whose

                   most  recent  book  is  Sensuous  Knowledge  (2020).  Minna’s  stated  abodes  are
                   London  and  Lagos  (Nigeria)  although  she  has  also  lived  or  worked  in  Sweden,

                   Spain and the United States. In a post on her blog, Ms. Afropolitan, she gives ‘32

                   views on Afropolitanism’. The first one is that, ‘Afropolitanism describes a part of

                   my identity but also, and especially, it describes my philosophical position about
                   the world.’  The second viewpoint is that: ‘Afropolitanism is a conceptual space in

                   which  African  heritage  realities  are  both  interrogated  and  understood  with  the

                   tools and nuances of modern-day globalisation.’

                   Such  ‘tools  and  nuances’  can  be  found  in  by  NoViolet  Bulawayo’s  triumphant

                   2013 novel, We Need New Names. Here’s a sample passage from the book (which

                   scooped the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature):

                                   ‘Look at them leaving in droves, the children of the land, just look at

                                   them  leaving  in  droves.  Those  with  nothing  are  crossing  borders.
                                   Those  with  strength  are  crossing  borders.  Those  with  ambitions  are

                                   crossing  borders.  Those  with  hopes  are  crossing  borders.  Those  in

                                   pain  are  crossing  borders.  Moving,  running,  emigrating,  going,

                                   deserting,  walking,  quitting,  flying,  fleeing  –  to  all  over,  to  countries
                                   near and far, to countries unheard of, to countries whose names they

                                   cannot pronounce. They are leaving in droves.’
                  Litterateur                                          19

                             REDEFINING WORLD
                          EDITED BY SHAJIL ANTHRU
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