Warning: Read this with literary ‘fan girl’ at the back of your mind. Thanks.
That title might just be a tad misleading. It should be why ‘we’, but my friends are wont to deny me in public with ‘who send you message’ so I’m claiming this one for myself. Confession: I haven’t read Ghana Must Go, something I intend to remedy soon. I am afterall at the Ake Arts and Book Festival at which I run the risk of turning my account red; their bookstore is the truth.
Back to Taiye Selasie. I have read interviews and articles but hearing her speak in person was a different thing all together. I was at the panel discussion on ‘Call and Response: African Writers Writing Back’ which looked at how writers of African descent dealt with writing about Africa from a distance.
The discussion was animated – there’ll be another post on it – , with the writers going back and forth on identity and ethnicity and nationhood and how Africa is where the African is etc etc. There was a time when the mic refused to work whenever Taiye Selasie touched it (in my head I thought ‘village people have find her and come’); but the way she handled it, her sense of humour, her straining her voice so everyone could hear her smoothed a situation that could have been awkward .
The way she made her points, clear; there was no doubt about what she meant. And she was deep without even trying.
Here are a few other reasons
- Her name. Taiye Selasie. It’s just so together, like it was meant to be.
- Her personality. She has so much oomph.
- Her smile. It says, ‘come share this joy with me.’
- Her writing. Her use of words is like a flowing river. I wasn’t surprised to learn she writes poetry.
- Her style. I legit took a photo of the dress she was wearing. Who knew ankara-covered buttons could give such life to a dress?
I shouldn’t claim to love someone I only just met; but it is the rare person that can invoke a sense awe just by being themselves.
Taiye Selasie if you ever get to read this *insert appropriate fan girl action of your choice*
Ps: I was seated beside her mother, lovely woman. She offered me mint. I have a soft spot for people who offer me anything I can eat. I think I love her too.