You are currently reading this because this was the last page you had open when your internet stopped working.
The gods of technology created the internet so that writers all over the world could have an ocean of information to drink from at a moment’s notice. But not us African writers, no reader. You see, after decades of underfunded libraries and secondhand book stores that only stocked the copies of Danielle Steel novellas favored by 80s backpackers, the gods are quite sure that this sudden access to adequate information would be simply too much for the average African writer. And in any case, they assure themselves, where there is lack of information, there is room to create. Let us look to the African journalist, who even in the age of http://www.google.com has absolutely no qualms with murdering the cousins of comedians while they sit safely in their homes. For years, some African journalists have found the world of unlimited information a distraction, really, from the business of creation. Who needs the internet when you have an imagination? The African writer should adopt this as his own Ancient African Proverb.
You are reading this over the din of a coughing generator that spluttered to life after today’s second power cut.
Ah, nothing stokes the fires of inspiration like the sound of a generator cheering your every word. When the power goes out, instead of crying and cursing the gods, I thank them for giving me a chance to really hear myself think. And although my first thought is usually: “why do my thoughts sound like a generator?” my next thought is always: “how nice it surely is to have the gentle hum of a machine in the background that encourages me as I try to shove my annoyance with inefficient government systems down and focus on my writing.” And if you are an African writer this feeling is as familiar to you as the sting of a rejection letter.
You are reading this on a laptop you had to fight a thug to keep lest he run off with your precious manuscript.
I may not be as good as Teju Cole, nor as well-traveled as Lerato Mogoatlhe but I did let a nyaope-addict punch me in the face and take all my money just so he wouldn’t rob me of my laptop and punch a hole in my clumsily-put together literary ambitions. And if you are an African writer then the thrill of walking through dangerous places without looking like you’re carrying something special (it’s just your laptop filled with short stories you thought were absolute shit just this morning) is part of your DNA.
The African literature section of your local bookstore is the site of your revolution.