Hello folks, Thanks for joining us on the blog today. We welcome you to the month of December and we hope you have a swell month an a swell end of the year 2017.
So last week a friend reached out to me. As it turned out, she had been trying her hands at the ten questions in the Ten Questions section in the Ake Review 2017 the official magazine of the Ake Arts and Book Festival, an annual event organized by the BookBuzz Initiative in Abeokuta, Ogun State. That gave me an idea, “why don’t I moderate a short conversation between both of us (since I had also attended the same festival and I got the copy of the same magazine) on the subject? She agreed and work began in earnest. While we were working on the conversation, I asked a third friend if she would like to be part of it, she said yes and thus the three-way conversation was born. I therefore invite you to go along with the three young writers as they talk about feminism, social justice and their writing. It is a fairly short conversation and I promise that you will enjoy it.
What is the one thing you must have in other to be creative
Yewande: An open mind, an ability to see things beyond what they appear to be. I would have said time, but there is never enough time to do anything. One just has to make out time for one’s creativity.
Lade: Loool nothing really.
Bayo: No distractions. I get distracted easily and when I am distracted, it disrupts my flow.
What does it mean to be feminist?
Yewande: I believe that feminism is often confused with misandry, especially by young people. To me, being a feminist means I expect to be treated as my male counterparts and not relegated to the sidelines or treated not according to my skills or knowledge or ideas, but on the basis of my gender.
Lade: Feminism (for me) is really about women’s rights and propagating those rights so women and men be seen as equal
Bayo: Feminism for me, is having the sense of history to realize that women have always drawn the short straw in a large chunk of history. It is making an effort no matter how small to try and redress the damage and bring some semblance of balance.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Lade: My procrastination.
Yewande: It would be my inability to express my emotions the way I want to. Sometimes I want to scream, or cuss someone out, but I just inhale, exhale and smile instead.
Bayo: I think it would be my lackadaisical attitude to things. Priority setting is difficult if you have an inherent passive attitude to doing things.
What does the African woman need right now?
Yewande: The African woman needs a reevaluation of herself and her struggles. What I mean by this is that many African women pay lip service to fighting for the African woman. The African woman, while fighting patriarchy and misogyny, bows to the things she fight against. Maybe it is the patriarchy fighting back. With a reevaluation, the African woman will be able to come up with a strong voice and really face her “demons”
Bayo: Opportunities to better quality education for one. With quality education comes information, and with information comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes insight on her situation and how she can change the status quo.
If you could have one African fiction character as company on Mount Kilimanjaro, who would it be and why?
Yewande: I have never thought about it, but in terms of books I have recently read, I’ll like to have a walk with Akin from Ayobami Adebayo’s Stay With Me. I want to understand what he was thinking to have his brother impregnate his wife. The amount of thinking that may have gone into it before coming to that conclusion. Also a male point of view would not be so bad on that journey
Lade: Instead of a character I will choose an author. So it’s Chimamanda Adichie because I’m a fan.
Bayo: I’ll choose Lucky from Chris Abani’s A Song for Night. We would not be able to talk, but he is very smart, tough and handy with tools. He will be able to get us to the top and back down without undue stress.
Which work of fiction by an African woman do you wish you had written and why?
Lade: Any of Chimamanda (Ngozi Adichie)’s books because they are all brilliant works. She weaves stories so well
Yewande: I am sure there are many of them, but I’ll go with Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo. I like the fact that it has won so much acclaim despite being her début novel. One can only wish for something like that. The characters, the language and even the setting are things that only resonate with me. I only wish I had written it.
Bayo: A little known and very old book called My Father’s Daughter by Mabel Segun. It’s one of the first books by a female African writer that I read as a young child. Its description of pre-independence Yoruba small town life remains with me till today.
Share one of your rules of writing
Lade: Don’t let the thought or idea in your head fizzle out. Write it down immediately.
Yewande: I guess that would be to always write down the ideas the moment they come to you. Just write them anyway. This is one rule that I find difficult to keep myself.
Bayo: Write stuff that you know you will always love to read.
If you were to write in an indigenous language, which would it be and why?
Yewande: Èdè Yorùbá for practical reasons. That is the only indigenous language I understand. Also the language is very rich and it has great depth. It will also make my work available to my kinsman who can’t access it otherwise.
Lade: Hausa. I love the language that’s why.
Bayo: Yoruba, it is the language I think in and often dream in. it is the language that comes to me most naturally.
Where do stories come from?
Yewande: There are stories everywhere in our world.
Bayo: From watching the world.
How do you engage with Africa?
Lade: I wouldn’t say I engage with Africa quite yet, but as my writing develops I hope to do more
Yewande: Africa is the only reality I have, so I engage with Africa through its culture, language, literature, cuisine etc.
Bayo: I engage Africa like a troublesome sibling. I get angry at her, we fight, I push her, she pushes back, but ultimately none of us is going anywhere because we are stuck together.
Yewande is Yewande Ojo, a Lagos, Nigeria based lawyer and legal writer. She has interests in Human Rights and Social Justice. She also has a blog and a twitter.
Lade is Temilade Agboola, poet and student of law at the University of Hull, England. Her poetry can be found on her blog and she also has a twitter where she comments on popular culture and voices her unapologetic feminism.
Bayo is Adebayo Adegbite Copywriter and Creative Lead at Thoughtivity.com, He has interests in Social Justice, History, and Historical fiction. If you wish to engage him, the best place to find him is on his twitter.