Saturday, 20 February 2010

My Brother From Another Mother

"James Baldwin and I were invited to speak at an African literature conference somewhere in the South, and what Baldwin said in talking about me to the audience is that “This is a brother I had not seen for 400 years,” and people laughed. And he said that it was not intended that he and I should ever meet. That’s what you asked me. Part of the center of the plan was that we should not know each other. So that’s why our task is, in my view, so very important: that in spite of that intention to keep us apart, there will be some people who would refuse and insist on knowing their brothers and sisters who had been sold away and lost. There are some people who knew that it was important to discover them, and I’m not talking in the past, because the problem remains. There are so many of us on both sides of the Atlantic who do not know the importance of that recognition, that this is my brother, this is my sister, that their story is the same as my story. Whatever variations, it is basically the same story."     
Chinua Achebe