“There’s been a lot of talk about narrative in Africa. And what’s become increasingly clear to me is that we’re talking about news stories about Africa; we’re not really talking about African narratives,” says Nigerian novelist and poet Christopher (Chris) Abani.
Albeit an old video shot in 2007, Chris Abani’s Ted Talk on “Telling Stories from Africa” is still relevant today, especially this month as TDS celebrates African voices.
In his Ted Talk, Abani illustrates that to understand Africa is to read its literature and not just Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart.” Using his own personal story as well as stories from Africa he points out that, “what we know about how to be who we are comes from stories.” As a result, Abani shows us the power of the narrative, and that ultimately; to connect and appreciate Africa is to explore the various stories that come from Africa, not just news.
Abani’s Ted Talk is a reminder that the stories we tell and read shape the world we live in. Thus it is important to read stories from Africa, a continent that is oftentimes misunderstood and misrepresented.