It’s 2118 and you’ve arrived in Lagos for a book festival. When you step out of the airport, what is the first thing you see?
A fast tram halting with a silent gush, ready to take me through the city, and even into neighbouring states – via its exclusive rights-of-way.
You’ve been selected for a mission to the moon. Which African author are you taking and why?
I once read that he has spent one-third of his lifespan [in the] air, flying through countries. So, taking Wole Soyinka to the moon would be a fun-filled travelling experience he can add to his journal. And of course, if we get there we would share animistic verses and a bottle of vintage wine.
What invention do you think would change the lives of Africans today?
I’m thinking of a service retail app. This is an app that presents unique features for buying, selling, payment and delivery of services – all in one app. This would cut off the everyday market hustling experience typical within Africa. Then Africans can conveniently work from home and render their services to anyone across the globe. This also cuts down unemployment to a reasonable number. This invention would do this, and much more.
Two things you’re doing when not reading or writing?
I take long walks. It helps me to fall into myself, as I see new meanings to life through the people I meet and activities I experience. The air also has a good effect on my mind – it seems to pass through me. When I’m not taking a walk, I’m listening to music. It’s not a cliché when I say ‘music uplifts my soul,’ but beyond all that, music offers different elements of truth and culture via musical sounds and voices.
To what extent has African literature envisioned an African future?
To see a future filled with arts, science and technology, through a black lens is not yet an everyday narrative in African literature. Nnedi Okorafor definitely lends a bold voice to this narrative, but I guess, the world is about to experience the Afrofuturism wave in the coming decade. We are coming.
What book do you think best captures Afrofuturism?
The term ‘best’ might make it a bit difficult to lay affirmations on the question, because it’s an ongoing discussion, just as the era of Afrofuturism is here, and new writers are expressing their voices through this form. But so far, Black Panther comics, does it for me. But I know there are more to come soon.
You wake up one morning to find that you’ve grown a pair of wings. What do you do?
Like ‘Maleficent’? That would be super-cool. I could easily hide under my wings while reading or writing. It would keep me warm and safe. But if I choose to fly with it, then I’ll fly so high, till I give the translucent moon a big hug. Mind over matter – you say?
Name one book that made you think differently about the world.
The story comes fresh and alive to me every time. It’s about the story, where the Dark Lord seeks the ring of all rings. The fate of the world then rests upon an insignificant set of people – Hobbits! ‘The Lord of the Rings’ by J. R. R. Tolkien makes me travel, imagine, wonder and think. It’s a tale of difference, thirst for power, and above all – true friendship towering above all the changes life might bring.
What is the most difficult part of your creative process?
I write poems, children storybooks, short stories and adult prose. So researching and swinging from one style to another has always being quite difficult for me. But I love the way my imagination flows freely. It’s amazing, and I have no problem with switching my styles as the work requires.
What is your African dream?
I dream of an Africa that is driven by humanity, technology, culture and good governance – an era where the continent is positively defined by her own people through their amazing efforts and results.