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?
The first thing I observe is by way of alternate seeing; catching a whiff of the air and holding it in my lungs to determine what’s changed. My inability to let that air go says a lot about the change, my unwillingness to taint what’s now pure, what’s now green and loving and peaceful. I see home the way I have always wanted home to look like— a home that embraces me the way I have always wanted it to embrace me. I am confronted with an inconceivable future. I see a place, finally coming to terms with its potential and thriving to make the most out of it.
You’ve been selected for a mission to the moon. Which African author are you taking and why?
Ah, a journey to the moon? I’ll definitely bring Binyavanga Wainaina along. I think it would be interesting to lurk in the sides of the moon together and hear what his restive mind would make of that journey. He is such an expansive mind and I am sure I will get a recap of the journey in his writing.
What invention do you think would change the lives of Africans today?
I will love to translate this to mean what do I think will change the lives Africans, hence, my answer is, genuine love. Love always works out when it is unpretentious. Love for land, love for brothers and sisters, love for our beautiful skin.
Two things you’re doing when not reading or writing?
Learning how to breakdance in the shower, and secondly, learning how to read and write better, which ultimately is still reading and writing. Yes, I know I am doomed.
To what extent has African literature envisioned an African future?
I am not sure if it has to a serious extent envisioned a future—but I think most of what ‘Traditional African literature’ has done is to dedicate too much energy to excavating the past and looking at the society as a group. I am happy ‘new’ African writers now bring their lens to focus on their bodies and by extension the self; this includes what it means for them to exist a world of erasing borders. Somehow, I think that has an implication on the future, because it’s a literature of accepting oneself in a world that rejects it. This acceptance of the self prepares the stage for a bright future.
What book do you think best captures Afrofuturism?
I am not sure any book comes to mind. I might be wrong, but yeah, maybe the movie ‘Black Panther’.
You wake up one morning to find that you’ve grown a pair of wings. What do you do?
I will fly to the highest part of the sky those wings could take me, and feel the warmth of the morning sun wash down my body.
Name one book that made you think differently about the world.
‘Be With’ by Forrest Gander.
What is the most difficult part of your creative process?
Revision; I always end up with numerous versions of a piece of writing I love equally…
What is your African dream?
My African dream is simple; that Africa breeds citizens that hold their leaders to account. That Africa finally permits her scenic colours to bloom, despite the colour-blindness of a prejudiced world.