What does Ake Festival 2019 theme ‘Black Bodies, Grey Matter’ mean to you?
We may have different skin and bodies but we all have the same grey matter. All humans are made up of that same grey matter on the inside, no matter what their bodies may look like on the outside.
You are asked to write an African femme fatale as an alien. What physical attributes would she have?
—She is at least 183cm tall and her body can change to any colour. She is beautiful to everyone and everything; no matter the definition of beauty, and she uses this as a distraction. She has horns for obvious offensive attack. Strong legs/hind-feet like kangaroos to enable her jump thousands of feet in the air in one push, and to make for easy escape. Her fingers have retractable claws. And last but definitely not least, she has a long, powerful, pointed tail with retractable spikes for less obvious attack, because sometimes when an attempt is made to capture a being, its tail is often ignored by the opponent, thinking it can do no harm.
Does the African writer have a specific role to play in the current world order?
Yes. Taking back and controlling the narrative about us, for us in a way that suits us. As opposed to what is already out there about us by others.
What two things should every teenager understand about mental health?
To be aware that no matter what happens, it’s up to them to safeguard and take care of their mental health. To not listen to those that downplay the reality and gravity of the assault your mental health can take daily, with or without you really knowing it’s happening while it’s happening.
What is your vision for the Black Body?
That it is no longer seen as a weaker vessel. That although right now it needs to be seen and acknowledged for all its beauty, power and ability, it gets to a point where it is no longer seen and assessed as more important than the content that comes from within it.