Category Archives: books

Seven Reasons To Visit Nigeria ASAP

It’s not often that artistic genius seamlessly meets serious political commentary.  But it seems to happen all the time in Nigeria.  There’s no less-dramatic way to say it so, in a nutshell, Nigerian artists have changed my life.  I’ve never been there, which is perhaps why Nigerian storytelling has not just captured my imagination, it has demonstrated the boundless possibilities of literature. Over the years I’ve heard so much about Nigeria from (admittedly annoying) patriotic Nigerians that it’s long been number two (reasons to visit, number one, Ghana can be found here) on my Must-See West African Countries list (you have one of those right?) nobel_treeplantingIt may well be true that stories grow on trees in West Africa.  I love Nigeria for gracing me with an abundance of stories that are at once 100% rooted in a specific locale, embroidered with such detailed analysis of the universal, and told through fully-formed African characters. I frequently lose myself, investing totally in outcomes which are fictional creations based on somebody else’s reality.  If there’s any one country, where a lot of my favourite novels come from, it’s Naija.  A fiction festival in Nigeria would look a lot like heaven to me. With no further ado, here’s seven reasons to be ridiculously excited about going to Nigeria: Continue reading

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Listening in on Young People in South Africa

I often reference books I like, or which made me think, or which taught me something I think might prove useful to know sooner or later.  Memoirs of a Born Free, about a young woman activist growing up in post-apartheid South Africa, is one of those books.

This review,  on the Steve Biko Foundation’s Frank Talk blog, discusses the book and it’s Eastern Cape launch event in Ginsberg, and sums up why I think it’s a must-read for you.

 

Dream to Reality : A Black Brit Plans An African Roadtrip

The trip I’ve planned traversing the African continent should contain just enough adventure to be considered an appropriate remedy to an extraordinarily long summer break. I’m not complaining, you understand, I just want it to be clear that I’m not skiving off normal life.  On the contrary, I’m trying to live it to the fullest!  In case you’re still undecided on what to do this summer and in need of some inspiration, here’s how I prepared my summer adventure.

What I hope to do:

It’s always best I find to start the adventure with a daydream.  What do you think would be a single awesome thing to be able to say at the end?  Before my epic adventure is complete I’ll have dipped my toes from North to South Africa and from East to West.  I’ll have gotten a little acquainted with some incredible capital cities, taken in awesome landscapes to set my heart a flutter, and then at peace all over again.  I’ll have sampled unimaginable amounts of scrumptious African cuisine, decimated (okay dented, I still have to eat when I get home) my savings in AfroChic, and caught up with some beautiful people I have the honour to call friends.  I’ll also get to see the hometowns they recalled so vividly and lovingly when we were young people in the UK together.

Why Africa?

thingfallapart

Warning: this book will make your life better

Caramel

An awesome film about sisterhood, Beirut and a beauty shop…I’ve been desperate to visit Lebanon ever since.

Where in the world excites your imagination and why?  Is there someplace that you’ve always wanted to go for a really random reason?  Or because of a book you read once?  A scene in a film?  Act on that impulse! Continue reading

6 Simple Reasons To Be Ridiculously Excited About Going to Haiti

Français : Le général Toussaint Louverture.

Français : Le général Toussaint Louverture. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not really into blogging on the road.  I know lots of people write about their experiences as they go along and it gives a real sense of immediacy to their travel writing, but it’s just not me.  I like to take the whole trip in and reflect on it before I write it up.  Everyone’s different, it’s just my way.

Part of it is probably that I like to do one thing at a time; if I’m exploring and discovering someplace new, I’m really not trying to interrupt the magic with a trip to the internet cafe, or worse, a hunt for one.

I’m also one of those black people that despite the advent of modernity, deep down still won’t celebrate my birthday before it’s actually happened.  The travel version of this superstition about jinxing the future by acknowledging it, is not writing/blogging about a place before I go.

But boy.

Life is short.

Anything could happen before I go, when I reach, or before I get back.  Given that I seem to tell every passer-by that says hello that I’m going to Haiti, with a grin that suggests that I’ve won the lottery, I figure I should outline why exactly I’m on a Serious Hype Ting as one might say in South London. Continue reading

Holidaying vs. Travelling : Busting the Myths (SPOILER: You Are A Traveller. Probably.)

I tend to document my travel adventures here, rather than the human drama which is the detail of daily life; paying bills, washing clothes, mentally preparing for and winding down from work, answering and sending ‘serious’ emails.  It’s not a value judgement, just evidence of me having my head in the clouds.  However people somehow seem to forget that my travel adventures are not actually my daily life.  My 9-5 wholly funds my fun (how I budget for travel is for another post).

As free-spirited as I may be, I do not live on the road nor out of my backpack.  I simply like being on the road for short periods, and I therefore maximise the potential of every bit of holiday I get.  You, dear reader, can do the same should you choose to.  There’s a big lie going around which makes people feel like adventures are out of their reach:  Going on holiday is not the same as ‘going travelling’.  This is simply not true. Continue reading

Romance in the Rainforest: Dating in Paradise II

Apparently, I’m a romantic.  I don’t think it’s asking too much for a young man to put some thought into how he keeps my attention.  I’m not against a little effort, or being impressed.  It’s not that I’m into insincerity and sweet nothings. I simply believe that if life is to be lived abundantly, then matters of the heart should involve some involuntary fluttering.  And frankly, on a lush tropical island, it is not exceedingly difficult to woo a romantic; breathtaking views are the norm, atmosphere is everywhere and a little creativity can go a really long way at literally no cost.

As a young, single woman with a cute English accent (although I didn’t know that ’til much later) from abroad I was bound to be a curiosity (read: fresh blood) when I moved to the French Caribbean.  And I was semi-mentally prepared for it.  In addition, as with the approach of summer in temperate countries, I had the swinging hips of a woman liberated from her winter wardrobe with suitcases of new light and colourful clothes to enjoy.  Continue reading

One Day In St Lucia

Toes in the sand and nose to nose with the horizon line, today I tried to contemplate how I ended up here.  When did I become Neo?  I saw The Matrix; I was not enthralled with the nebuchadnezzar.  I could have chosen the blue pill.  Heavy-heartedly maybe, but I would have done it.  That porridge three times a day would have driven me mad and I would have been no use to the revolution.  So which part of my journey through life determined that I would step off the treadmill, out of the rat race, move a gazillion miles away from my beloved London and set up home in the French Caribbean?  Clueless, I retraced my steps. Continue reading