Well, the African world, as I know it — and when I say the African world, I limit myself to the West African world, because the African continent can never, never be defined as one monolithic entity.1 It’s maddening for anyone to even think about that.2 My world is one of magic.3 It is one of how we perceive movements and fantasy and reality in that world. Call it not an altered reality as that intellectual humbug called magic realism has come to be defined. But it is a perception that allows us to do more than dream, just a perception to — it’s a perception in which we see ourselves as relating to a world larger than ourselves, a world in which there’s magic, yes, there’s fantasy, but at the same time, there’s also the idea of a belief system.4 And that belief system is part of our inherited genius, given to us from generation to generation.5 And that is what I inherited from my parents, from the storytellers.6
So, when I was talking about the dead, well, we do believe it’s — when people die, where I come from, and we’re not the only ones who so believe. The Chinese believe it. I think Jewish people also probably believe it. Eastern Europeans do. Irish people also do it. We are in a world where we believe that we are part of the universe inhabited not just by us, those of us that you can see every day, but the others that we may not necessarily see, but we feel.7 But more importantly, they can see us, larger than that. That is the belief system that I grew up with, that the dead see us.