Western progress wouldn’t have been as phenomenal as it is now if those women and men had not stood up to say, “No.” I don’t think America would have been where she is today, if you men hadn’t said no taxation without representation. Our world has been full of people who stood out. So, we cannot really say that this only belongs to the African writer. I think what is happening now is that we in Africa are fighting our own battle at a different time and in a different place entirely.


Ngugi wa Thiong’o himself was put in jail.1 I was one those running around gathering signatures just to tell his government to release him. You can imagine writers in America, in Europe, in Canada and so on, writing to an African President, telling him please, your citizen should be free. That’s the irony we live in. Wole Soyinka nearly lost his mind, because he opposed the Nigerian Civil War. Ken Saro-Wiwa, my good friend, paid the supreme price. So, we’re talking about courage. What people like me contributed, pales into insignificance, when we compare with what these other people have done, that basically the courage and the conviction that yes, the book could be a weapon.

  1. More Severe, Young Chicken []
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