Yano, has moved Hello Kitty into a new light by digging below the surface and giving the pop culture icon her full academic due. If popular culture is prone to disposable (mostly Eastern) heroes and fads (e.g., Pokemon, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, etc.), Hello Kitty is the exception to the rule. She has dominated from East to West, in her native home of Japan all the way to Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Integrated as part of Japan’s “cute” culture (kawaii), Hello Kitty has a history all her own.
Darling promises her mother that she will come home for a visit soon, even though she knows she won’t because she doesn’t have the proper paperwork to return to America again. She misses the friends she grew up with, but at the same time feels estranged from them. One of them, Chipo, tells her on a Skype call that she can’t refer to Zimbabwe as her country anymore, since she treated it as a burning house and ran away from it instead of trying to put out the flames: “Darling, my dear, you left the house burning and you have the guts to tell me, in that stupid accent that you were not even born with, that doesn’t even suit you, that this is your country?”
more about this first novel, here.
…a hearse stops. Two men slide out a coffin and a limp body, and they leave. The limp body eventually comes to life: It’s a young man, a black South African who has been transported across the border into Botswana. A refugee, he looks up to see a thin, ghost-like dog sitting next to him. As the man begins to walk, in search of food and a place to sleep, the white dog follows him.
…in which [the author] evokes with mischievousness and emotion his childhood in Pointe-Noire, the Congolese port city on the Atlantic coast…Alain Mabanckou speaks about African identity, his eclectic influences and why it is difficult to define an “African literature”…
A new United Nations report say the health benefits of consuming nutritious insects could help fight obesity and world hunger. More than 1,900 species of insects are eaten around the world, mainly in Africa and Asia, but people in the West generally turn their noses up at the likes of grasshoppers, termites and other crunchy fare.
“I think I’m ridiculously fortunate. I consider myself a Nigerian—that’s home, my sensibility is Nigerian. But I like America, and I like that I can spend time in America. But, you know, I look at the world through Nigerian eyes, and I am happiest when I am in Nigeria. I feel most—I question myself the least in Nigeria. You know, I don’t think of myself as anything like a ‘global citizen’ or anything of the sort. I am just a Nigerian who’s comfortable in other places.”
more from a conversation (audio and text) with the author, here.
Why should the rest of the world care? Horace said it best: mutate nomine de te tabula narratur. ‘Change only the name and this story is also about you.’ Where ever justice suffers our common humanity suffers, too. I will live to see the light at the end of the tunnel. It may or may not be a long wait. Whichever way events may go, I shall persevere!
Central and northern Nigeria exemplify what happens when a country abandons certain regions so completely, failing to provide adequate education, social services, development, employment, and transparent political culture: extreme results rise up. In Plateau, I have spent time with a Christian who makes and sells guns, a reflective twenty-two-year old man with melancholic eyes who once thought he would go to college and start his own business, until his hometown became an undeclared war zone.