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The Rise Of ‘Woke’ African Writers by Katchy Ohiaeri

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Akwaeke Emezi identifies as a non-binary ogbanje. Just by reading the words, the term oxymoron is typified. Non-binary, a claimed gender, typically emanating from perceptions and feelings that one is no longer male or female but a phantom gender, is featured side by side to a metaphysical creature in Igbo ontology, ogbanje.

Well Ogbanje I know, I don’t know non-binary in Igbo ontology! This is not transphobia but fact checking.

Ogbanje’s are known to be spirits that invade the human race. They are born into families and these children hardly live past their teenage years before they die and “reincarnate” in the subsequent child that is born.

Emezi, the self acclaimed Ogbanje and spirit being in human form, should be pushing 30 and I dare say, has defied all the odds that can make her a suitable example of an ogbanje.

Ogbanje kids usually are sickly, of which modern medical science has attributed the belief to the sickle cell disease which was not yet discovered at the time of the popularity of this belief in Igbo land.

I don’t think Emezi was a sickly child or even a sickler. She looks healthy, very healthy to me.

The reason I write this is to buttress my resentments towards this knack for twisting African history, religion, ontology or what have you to suit the sentiments and the sensibilities of the west.

I see that African writings are now skewed towards the western culture and sensibilities such that when they are churned out, they leave a bad taste in the mouth of true Africans who have lived the real African experience.

The continuous lack luster depiction of African stories in hybrid forms aimed at reflecting the experiences of the west by intelligently infusing African history and ontology into western culture in a bid to get the reading audience excited and included, will remain a mirage to a lot of true African writers.

The other day, it was a debate orchestrated by Chimamanda, that the culture of Igbo women marrying women in the family had a lot of correlation with bisexuality and lesbianism.

All this to pander to the whims and caprices of the west? Such that we lose our history as it is and as it should be told!

Where are the writers like Chinua Achebe, who simply put pen to paper and penned down deep insights into the African lived experiences?

All we have now are economic African writers, from poverty porn to LGBTQ+ indulgence.

In a bid to get the west to appreciate the “metaphysical and queerness” that comes with Igbo mythology, Emezi had to surgically yank off her breasts, remove her uterus and Fallopian tubes to underpin her opinions that to prevent an ogbanje from contributing to the human race that they are in essence sent to destroy, sterilization is paramount, in her own words, well not literally.

Wonderful!

@katchy Ohiaeri, 2021