Tell Your Own Story
If you don’t like someone’s story, write your own – so said the late Nigerian literary giant Chinua Achebe. This statement was made in 1990, when I was barely getting to like school. Then, my two questions were , “when would school be over?” and “ Whose house would I be going to after school to play?” For a girl of merely 6 years old- those concerns seemed reasonable to me.
However, years later, and after surviving a civil war and having multiple episodes of an identity crisis, I found myself at a place where I had to define myself and how I related to the world. In my arrival to the US, I found the use of the Internet. Juno was my first email and shortly after- I was a Myspace fanatic. There was a short period where Hi5 was contesting with MySpace. I blogged on both platforms, and as continued to “talk” I realized that I was expanding my network, and soon enough, I was talking to other Africans and Burundians! Given my disposition to avoiding any stories, on or about Africa, I surprised myself by finding out that while I had been jaded by years of war in my country, I still very much identified with my culture, and whatever sordid past that came with that.
When I became a full fledged blogger and consumer of digital media, I came across that quote by Achebe. I realized that for many years, I had let other people tell my story, whether it was that of an Africa, or of me as an African woman. The story was never uplifting, but what it told me was that on both ends, my future might not be bright were I to choose to engage myself with Africa. It was then that I decided that if I could tell the world my story, a story of Africa as I see it as a woman who is young, then I would not have to always depend on someone else’s story. This is the platform that Voice of Our Future gives me.