I am very pleased to share that ‘We Will Tell Our Own Story!’ has been published, and is now available everywhere. I conceived this project in 2011 after speaking in Penang, Malaysia. I wanted to write a book that contested the universalizing effects of western epistemologies – and I wanted to do it with the most potent writers on the African continent and in diaspora. I got Professors Molefi Asante (USA), Ama Mazama (Guadeloupe), Augustine Nwoye (Nigeria), Nnamdi Ekeanyanwu (Nigeria), and the amazing Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga (among others) to be part of the project. The late, great Chinua Achebe wrote me in a note to bless the work.
Many of the authors that contributed to this work didn’t know me; all I had was a desire to say “we in Africa have stories too”. The idea that our lives had to fit the ethics of progress and development, or that the only way to think of the sacred was in terms of institutionalized religion, or that my skin colour was evidence of my ontological inferiority, called for some kind of response. It’s here. Here’s what some scholars are saying about it:
“This superb book will be a landmark in African studies because the scholars who have undertaken the task of telling their own social sciences, humanities, and literary narratives have displayed a sharp and penetrating engagement with history, politics and culture in such a powerful manner that one cannot read these chapters without claiming them to be the gold standard in contemporary thinking.” ~ AARON SMITH, TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, USA
“We Will Tell Our Own Story is instructive to scholars and general readers as a method of confronting the manifold problems of misinterpretation and false presentations about African people. I find this work to be extraordinary in conception and execution.” ~ SWAHILI SMT, FEDERAL UNIVERSITY OF BAHIA, BRAZIL
Ej [Bayo’s life partner] and I feel proud of this little-book-that-could, almost tearfully so. It’s very academic in tone – and the language may be more specific to certain communities. Overall, the book represents an earlier time in my evolution as an intellectual – and I am happy to see how far Ej and I have evolved since then.
In these times of horrifying racial exclusions, of inappropriated others, of static natures and interrupted landscapes, this defiant critter of a book chirps a tune worth listening to.