Showing posts from June, 2014

Thank you, Maya Angelou

I found out about Maya Angelou’s passing from a new friend while visiting Uganda. Access to the internet was sporadic and I hadn’t checked Twitter for a glimpse of what was happening in the world. When he told me I slapped him on the arm (a terrible reflex I have when I’m shocked or angry) because in my mind I imagined her picture and words disappearing forever. But then I realised, people like her don’t really die, they live on forever. I remember the first time I encountered her work. I was in a library looking for something new. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for but I knew it when I saw it. It was an anthology of work by African-American women. The first poem in the anthology was Sojourner Truth’s Ain’t I a Woman. I couldn’t believe the treasure that was in the book. It was my first discovery of black women who wrote and wrote about things that mattered to my teenage mind. Yes, they were African-American but they made me receptive to the idea that writing and ideas matter…