Gemma Edom reviews The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma and Gbolahan Obisesan’s subsequent stage adaptation of the novel.
30.2 | West Africa
The Shahnameh consists of some fifty thousand couplets usually divided into three sections – the mythical, heroic, and historical. It narrates the global story of a people – referred to by its author Ferdowsi as Iranians – from the creation of the world to the Arab conquest of the Sassanian Empire in the 650s.
You struggle in vain to remember when it all started. But the more you think, the murkier it gets in your brain, to the point that you can’t distinguish reality from daydream.
That a Black, West African Muslim exists in the world today should not come as a surprise. The spread of Islam into Africa dates as far back as the middle of the seventh century with the faith spreading to West African regions that now comprise modern day Burkina Faso, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal.
The new West African creators, across music, film, literature, science and technology, working with and from this space, are inventing a future that has already begun.
In 1950, roughly half the world’s urban population lived in Europe and North America. A few decades on, Asia has eclipsed Europe and is today home to half the world’s city dwellers.
What would come to mind if West African Architecture was the title of this piece? A strange mix of images may surface. These are likely to range from traditional adobe construction, to geometric detailed carvings, to modern mega constructions of contemporary West African cities.