Inside MAI Blog: Thoughts on global publishing
It Matters Who Tells the Story
My wife and I took Kenyan friend Wambura Kimunyu to a Chicago- area bookstore one night this week. We browsed until the store closed. Then, the following day at an MAI lunch meeting, Wambura revealed a discovery from the previous night.
“I hunted for the ‘Africa section,’” she said. “I found 20 books on one shelf, and none of them were written by Africans.
“Do stories matter?” she continued, speaking to a small group of Christian publishing friends munching a pizza lunch at MAI. “Does it matter who tells the stories? Does it matter when they are told, where they are told, why they are told?”
Most definitely, yes, Wambura said to those questions. She challenged the group--all “gatekeepers” of some kind in publishing—to serve as channels for authentic African voices. “African storytellers need to participate in telling their own stories,” she said.
The alternative is to relegate ourselves to the prevalent “CNN Africa” picture of the continent, Wambura said, which focuses only on Africa’s exotic animals and fauna, or its wars, hunger and disease.
Wambura's comments echo MAI’s goal of helping equip local authors around the world. But even I came under conviction of our need to do more—with even something as simple as giving this blog space to the occasional guest writer from Africa, Latin America or wherever.
An invaluable member of MAI’s international Board of Directors, Wambura is a premier thinker and business woman in Kenya. She is the chief commercial officer for Cellulant, an African mobile services company providing content and commerce, and she previously directed the Africa work of International Bible Society (IBS).
I wish you could have heard Wambura at the MAI lunch. But, as a next-best option, why not visit her insightful and thought-provoking blog, “What an African Woman Thinks,” at http://wherehermadnessresides.blogspot.com/. You'll see why she was named one of Africa’s top 50 female bloggers in 2008.
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