Ike Okonta, the brilliant Cambridge-trained Africanist, reared in the Niger delta, wrote me the other day about my “manifesto” on the importance of understanding African society and political economy from the standpoint of the normal and normative rather than the pathological and dysfunctional.
She wrote from Britain:
“Many thanks for this manifesto. I have always insisted that my continent is ‘normal’ just as Europe or the US is ‘normal.’ Any meaningful analysis of the African condition must proceed from the assumption that the people are simply just that, ‘people,’ with their faults and virtues, their high and low moments. That Africa has had a tough patch to hoe these past 600 years is clear enough. The actors of this tragic drama are local as well as foreign. Opposed to these actors is the real Africa – ordinary people plodding on against staggering odds, and while at it blessing the world with music and laughter. There is much I rue about my continent, but I wont exchange it for any other in the world.”