10 Ted Talks By Nigerian Authors

 

Ideas by 10 Nigerian authors that are certainly worth sharing.

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With such humour and an undeniable command, Chris Abani highlights the relevance of stories in shaping identities. To truly know the continent of Africa, he avers, we must experience it through the stories we tell about ourselves and our continent. The transformation of the African story must take imagination, a commitment to nuance, and the absence of an essentialist African story.

 

Nnedi Okorafor, through her writing, is not afraid to push the envelope. Nigeria’s most celebrated Science Fiction writer, she delves into the worlds she created in Binti and Lagoon; illustrating Science Fiction as an agent that asks ‘what if?’ Okorafor shares her love for Igbo and other West African traditional cosmologies and spiritualities, and declares it homecoming for Africa’s Science Fiction.

 

Lola Shoneyin addresses the negative ways in which African societies view and project sex and how this, in turn, manifests in situations of rape and other oppressive sexual practices rife on the continent. She further emphasises the resultant effect that such conversations and the normalisation of destructive behaviours could have on boys, young men, and communities at large.

 

Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go, offers a revolutionary and refreshing outlook on the idea of home, locality and spatial politics. She rejects the myth of national identity and, likewise, the vocabulary of 'coming from' a country; embracing, instead, that experiences shape our identity. Her 3 Rs strategy will help determine where you are a local, and have you gushing at her intelligence.

 

In this Ted Talk, Ben Okri highlights the interaction between the two great stories of our lives—our public story and our secret story. Okri illustrates how we are shaped more by our private stories—that is, the stories embedded in us and, formed in us—versus the ones we tell about ourselves. He attempts to uncover ways in which who we really are sabotages who we want to be seen as.

 

Ijeoma Umebinyuo shares on the culture of silence deeply ingrained in the narrative surrounding the experiences of women across two continents. In this talk, she addresses the stigma of mental health and childhood abuse. She calls for the dismantling of certain codes of culture that encourage women to remain silent and glory in survival without addressing the pain.

 

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala analyses Africa’s transition from the ‘lost decade’ to ‘Africa rising;’ highlighting 6 successful policy decisions that paved the way for the continent’s trend and shifting narrative. She shares 8 mistakes we can learn from, and offers succinct and practical solutions to keep the continent moving forward.

 

In this Ted Talk, the 'happy African feminist' Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie shares her initial encounter with feminism; breaking down, very simply and concisely, what it means to be a feminist. She considers the reality of some of the challenges women face and explains why feminism should not be a dirty word for both men and women.

 

Titilope Sonuga reminds you of what a great storyteller she is. With beautifully strung words, she shares on her becoming, and the power of art to heal and build. Sonuga proves to be a mathematical equation herself: complex yet simple, powerful and doubly poetic. Her story, "pressed into her tongue," will pierce through your soul.

 

Luvvie Ajayi is no stranger to shaking tables. In this TedTalk, she recognises the urgency to speak up—particularly for those who have no voice—and to tell the hard truths. "Being yourself" she says "can be a revolutionary act.” Ajayi urges you to be the domino. Will you?


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