mental health

Ake Festival 2016 Review: Three Personal Lessons

On the first day of the festival, alongside two other writers, I spent time at Lantoro High School speaking to the students about reading writing, and making a career in the arts. It was so heart-warming to talk with youths who had a genuine interest in the arts, and wanted to know how to navigate this thing they loved. I was somewhat heartbroken to hear they barely had books in their school library - a reality in various schools in Nigeria that The Book Banque works to alleviate. Oh, what a difference it would make for such children! For me, the memory of books were both an escape and inspiration in my childhood; one that I cherish. That, unlike my actual panel session, is a clear memory. For most of the session, I was anxious about talking in front of people. It felt like I was out of my body and watching myself talk. One of the other panellists, Lidudumalingani - whose Caine Prize winning story, Memories We Lost, is about a character’s experience of a loved one with Schizophrenia - talked about the need to take advocacy beyond just creating the art, and find ways to translate it for impact even at the grassroots.