Space at the table


A few years ago I started the journey towards self-publishing. What led me down this route is the realisation that if my children were ever going to embrace who they are; their language and culture in a foreign land, I would have to help them along by allowing them to access images of themselves through the written word. I set out on this journey when my nephew was born, in part because my daughter missed out on accessing high quality literature in our language. Looking back, my only access was the bible and Bemba hymn books and because I believe that we cannot expect white people to write our stories, I decided to serve up books for my family’s children. Traditional publishers were a non starter, so self publishing it was. 7 years down the line, my book is written, and a few months back, I realised that I am still asking for space at the table, in order to serve what I want these babies to consume.

It turns out that Amazon doesn’t allow self-publishing in native African languages but does cater for Afrikaans and Arabic. I don’t know why I didn’t look into this, but we’re back to the drawing board and I have possibly found another outlet but maybe we need to stop asking for space at the table and instead take our children back to our African table and serve them high quality brain food of our choosing. The words of one of my favourites Steve Biko ring true. Maybe it’s time to create the spaces we want, to develop our Africa according to our ways and then invite those who will to join us, on our terms … Not with a sense of racial superiority or as copycats of others but as a people filled with pride in our God given worth. We cannot keep knocking on homes not our own, asking for a place at tables not our own, expecting our children to find worth in borrowed lessons.

Amazon isn’t just the right table to sit at, and I came to the conclusion that maybe if my books are not welcome there, my money isn’t either. Until that changes, I will not be shopping there. Do any of you know of any tables created specifically for us?

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