Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Review: Our Sister Killjoy by Ama Ata Aidoo

I guess I am just drawn to classic African Diaspora literature. No, actually I have so many books in my library that I haven't read that are just as old as I am!

Our Sister Killjoy by Ama Ata Aidoo is one of those books in my most recent reading rituals that provoked a lot of thoughts around the subject of the never ending topic of the African Brain Drain. First published in 1970, it is interesting that forty-four years later the main topics of cultural denial, everything white is right and the illusion of happiness in material gain are still relevant in 2014.

If you are a Native African living abroad, this book is a must read. It contains all the familiarity of the world you left behind and it gets you thinking about the world you live in as a foreigner in another man's land. This work in four short stories is a great self reflection piece in the intentions of the modern West African who leaves home in search of opportunity in the world. Our Sister Killjoy is an intense criticism of the excuses given by Africans who willingly participate in the African Brain Drain.

Ama Ata Aidoo has a style of writing that reminds you of that grandmother or auntie that can call you stupid in such a nice way that you don't realize the insult until long after she has left the room! The stories center around Sister who exudes a wisdom in her youth that makes her the perfect character to bring forth volumes of hypocrisies that Africans abroad participate in everyday of their lives.

Living in West Africa and Ghana in particular, I have witnessed the overwhelming desire of the educated and the youth to leave the country instead of working to create ways to improve the present situations that affect the lives of everyone. Aidoo tells the truth of today 40 years ago. The sad cycle continues. This book is excellent to remind the youth to honor and seek the beauty and progress in life that is available right in their homeland. If you travel abroad, learn what you can to return to help build a better world for the Motherland.

Dr. Akua Gray
November 6, 2014
Houston, TX

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