Friday, February 19, 2010

A bit more about M. G. Vassanji

I mentioned that award-winning author M. G. Vassanji was around last month, and he took the time to encourage our fledgeling writing scene by meeting with would-be writers. The Serengeti Advisers Ltd. blog has put up a recent interview that they conducted with him. Of particular interest to me was his take on race and identity:

"I am an African Asian, [but] Canada is where I live [and] where my children [were] born and brought up, so it’s very much a part of me. But I cannot dissociate that from, you know, my heritage or […] the place where I was born, where I grew up where I was formed, you know, sounds and sights [that] I carry with me. Part of […] growing up in Africa, was growing up as an Asian African or as an Indian African, because everyone has a tribe and my tribe was Indian tribe. [There were] certain cultural practices, certain spiritual attitudes, certain foods we ate, and languages. Besides, the sort of language of the land, Kiswahili, everyone had their tribal languages, our tribal language was Kachhi, Gujarati or both. That’s how I saw it. Having grown up here and having gone away, I sort of ask myself, what it is, I cannot say that I am this and no longer that. For me that’s baloney."

Check out the rest of the interview on The Exchange.


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