Searching, and hoping to find ‘home’

Searching, and hoping to find 'home'

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“Where is home?” the author Sulaiman Addonia says, is a question he finds overrated. Home for him is not a physical place, it’s a feeling one can discover in a lover’s eyes or even a song. Addonia’s beautiful, sensual novel “Silence is My Mother Tongue” is somewhat autobiographical; he was born in Eritrea, raised in a Sudanese refugee camp and spent his teenage years in Saudi Arabia. For someone born into a life of nomadic uncertainty, his observations are understandable. For an African American descendant of enslaved people who were taken from their home country, it’s a truth to consider. But it doesn’t quite satisfy my soul.

Addonia and I were part of a fast, fun clique of Western-based writers and journalists who bonded immediately among the thousands of kindred spirits at the Ake Arts and Book Festival in Lagos, Nigeria, last October. Director Lola Shoneyin invited us there to engage in panel discussions exploring the complicated relationship we Africans of the diaspora have with the continent we think of as home.

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