Ryszard Kapuscinski: Binyavanga Replies to Nigerian PEN Centre

(Binyavanga’s reply to Remi Raji of the Nigerian PEN Centre)

I agree. Mr. Ryszard Kapuscinski has a right to believe and write what he wants; and so ‘gagging’ him makes no sense to me. What is important is making our own voices clear about how we see our world.

I am far more skeptical than you are about his motives, and have less sympathy. His frequent manipulation of generally acknowledged fact signals to me one who chooses to bend reality to suit his preconceived notions (or notions he wishes to perpetuate). I do not believe his distortions to be the well-meaning exoticisations of a ‘naive’. With each book his boldness has become more apparent…

It has become a great tradition in literature and in the media to make careers over reporting on the ‘unknown’ – mostly because one can avoid the kind of upfront criticism and scrutiny one gets from reporting from within one’s source country – to the same audience…

Having ‘sympathy’ for Mr. Kapuscinski suggests that he has ‘lost’ something – is the ‘victim’ of something – whereas the truth is the victims are those he chooses to distort with his pen. And those who buy into his ideas and perpetuate them, and decide how to see Africa, based on his eyes…

The pen is a powerful thing…

Many thanks,

Binyavanga Wainaina

About bulletsandhoney
I read my first book when I was three, then my second one a few weeks later. It has carried on this way for decades with only temporary distractions of eating, fighting, loving, heartbreak and other such irrelevant biographical details.

One Response to Ryszard Kapuscinski: Binyavanga Replies to Nigerian PEN Centre

  1. nehanda says:

    oh my god..thank you for this (yvonne vera). ive always loved her work..there is a certain surrealism about her writing

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