First of all, it’s so much more than just a luncheon; it is in fact an example of the unification of 3 parts of the African diaspora coming together to celebrate one of our shining stars!
The author, Dr. Okorafor was born in America, and has Nigerian parentage. Madieye Gueye of Yassa’s African Restaurant was born in Senegal. I was born in America and so were my parents. While we are all of African heritage, we got to this place by different paths. How exciting for this gathering of our diaspora on a business and personal level to celebrate the successful writing career of Dr. Okorafor.
Building on this synergy between us, we are also destroying some myths that are present in our community.
Some still hold the impression that Africans from the continent that come to America do not socialize with those that are here, or that “they don’t come to the South Side.” Sure, there may be some like this, but isn’t it more productive to focus and build upon those that are. When I approached Mr. Gueye, he was instantly in agreement to it. The timing couldn’t have been better. Dr. Okorafor has been a longtime supporter of his restaurant, and, she is a highly successful author, and, she happened to be in town for back-to-back releases of her latest African Sci-fi novels. Thanks to some close friends, I have expanded my reading selections from rigidly non-fiction to the imagination cultivating fiction realm. In reflection, I’ve shocked myself by the change, but after reading Okorafor’s “Zahrah, the Windseeker”, a whirlwind of adventure, magic and African seasoned prose, I was hooked. Lastly, Yassa’s restaurant has moved to the Bronzeville area! His previous location in the heart of a crime ridden area had a fire and forced him to move. The new location is beautiful, has on the street parking and a lot in the back. In other words, the many puzzle pieces that could have kept this event from materializing, instead, aligned like the Dogon observed Sirius B constellation of stars in the sky (seen every 50 years) thus making this the right event at this particular time. This is a beautiful representation of how we need to proceed as a people.
How wonderful, and how exciting I feel in looking forward to the community’s participating in this historic event.