why i blog about africa

Last November Abidjan-based blogger Théophile Kouamouo started the “Why I Blog About Africa” meme. Global Voices posted a round-up of responses from both Francophone and Anglophone bloggers, and now I’ve been tagged by Hash at White African. So, here goes:

I write about Africa because of the boda-boda driver I had earlier this week, who pleaded, “You add me 1000, you see I have no shoes!” and then told me I could come to Masaka with him and be his sister and his wife (exactly how this would work was unclear).

I write about Africa because two years ago, when I would come to Bubbles O’Leary’s Irish Pub in Kololo to use the free wireless, it was full of muzungus. Now, of the seven people in here with laptops, I am the only white one.

Sometimes I write about Africa because it is the only thing I can do: when I am angry that the HIV infection rate is rising in conjunction with the failures of American foreign policy or when I am ashamed of how little I understand this world.

Sometimes I write about Africa because it is funny: when I am pursued by a love-stricken boda-boda driver or when the Aga Khan seems omnipresent.

But mostly, I write about Africa because I am afraid I will forget. I am afraid that if this blog is not constantly on my mind, even when I am not writing, then I will forget my neighbor Moses, who gave me groundnuts and did Tae-Bo with me on my porch, things that bound us together as friends. I am afraid I will forget a dying communist and heated conversations on a balcony far above the city and the taste of warm Pilsner in the darkness of a Gulu night.

It sounds, even now as I am sitting surrounded by the smell of Kampala, melodramatic and romanticized. Still, for me, blogging about Africa means that a part of me is eternally connected to that place: that even if I am thousands of miles away from the continent, part of me will always exist there, just as part of it will always exist with me.