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Taiye Selasi: I Am a Citizen of Our Culturally Hybridised World

Ghana Must Go“I’ve discovered that countless young people from all over the world share my experience of a personal identity that is unhooked from geopolitics,” Taiye Selasi said in an interview with O, The Oprah Magazine’s Thomas Okes. “Institutions that once gave rise to identity, like nation, state and even race, are evolving. The more I’ve travelled, the more I’ve seen that I am a citizen of our culturally hybridised world.”

Selasi described how the Sai family from her book, Ghana Must Go, appeared to her while she was at a retreat in Sweden, but after writing 100 pages and signing a two book deal she was suddenly afraid: “I was terrified of letting everybody down: from my agent and my editor to my mentor, the wonderfully generous Professor Toni Morrison. In the end, she taught me that the only lasting cure for fear is its opposite: love.”

In your 2005 essay on Afropolitanism, “Bye-Bye Babar (or, What is an Afropolitan?),” you say the question “Where are you from?” can yield a myriad answers within answers. So, if I may ask, where are you from?

The short answer is: this world. In the eight years since I wrote that essay, I’ve had the good fortune of speaking with a great many people in many different cities, about placeness. I’ve discovered that countless young people from all over the world share my experience of a personal identity that is unhooked from geopolitics. Institutions that once gave rise to identity, like nation, state and even race, are evolving. The more I’ve travelled, the more I’ve seen that I am a citizen of our culturally hybridised world.

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