There are few people that can make a first impression so lasting that it makes you see your craft in a whole new light.
I first became aware of Prof. Kofi Awoonor when I heard that he was to speak and have a masterclass at the Storymoja Hay Festival. I became interested in his work after reading a study of his work, ‘This Earth, My Brother’.
His masterclass on ‘The Responsibility of the African Writer’ was especially revealing. Here was a man who had written longer than my country had been independent. He represented a link with the past, with the age-old traditions of singing and performing poetry that are now classified dryly as ‘Oral Literature’. The fact that these poems and songs of Africa have influenced genres as varied as spoken word, hip hop and rap show that African literature has a profound contribution to make to the rest of the world.
He was a man who found humour in everything, even in the fact that his name had been misspelt in the event programme.