Book Club chronicles – Talks about the ‘Otherness’ at Wang Thai

I may not have mentioned this before (or maybe I have) but the RASTA book club/supper club/ hang-out-together-and-stuff-ourselves-silly club is originally made up of a group of five aah-mazing ladies (myself included). Book club is however open to anyone that meets our so-called standards (i.e. can read and willing to pay ridiculous amount of money for food), so we have included two equally amazing ladies in the group. One of which is guest post blogger, Rukayat , also known as the voice of all Nigerians 🙂

Yes, I like to stereotype people.
And how fitting it was that we have the “voice of all Nigerians” as a member of our book club when we are reading “Half of a Yellow Sun” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This was the second time I read the book. And it was as good as the first time. Chimamanda has managed to put a more human face on the horrors of the Biafra War and any other war generally. She has the wonderful gift of constantly reminding her readers about the bigger picture as told by each of her characters. I honestly fall in love with her writing each time I read her books.
And so I came prepared to impress everyone with my analysis of the book – you know, using my well prepared paragraph as typed out above :). Little did I know that book club leader of the night is an economist by day but a social science professor by night. See exhibit A below:

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Some discussion points for tomorrow’s book club shindig:

1) The purpose of oscillating between the early and late 1960s

2) The choice of the three characters through which story is narrated (Ugwu, Olanna and Richard)

3) The perceptions of the three main classes of people living in Nigeria of one another and themselves (former British colonists, educated middle-class black Nigerians and lower-class Nigerians)

4) The ways in which the war made Nigerians both unequal and equal

5) How Adichi captures the horror of war so well (eg. physical, psychological, emotional)

6) The role of collective trauma in creating and/or cementing identity and the ‘otherness’ of this process

(excuse pretentious social science speak)

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The Otherness?!?

The otherness

The look on my face when I read these questions

WTF is the otherness”???

Yikes, I need to get new friends that aren’t such over-achievers.
Needless to say, we were all saved from admitting that we k now nothing about the otherness” when Nigerian Voice of the night gave us her perspective on the Biafra War, the #BringBackOurGirls campaign and all other issues affecting young Nigerians. It was by far the most productive and most “intellectual” book club night by far. We actually talked about the book and issues raised in the book for at least an hour.

A WHOLE HOUR!!! Hehehe, our “book club” may finally be a book club after all – and it only took reading Chimamanda to get us talking about the book.

However, worry not dear reader, our priorities are still in place – we did not forget to eat 🙂 and get wedding gossip from our two newly engaged ladies. Hehe, old habits won’t go away. Wang Thai is surprisingly affordable (not extremely cheap but not as expensive as other places in Sandton) with really good food.

Wang Thai_2

 

Wang Thai

Was it the best Thai food I’ve eaten? Not really – I still prefer Sai Thai in Cyrildene.

 

 

 

Happiness is…

The list of five things which have made me a happy girl this week.

5. Four day work weeks

#ThankYouANC
#Nonproductivity all week
#LongWeekendBliss
Need I say more? I think not 🙂

4. Dinner parties
A dear friend and her husband invited a group of us to their humble abode for a small dinner party on Thursday. Lots of fun was had by all – good food and drinks all around as well as a record player made for a fun night.

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Oh, and that flat was amazing. It was like stepping into one of those flats profiled on Top Billing. I made a mental note to NOT invite this couple to my place. Seriously, if that is their definition of humble, I am afraid to see what the flat will look like once it is fully furnished.

3. Cooking, baking and all things domesticated

Contrary to popular belief (*sides eyes my mother and brother*), I am not the world’s worst chef. And ok, ok, I don’t stand in front of the stove often but I at least know how to switch it on and boil rice (which hopefully won’t burn!). Ok, fine I will admit it – I’m slightly allergic to the kitchen. But it’s not my fault that I have a mother that cooks like Nigella Lawson every day. I don’t want to be a bad daughter and stop her from doing what she loves 🙂

My usual avoidance of the kitchen slightly changed this week – not only did I make amazing fish and mango curry but I also baked a whole chocolate cake. Don’t fall off your chair, I honestly baked a whole cake.

ALL. BY. MYSELF. See proof below because I know you think I am making this up.

Mango and fish curry

 

My attempt:

Yoh, this looks good

Yoh, this looks good

Yummy!

Yummy!

Chocolate Cake

The inspiration from www.yuppiechef.com

The inspiration from http://www.yuppiechef.com

My attempt:

 

Chocolate cake!

My first chocolate cake!

All within the same week – yum! 🙂

2. Falling in love with Chimamanda again
We are reading “Half of a Yellow Sun” for book club in anticipation of the movie release in June/July of this year. I first read this book three years ago coming home from my first trip to Cape Town.  This was the first “contemporary/modern” African fiction book that I read that wasn’t about apartheid. Yay! It made me angry, it made me laugh and sad at the same time. It made me reflect on how far we have come on this continent. This book also made me want to pack my bags and go to Nigeria to learn more about the Biafra War. I fell in love with Chimamanda and have subsequently read everything she has written, listened to all TED talks and speeches and tirelessly defend her to anyone that dares says anything negative about her. I’ve felt all of these emotions and more since I started reading it again.

1. The BIGGGGG BC!
For all the non-natural hair bloggers/blog followers – BC stands for “Big Chop”. Yes, I cut my hair. Finally.

My hair :(

My hair 😦

I walked into the hair salon early this morning and told the lady that I wanted to cut my hair. She took one look at my hair and advised me against it. Lol, the nerve of these hairdressers! I then had to carefully explain why I wanted to cut my hair and after my very thorough demonstration of all that is wrong with my crowning glory – she unwillingly took her pair of scissors and started snipping it off 🙂

All gone!

All gone!

And as cliched as this will sound, I honestly feel so liberated. It’s amazing how much baggage we hold in our hair. It took me close to ten months  to accept that my hair was really unhealthy. A split end is one thing but hair breaking as it grows is a whole different ball game. So here I am, short hair and all – feeling slightly scared and apprehensive but ready for a fresh start. Exciting times lie ahead!