Charlotte Rains Dixon  

Vanity Fair & Binyavanga Wainaina & Bono

I’m slowly reading the June issue of Vanity Fair.  It’s the Africa issue edited by Bono.  I’ve got this fascination with Africa and all its complex issues.  Me and half the free world, it seems.

The issue is pretty amazing.  It’s full of informative articles and I like that they aren’t all gloom and doom.  There’s one written about Kenya that chooses to take a positive look at the country and the reforms it has experienced in the years since President Mwai Kibaki was elected in 2002.  The article talks about the Matutus, brightly (some might say garishly) decorated vehicles that serve as taxis in Nairobi and other cities, and the mobile equity banks that have sprung up.  Also a touching vignette abou election day and how practically the entire populace hung out at the polls to ensure a fair result. 

The author of the article is Binyavanga Wainaina, and he is listed in the contributor’s notes as the writer-in-residence at Union College in Schenectady, New York.  He is apparently an award-winning author and journalist who is completing a book of creative non-fiction(though why the editors at VF felt compelled to put creative non-fiction in quotes is beyond me–makes it sound like a fake genre). 

Anyway, I’m in love with Binyavanga now.  So far it’s unrequited love, and based on sentences like the following:  "I, too, spent 10 years locked indoors trying to make writing work, full of crazy acts of imagination and fear."


I’m actually reading the magazine really slowly because Bono makes me feel like such a slacker that I end up putting it down and going back to work to try to Accomplish Something.

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