Nnedi Okorafor: Sci-fi stories that imagine a future Africa
Nnedi Okoroafor: Akụkọ Sayensi na-echepụta Afrika nke ọdịnihụ.
Nnedi Okorafor weaves African cultures into the evocative settings and memorable characters of her science fiction work for kids and adults. Full bio
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from a traditional family
si na ezinụlọ
university in the galaxy,
mahadum nke kacha mma na ụzọ kpakpando dị na
from my "Binti" novella trilogy:
si na akụkọ "Binti" di ụzọ atọ
and said a silent prayer.
wee kpee ekpere n'ime obi m
to do if it didn't work.
ma ọ bụrụ na ọ rụghị ọrụ
or, more likely, a grain of sand,
ma ọ bụ otu mkpụrụ aja
I had to restart it over and over
ana m ebidokarị ya ọtụtụ oge
please not now," I thought.
e kwuru m n'ime obi m.
and I held my breath.
m wee jide ume m
slowly rose from the sand.
jiri nwayọ bilie n'aja
the baggage-lifting force.
ike nke buliri ya
to the shuttle on time.
n'ugbọelu ahụ n'oge.
with my index finger and knelt down,
m wee sekpuru ala
red clay into it.
ụrọ na-esi isi ọma n'ime ya.
along the dark desert road.
n'ogologo ụzọ ọzara gbara ọchịchịrị.
I would make it there on time.
Aga m eru ebe ahụ n'oge
I paused and shut my eyes.
kwụsịnata, wee mechie anya m.
was pressing on my shoulders.
na arụgide m n'ubu.
part of myself for the first time
m na emere onwe m isiike
and they had no clue.
ma ha amaghịị.
ma ewepụ nke nwanyi na nke nwoke ndi nke obere
except for my younger sister and brother,
chepụta na aga m emenwu udi ihe a n'ụwa a.
I'd do such a thing in a million years.
ịhe m mere na ebe m na-aga
what I'd done and where I was going,
would growl to each other
nna m ga na-atagbu onwe ha.
to set foot in their home again.
n'ụlọ ha ọzọ.
bụ ndị bi na mgbada okporo ụzọ
who lived down the road
agburu anyi niile.
the entire bloodline.
takwunyere ụgbọ njem
to the transporter,
around each ankle jingled noisily,
na nkwonkwo ụkwụ m abụọ yọgharịrị,
ọrụ mgbe m anaghị emetụ ya aka.
when I didn't touch it.
ọsụsọ ana apụta m n'ihu isi.
sweat forming on my brow.
sitting atop the force field a shove.
nọ n'elụ ogbe ike aka.
and I breathed another sigh of relief.
m wee kutuo ume.
n'ọdịnihu nke Africa,
of the Himba ethnic group.
nke agbụrụ Himba
into a university on another planet,
n'ime mahadum dị n'ụwa ọzọ,
ndi agbụrụ ya n'akwara nke ya.
of her people in her veins,
ways, even the land on her very skin,
ya mma, ma n'elu akpụkpọ ahụ ya,
ọ ghọghị onye ọzọ, kama tinyekwuo n'elu nke ọ bụ.
she becomes not other, but more.
and then becoming more
wee bịa ghọọ ndị ọzọ
a different type of science fiction.
ụdị akụkọ sayensi dị iche.
classic science fiction and Afrofuturism
nka akụkọ sayensị amaara ama na Afrofuturism
anụ ndị nwere oke amamiihe n'ụwa.
intelligent creatures on earth.
from a different evolutionary line,
site n'usoro nke evolushọn dị iche,
of various forms of science fiction.
akụkọ sayensị dị n'ụdị n'ụdị.
societies, social issues,
ọha mmadụ, nsogbu ọha na eze,
what's within our planet.
ihe dị n'ime ụwa anyị.
and most effective forms
na ụdị dị na
has the same ancestral bloodline,
si n'otu ahịrị ndi nnanna
Robert Heinlein, etc.
Robert Heinlein, dgz.
dee akụkọ sayensị?
wrote science fiction?
read much science fiction.
ọtụtụ akụkọ sayensị.
colonization and seeing aliens as others.
ndị ala ọzọ, ọchịchị na ịhụ ndị ọbịa ka ndị ọzọ.
who looked like me in those narratives.
yiri m n'ime akụkọ ndị ahụ
to seek education from extraterrestrials.
ịchọ ịhe ọmụmụ site na ndi ụwa ọzọ.
usoro ejiri mara akụkọ ngapụ ụwa,
a line of classic space opera narratives,
hapụrụ ụwa etu o sịrị chọọ ya.
leave the planet on her own terms.
had different ancestors,
nwere ndị nna nna dị iche,
Nigerian immigrant parents
ndị Naijiria kwabatara Amerika
of classic science fiction.
akụkọ sayensị malitere.
that led me to write science fiction.
mere m jiri malite dewe akụkọ sayensị.
to Nigeria in the late '90s.
Naijiria oge ndịda afọ niile gbasara oge 1990
with my family since I was very young.
kemgbe m dị na nwata.
even wrote took place in Nigeria.
ka m dere ya.
cosmologies and spiritualities.
ndị ọzọ dị n'ebe ọdịda anyanwụ Afrika
the role of technology in Nigeria:
ọrụ teknụzụ na-arụ na Naijiria:
to my cousin's desktop computer
kọmpụta ibenna m ọkụ.
was always going on and off.
ịhe ndị Naijiria ejighi kpọrọ ịhe.
that most Nigerians saw as normal.
bụ ịhe mechara mụpụta akụkọ.
gave birth to stories.
n'akwụkwọ akụkọ m bu "Lagoon"
from my novel, "Lagoon."
to the great mess happening in Lagos,
na-egosi nnukwu ọgba aghara na-eme na Lagos,
had portable, chargeable,
nwere ngwaọrụ obere a na-achanwu ọkụ,
communicating, connected devices,
nwekwara njikọ n'ịntaneti,
and posted online in some way,
na-ebugo ya n'ịntaneti n'ụzọ ọbụla,
is connected like a spider's web.
jikọtara ọnụ ka ọnya nwa ụdudo.
dominated every international news source,
na-achị akwụkwọ akụkọ ọ bụla dị na mba ụwa
circle, pyramid and trapezoid.
okirikiri, piramidi na trapezoidi.
past, present and future.
n'oge gara aga, ugbu a nakwa n'ọdịnihu.
and ancestors who dwelled in Lagos.
ya na ndi nna nna biiri na Lagos.
of the people of Lagos.
the supreme spider artist,
oke ọmenka ududo,
beneath the city of Lagos,
n'okpuru obodo Lagos
of extraterrestrials coming to Lagos.
ndị si ụwa ọzọ bịa Lagos
who was the size of a house
nke ha ka ụlọ
the past, present and future
ihe gara aga, ugbua na ọdịnihu
and be a part of the story.
ma bia soro n'akụkọ ahụ.
and sociopolitical changes it'll inspire.
na mgbanwe ndị mmadụ nke ọ ga-akpalite.
science fiction can be a will to power.
nwere ike ịbụ uche ga-enye ike.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERNnedi Okorafor - Science fiction writer
Nnedi Okorafor weaves African cultures into the evocative settings and memorable characters of her science fiction work for kids and adults.
Why you should listen
Nnedi Okorafor is an award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism. Born in the US to Nigerian immigrant parents, Okorafor is known for weaving African cultures into creative settings and memorable characters. Her books include Lagoon (a British Science Fiction Association Award finalist for best novel), Who Fears Death (a World Fantasy Award winner for best novel), Kabu Kabu (a Publisher's Weekly best book for Fall 2013), Akata Witch (an Amazon.com best book of the year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature) and The Shadow Speaker (a CBS Parallax Award winner).
Her 2016 novel The Book of Phoenix is an Arthur C. Clarke Award finalist, while the first book in the Binti Trilogy won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella. Her children’s book Chicken in the Kitchen won an Africana Book Award. The final installment of the Binti Trilogy, titled The Night Masquerade, will be released in September 2017, and the sequel to Akata Witch (titled Akata Warrior) is was published in October 2017. Meanwhile, her book Who Fears Death has been optioned by HBO, with Game of Thrones' George R.R. Martin as executive producer.
Okorafor is a full professor at the University at Buffalo, New York (SUNY).
Nnedi Okorafor | Speaker | TED.com