I spent my Saturday afternoon with the author of Bama’s Twins Coumba Toure from Bamako,Mali. I met Coumba in Chiang Mai, Thailand during the 10 Annual Global youth summit. Recently Coumba was heading back to Mali after official duty in Washington DC , she was unable to land in her country of residence due to the unrest in Bamako. We are familiar with the horrific details of the situation as was explained by our former Foreign affairs minister Moses Wetangula. Coumba is safe with her family and spent 2 weeks in Kenya awaiting news over Mali’s fate in Nairobi.
While in Nairobi together with with Ndanu Mung’ala an associate, we talked about Coumba’s book which brings back the essence of children’s literature authored by creative African writers.
This book captures my attention perhaps due to the delicacy of the story, “One day, Bama tells her twin girls that she is not their birth mother. The girls embark on a journey to find their mother and discover many mothers along the way.”
“Who then, is our mother?”
Baji Spoke with much sorrow.
“I don’t know her. That’s why it was difficult to tell you this news.”
“We must try to find her.” Sanji said,with tears in her eyes. “Why didn’t you ever tell us this before?”
“How are we going to find her? We don’t knowanything about her!” Baji added. “We do not know her name or her face.”
Coumba Toure shoes us, through adaptation form a traditional tale, why children in the Sahel have many mothers.
Coumba is currentl the director of the Sahel/West Africa region of Ashoka Foundation she is also running the Falia Children’s Program in Dakar, in which children’s brilliance in poetry, theater, visual arts and writing, consistently enchants her.
She also runs a publishing house, to put more children’s books out to the public. These days, Coumba is learning to live with intimacy, without fear. She dreams of living outside of the city, finding ways to use solar energy, growing food, being more patient with herself and others, trusting her intuitions, and having more time for her writing.
It’s amazing these are the same dreams i long to see manifest in my life. Folks, we’ll be bringing Bama’s twins to a shelf or school near you. Sharp! Sharp!