Chika A. Ezeanya presents “Before we set sail”

chika22About the Author:
Chika A. Ezeanya holds a African Development and Policy Studies from Howard University in Washington D.C. (2011). A Ryiochi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellow, Chika has consulted for the World Bank on several projects in Washington D.C., Nigeria and in Rwanda. A writer and public intellectual, Chika’s manuscript was one of six shortlisted out of 250 submissions from African writers all over the world, for the inaugural Penguin Publishers Award for African Writing 2010. Chika is widely published on several academic and non-academic platforms, including NewsAfrica London and Pamabazuka news.
Chika believes that African development ought to be founded on indigenous knowledge, with knowledge borrowed from other continents playing a supportive role. Having conducted research, worked and taught graduate and undergraduate classes in three continents, Chika is convinced of the workability of her thesis. She has devoted her life to the research and dissemination of indigenous knowledge as the basis for the social, cultural, political and economic advancement of Africa.

What inspired this work?
The unfortunate situation where African history has been presented as the history of darkness has brought about debilitating psychological consequences for Africans. A people without a sense of history cannot understand their present challenges and will even be more unable to shape their future. Africans suffers from a biased understanding of their history; what is peddled as African history is often no more than a compilation of biased and racially based reports by missionaries and colonial administrators.

The realization of the lies presented as African history led the researcher to embark on an intensive search into what constitutes authentic African history and to present it in the most readable format, which is a historical fiction.

Under which conditions the book has been written:
For her research, the author had to travel to the parts of  West Africa where the events contained in the book occurred. She also extensively used the Library Congress and other libraries to be able to gain information about 18th century West Africa.

Anecdotes about this masterpiece:
Out of 250 submissions, Before We Set Sail (in its unpublished, manuscript form) was one of six shortlisted for the Penguin Publishers Award for African Writing.

ChikaA short summary of this work:
It is 1755 – 1756 within the deep interiors of West Africa. A boy of about eleven is kidnapped with his eight year old sister. Strap your sandals and embark on an intriguing journey with Olaudah Equiano as he weaves a captivating tale of escape and resale from one African slave master to another. Get lost in time as Olaudah renders the most enchanting accounts of the implausible events he encountered during his travels as a child slave from the interiors to the coast of West Africa.
Before We Set Sail offers a gripping, refreshingly witty and highly adventurous account of the Africa of 1755 – 56, from the double points of view of an African boy and a British adult writing in 1796.