‘My Friend’ short excerpt from So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ

mariama BAIn my bid to discover, read and introduce to you all short piece of literature from great authors of Africa Descent, I am going back to a classic little book written by one of Senegal’s most cherished female authors the Late Mariama Bâ. I read one of two of her only novels So Long a Letter in college, and I am forever in love with her great command of words. This novel won the 1980 Noma Prize for Publishing in Africa and I totally believe that it  is one of the most profound illustration of the female condition (good or bad) in African context. Case in point, here is a very short excerpt that I will call ‘My Friend’ for you to read that perfectly highlights why I think she is one of Africa’s greatest authors that ever lived…Bisous

My Friend: A short excerpt from So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ
If over the years,
and passing through the realities of life,
dreams die,
I will still keep intact my memories,
the salt of remembrance.

I conjure you up.
The past is reborn,
along with its
procession of emotions.

I close my eyes.
Ebb and tide of feeling:
heat and dazzelment,
the woodfires,
the sharp green mango,
bitten into in turns,
a delicacy in our greedy mouth.

I close my eyes.
Ebb and tide of images:
drops of sweat
beading your mother’s… face,
as she emerges from the kitchen;
the procession of young wet girls
chattering on their way back from the springs.

We walked the same paths
from adolescence to maturity,
where the past begets the present
My friend, my friend, my friend.
I call on you three times
Yesterday you were divorced.
Today I am a widow.
MARIAMA

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