A great woman just died. This meekulu’s works are absolutely amazing and her impact is forever rooted deep in the world; she will live forever.
This genius of literature is Toni Morrison. I fell in love with her ideas back in university when I first began reading her works.
Born in February 1931, the distinguished and uniquely talented Toni Morrison died this week on Monday at the age of 88. Née Chloe Anthony (Toni) Wofford in Ohio in the USA, she achieved many fantastic things and most importantly, she gladly left the world her lessons about how to survive, how to sing with your mind and talents, and how to glow.
For those who may not know, Toni Morrison will forever be a highly acclaimed, Nobel Prize winning American novelist, essayist, editor, teacher and professor emeritus at Princeton University. Google her to find out more specifics.
In my mind, like Maya Angelou and Gwendolyn Brooks, Toni Morrison is a literary teacher, no…more than that, a mwalimu. Her wisdom expressed in words cut deeply into a global understanding of struggle and victory, challenge and harmony, dreams and reality, strength and weakness, and vulnerability vs iron clad fortitude.
The palette for her novels, stories, interviews and essays is the lives of black Americans and the history of our struggle from the shores of Africa to the mid-west of the USA and beyond. But, that is not the boundary of her relevance. She touches the sensitive topics of divisions within the black community based on skin tone that echo the “Coloured” and “Black” monikers of the apartheid era in Namibia. Her lessons boil down to a truth about love, friendship, betrayal and the push-and-pull in the lives all people, regardless of race, gender, religion or culture.
Some of what Toni Morrison wrote resounds right here in the Land of the Brave as women continue to be they prey of their insecure murderous partners and spouses. The meaning of her words is alive in eyes and souls of rape survivors, targets of sexual molestation, incest, and gender typecasting (young women must serve guests, clean everything, deal with children, pound grain, cook and be ‘available’, as if they have no God-given will and dreams of their own.) She writes about things that could make any one of us lose our minds as some of her characters do.
However, Morrison’s stories are not only about people being insulted, bullied and damaged but of battling back and thriving, self-forgiveness, pushing the boundaries of what others expect of you and defining yourself even when all others call you something else.
Check out some of these great stories:
The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1973), The Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981), Beloved (1987- this one rocked my world – see the 1998 movie starring Oprah), Jazz (1992) and Paradise (1997). These are not always cheerful, jolly tales and the main characters usually do not live happily ever after. But, these complex stories can batter the locked doors of your imagination and make them fly open.
"We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives." —Toni Morrison during her Nobel Prize speech in 1993