Atinuke: Tribute for Kofi Awoonor

“Something has happened to me… The things so great I cannot weep”
from “Songs of Sorrow” by Ghana’s Kofi Awoonor.

Something has happened. And we will write about it, we will write something beautiful. Something that will help those who are struck down with grief to keep hope alive. And we will celebrate those who have been taken from us. And we will continue to make the world more beautiful.

Kofi Awoonor was murdered by terrorists in Nairobi while attending the Storymoja Hay festival. And the festival was cut short this year. But it will come back. Again and again and again. And I will come back to it with stories, and with hope.

Because over four thousand children eagerly attended the festival during its three short days. Children who deserve to be inspired. Children who deserve to express themselves creatively and passionately as they grow. Children who deserve to dream and hope and laugh.

Those children deserve to be free from terror. We all do. And they deserve to read as much as they want of the best of books that there are, to open their eyes and hearts to the whole wide world.

This is what Hay festivals worldwide are about. An opposite to terror. And they will continue, beautifully, hopefully, creatively.

In memory of Kofi Awoonor and all those who died this weekend.

“It goes on, this world, stupid and brutal.

But I do not.

I do not.”

from “Revolution” a novel for young adults by Jennifer Donnelly.