Friday, November 28, 2008

History of Entertaining in Sub-Saharan Africa

Greenwood Press has just published (2008) an eclectic 2-volume encyclopedia on the history of dining and entertaining called Entertaining: From Ancient Rome to the Super Bowl. I'm happy to announce that I was invited to write a lengthy entry for Sub-Saharan Africa in it.

That section runs 10 pages (vol. 2, pp. 468-478), and begins with a quote from Chinua Achebe's classic novel Things Fall Apart, where one of the oldest members of an Ibo extended family proclaims:

"A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so."

I'm glad I was able contribute to the project, and am proud that in this encyclopedia Africa is credited alongside others at the global table. Incidentally, I do note that Achebe could have said "kinswomen" as well.

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