Sunday, November 12, 2017

Homegoing - Yaa Gyasi

“What I know now, my son: Evil begets evil. It grows. It transmutes, so that sometimes you cannot see that the evil in the world began as the evil in your own home.”

Homegoing is the story of two sisters and their families, spanned over seven generations, three centuries and across continents. It narrates the history of Africa (Ghana) and African-Americans, slavery, struggle for freedom. 

Effa and Esi are half-sisters in 18th century Ghana, born to same mother but to different fathers. Their existence is unknown to each other. Effia comes from the slave trading Fante nation, and married to a British Governor. 

Esi was born into Asante warrior nation, enslaved and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren are raised in slavery. Effia's descendants fight through the centuries of war and British colonization in Ghana.

It reminds us of Alex Haley’s Roots. A powerful read indeed. It’s very surprising to learn that the enslavement of Africans was not white man's crime alone. 

Some quotes from the book:

“We believe in the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So when you study history, you must always ask yourself, Whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth? Once you have figured that out, you must find that story too. From there, you begin to get a clearer, yet still imperfect, picture.”

“Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves.”

“There should be no room in your life for regret. If in the moment of doing you felt clarity, you felt certainty, then why feel regret later?”

“Forgiveness was an act done after the fact, a piece of the bad deed’s future. And if you point the people’s eye to the future, they might not see what is being done to hurt them in the present.”