Funke-Treasure speaks about her debut book, Memories of Grandma.
In a world that has increasingly swallowed the African culture in the guise of globalisation, there is a need for books that target a return to African cultural heritage and also kindle a cultural awakening. This is what I tackled in my debut book , Memories of Grandma, which is a child hood memoir. Here are my thoughts.
What is Memories of Grandma about?
It’s a book for young adults or if you like, children in their teens. Adults will equally enjoy it . It’s a delightful book about my life as a young traveller, a curious child who always asked the question ‘why,’ and in the process learnt a lot. It’s about growing up living in two different locations and being the better for it. Its a book about my ‘gogos’, that’s what South Africans call grandmothers and my interactions with my grandparents generally.
What do you intend to achieve with it?
In Nigeria today, many of our youngsters believe stardom is synonymous with being born with a silverspoon or that becoming a star is akin to shunning our customs and traditions. They also think it means making a conscious disconnect between themselves and their cultural heritage. They think its cool to deny your identity as the daughter of a fisher man for example, or someone born in a village or whose parents or grandparents are farmers.My intention is to show them through this book and given my humble but visible corner in the society, that there is nothing to be ashamed of if your parents are farmers, carpenters , palmwine tappers and so on. Who you want to be and how you utilise your background to achieve what you want is what matters in life. The best stories are always the grass to grace stories so my central message is “hug your background and embrace your future”.
What benefit is Memories of Grandma to children?
For parents who will be buying the book, your child will know more about the Nigerian culture especially the Yoruba culture. Importantly, what is exciting about the book is that no matter where you come from in Nigeria, you will find interesting similarities between the Yoruba culture and yours. There are fables and songs which are quite stimulating and different from the common tortoise stories. They will widen your child’s store of indigenous fables.
Children and food are inseparable, they start experiencing their first frustrations in life at meal times. What they like is not nutritious and what they detest is what mummy says they must eat all the time. ‘Memories of Grandma’ celebrates food and meals of everyday people and their lifestyles from the eyes of a child. And yes, your children will also know more varieties of vegetables beyond soko, tete and ugu.
Reading Memories of Grandma will make your child appreciate her grandparents more and pay attention to what they say. It will make your child long to strenghten the bond between her and her grandparents.
What is significant about your grandparents?
Every culture in Africa gives grandparents, especially grandmothers a pride of place. In many cultures across the world they are priceless. When parents struggle to raise a child and also cope with the demands of life and living, grandmothers always come to the rescue.
For me, I met my 4 grandparents and my maternal great grandma alive and grew up at their feet. The experience shaped my world view significantly. I had the privilege of growing up with women who had strength of character and went about their lives with dignity. My paternal grandmum was fierce, fabulous and trendy. My maternal grandma was virtuous, humble, elegant and soft spoken.
I however related with my maternal grandma more because she was around often. So she influenced me more, she lived a life of peace and told me a lot of stories. I believe I took after her as a story teller because all I do as a producer, presenter and reporter is tell stories in different forms. But essentially, one can say that I am a combination of both of them. Their legacies to me are hard work, dignity, courage and giving me a space to be heard, a voice, so early in life.
Your last word?
Memories of Grandma, is the ultimate gift for your child and your favourite boys and girls.