>Chimamanda Adichie: The Problem of A Single Story

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A storyteller has as a job to tell stories that are engaging and important. Chimamanda Adichie‘s account of how single stories have inflicted on her life – and on the African countries we love, is both engaging and important. The single (negative) image of “Africa” that I have been trying to complement in 200+ blog posts here on Rain In Africa, she covers in under 20 minutes.

And luckily, it has been recorded as a TED speech that I can recommend to all of you. For you who are temporarily busy, her powerful conclusion can suffice for now – but when you have time, do listen to her in full.

When we reject the single story, we regain paradise.

Chimamanda Adichie most known works are: Half Of A Yellow Sun (I can’t believe I haven’t blogged about this book – I adored it) and Purple Hibiscus.

>Article about Adopted Exhibit

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This week my article (in Swedish only UPDATE: Now also in some sort of English with Google Translate here. ) on the Adopted art recently exhibited at the German Goethe Institute here in Accra was published in the Swedish Traveling Exhibitions Newsletter here.

Below, I translated a brief part illustrating what the thought-provoking exhibit by Gudrun Widlok was all about.

The center of the exhibit is the adoption office where one can apply to be a “adoptive family” or an “adoptee”. Here are 100 photos of Europeans who wish for an African family as well as a painting where an African family is holding a picture of their new, European family member.

In the pic a Ghanaian family at the opening of the exhibit describes the experience of adopting a European adult .

>Tropical Contemporary Architecture: How to build a house in Ghana

> What is more urban than buildings?

Let me start the born-again blog with posting something on Ghanaian architecture or more precisely things to think about when building your house in the tropics.

Currently, there is a building boom in Ghana and virtually every other person seems to be building a house. Cement prices just hit the roof (see this article) and this coming weekend Ghana’s first ever (?) home improvement fair is taking place. Also,this is a topic that just recently has started to interest me, I guess with the opportunity of one day building my own house in Ghana drawing nearer…

First of all, lets think about the property/land you need to acquire. Fortunately, the blog Makola Law has done a checklist on what to think about here.

Second, there are ways to build a house that is environmentally friendly, cost effective and automatically cool. Forget expensive and unhealthy ACs! Check out the inspiring and sometimes surprisingly simple tips for tropical design at Aedhotep Developments. Just to give you an example of something easy to do:

Plant tall trees on the east and west sides of the house to shade walls

Other options include using a new technique to build, such as the one provided by ItalConstruct in Ghana which uses polystyrene sheets and iron mesh to create a house that imitates a cooling box! See a video on the technique here.

Third, when you have a plot and a sustainable structure…what makes a house Ghanaian? Is it Kente style design of the exterior that I wrote on here? Or adinkra symbols like a friend has incorporated in his home exterior? Is it a compound style design like the traditional Ghanaian houses? It is using Ghanaian materials like bamboo and clay bricks? Using African architects? Or is just any house in Ghana a Ghanaian house?

Picture of a, in my view lovely, Ghanaian contemporary designed house courtesy of Aedhotep Developments.

>Henning Mankell Talks about Imagination on BBC The Forum

> Swedish writer and Africa-lover Henning Mankell was on BBC the other day in a very interesting discussion with Indian economist and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Iranian British chilspsychotherapist Camila Batmanghelidj (love the “Batman-ish” name!).

Henning Mankell was making the claim that imagination is more than just an expression of creativity – sometimes imagination is used for raw survival. I was driving when I tuned into the program and it was so fascinating that I never wanted to reach my destination. Hear for yourself here.

Illustration by Emily Kasriel borrowed from the BBC The Forum to visualize the above described discussion.