Writings of the general word's body

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Is it because I'm black?

Now, what have we here...

21-year-old Nigerian author of 'The Abyssinian Boy', Onyeka Nwelue, has had quite a steep rise since entering into the Lagos literary scene as a teenager. Pretty impressive, unless you're a Chinese immigration officer who has to consider the author's visa application to be allowed into Hong Kong for a major literary festival.

Nwelue was billed to feature in this year's Man Hong Kong International Literary Festival, due for programmes and appearances on March 9 (City University in Hong Kong) and the festival itself on March 11. Alas, the writer got a call from the Chinese embassy in Lagos informing him that his visa application has been turned down. No reason given.

We are by now used to Britain rubbishing artists from African when it comes to visas: Odia Ofeimun, Souleymane Cisse, Atukwei Okai, Samuel Fosso etcetera etcetera. But Hong Kong now as well?

Almost certainly the only African and the only black writer participant in Hong Kong, Onyeka Nwelue is left mouthing the oft-repeated cliché: is it because- ?

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