Edinburgh University African Caribbean Society invited me to give a reading of Memoirs of a Young African at the Rhythm and Rhymes event last week- I HAD A BLAST!!!!! Edinburgh is a wonderful city that is built to enable its inhabitants and visitors to move at a measured pace with eloquent efficiency. I arrived at Edinburg Airport early on Wednesday morning and took a bus into the city centre to my humble abode for the night. I got off at the Walfdorf Astoria, admired this magnificent hotel for a few moments before taking another bus to the guesthouse my hosts had graciously booked for me. My perception about Scotland didn’t go beyond the usual, Tartan Kilt, bagpipes, haggis, and William Wallace. I was so excited when upon reaching the guest house I was greeted by a man wearing a kilt, alas he was not an indigene; he was from Lithuania. I was tempted to buy haggis from the local chip shop but I decided that my first taste of this delicacy should be in more authentic environment.
My first visit was to a local café; it was cosy and beautifully decorated. The number of independent café’s in the city added to its sense of tranquillity. I hope they continue to resist the soulless multinational coffee shops on every street corner in London. I had planned to visit Edinburgh Castle but I was advised to take the sightseeing open top bus to tour the city instead. I went to the nearest bus stop, approximately 20 minute walk from the café. After waiting impatiently for about 25 minutes, I decided to visit the castle instead which was at the top of a hill behind the bus stop. I made my way towards the castle, and was confronted by approximately 100+ vertical steps. I began to make my way up these steps reluctantly. When I reached the last step at the top, I looked back down and was shocked to see the bus approaching the bus stop. I ran back down the stairs but could only watch helplessly as it drove off when just as I reached the last bottom step. I was angry and exhausted; I couldn’t face going back up the stairs again so I decided to wait for the next tour bus. You can only imagine my chagrin when the very next stop on the tour was by the top the steps by the castle. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour; Edinburgh is a city, which has majestically kept up with modernity whilst keeping its historical buildings and parks.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge a bright and lovely young lady by the name of Shuwanna Arron. She is the African Caribbean Society president and made this reading possible. I was one of the guest perfumers at an event called Rhythm and Rhymes. The last time I was on a University Campus was 12 years ago and this night I felt like an elder statesman amongst these young students. I read a few extracts from MOAYA which was well received by the audience, laughter and applause filled the room. I was overwhelmed when a few of the students approached me afterwards not only to congratulate for the reading but
they commended me for writing such an important book. One student said that based on the extracts I had read, it was a mirror into his own life.
Public speaking is one of my greatest fears, thanks to Shuwanna, Edinburgh University, The African Caribbean Society and all those who gave me words of encouragement- I have just taken the first of many steps to conquering this challenge. This is the first of many public events by KKB… stay tuned
Till next time-