A glimpse into the work of one of the most acclaimed influencers of modern thinking.
Why I Am So Clever
This short and easy-to-digest booklet is part of Penguin’s Little Black Classics series, and is taken from Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo. The German philosopher and cultural critic wrote it before losing control of his mental faculties. He spent the last ten years or so of his life with his mental health waning.
Nietzsche wrote work that would go on to have a great influence on philosophy and the arts. In Why I Am So Clever he analyses and criticizes his own work and achievements. Aware of his accomplishments, Nietzsche praises but also mocks himself.
If you are new to his work then this 64-pages long book is a good introduction. It gives you a feel of what his work is about; his views and criticism of morality and religion.
I’ve never been interested in reading Shakespeare. Now, before Shakespeare disciples and doyens of all things literature come for me, I do have my own reasons.
I was not exposed or introduced to Shakespeare until later in life (in my twenties). I did African literature in high school and when it comes to literary legends, I’ve only been exposed to our own – Achebe, Soyinka, Thiong’o, Emecheta, Mphahlele and the likes. Although these are writers whose works are not as old as Shakespeare’s, these are the authors whose great works I was taught, have read and hold great respect for.
I recently had to discuss parody and pastiche in poststructuralist theatre, and I referred to Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. This tragicomedy is a parody of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and so I had to read both to be able to conduct my analysis.
This loss of Shakespeare virginity was not as bad as most first times go. I did enjoy Hamlet and read it in such a short space of time, enjoying the plot, the writing itself, all the way to the end. However, I wasn’t as blown away as I was told I’d be, that if I read Shakespeare I’d discover the greatest works of all time. Whether you’ve read his work or not, we know that in the literary world, his work still holds great importance and relevance but personally I have read works that have left a greater impression on me.
It’s a preference thing, isn’t it? We can’t all fall deeply in love with Shakespeare’s work, we don’t have to. I’m pretty sure there are people who absolutely hate it, and then there are people like me who appreciate it as good writing but not the most mind-blowing work in history.
Another important thing is that to be interested in literature, to participate in it or to show an understanding of it, does not require an obsession, reverence and passion about Shakespeare.
After breaking my virginity, I might consider revisiting his work. Who knows, I might actually find something to go crazy about.
In the last week of January, I went to visit my girlfriend at work. I’d never been and didn’t know exactly who she worked for. After getting lost she decided to wait for me on the side of the road and we drove back to her workplace. She gave me a book and told me it was written by her employer and invited me in to meet him. Would I say no?
We walked into this beautiful, cosy and warm home, which was also where his office was. Behind the desk sat a friendly-looking octogenarian, with a walker next to his desk, which he explained was to help him move around since he had had an injury after a bad accident years ago. I thanked him for the book and told him I’d give him feedback.
I looked around the open space and against one side of the wall was a bookshelf and at the top sat a vintage film camera, and that’s when I fully understood the title of the autobiography in my bag – My Camera, My Life. Excited to see my girl after so long, I hadn’t really taken a proper look at it.
I had the privilege of sitting down with him behind his desk and go through the manuscript (from beginning to end) of his now published coffee table book that showcases his photographic oeuvre. Pages and pages that display his craft, energy, fear, bravery and how through his lens he ran a thread of politics, war, and celebrations of prominent political figures across the world.
Amongst many of the figures he photographed are Wangari Maathai, Jomo Kenyatta, Robert Mugabe, Julius Nyerere, Idi Amin, Kipchoge Keino, Mau Mau leaders, Tom Mboya, James Gichuru, Muammar Mohammed Gadaffi and Pele. These are only a few of the people whose photographs, stories and events he captured and who form a collection of work that made an incredible and legendary work of photographic and storytelling art.
On Monday, the 9th of March, Sir Mohinder Dhillon passed away after a short illness.
I am so grateful to have had that wonderful peek into his thrilling, 60-year long career in photojournalism and film documentary. It was a great experience to be around someone who lived so fully and with vigour and courage and has so much to show for it and to leave behind. I look forward to reading his biography, My Camera, My Life and the rest of his work.