Shared experiences

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I came across an old acquaintance on my way to do some shopping yesterday. We’ve been aware of each other for several decades and have been through many experiences together. Looking into his face, I saw the same guy I knew as a young man, but his features were obviously a lot more lived in. It made me wonder what he saw when he looked at me.

We spent a considerable amount of time reminiscing about guys we knew (and they were mostly male, of course) who are no longer around. One person I mentioned was actually a good friend of his, from the same country as him. The friend was significant, because his name recently came up in passing at an event I was involved in, out of London, in memory of a historic figure.

I told him about my visit to Zanzibar, as he knows my friends who live there, showed him photos of the experience and he said he could see I had a good time there.

We spoke of mutual acquaintances who walked those same streets as us who are now of blessed memory, talking of the way they spoke, carried themselves and what it was like to attend the rites of passage to say goodbye to them.

There is a rich heritage of African life in Britain that hasn’t been documented. Folks from diverse parts of the continent, coming together in British cities and creating new traditions that should be celebrated and shared with everyone else. Where are the storytellers and chroniclers using other art forms to keep the flame burning?