Interview with Dimeji Sodeke
Dimeji Sodeke is a published author of an anthology of poems titled The Big Black Theory and two novels titled respectively The Gods of My Parents and Dwelling in the Belly of the Beast, endorsed by the Nobel laureate from Africa, Professor Wole Soyinka.
In recognition of his impact as a global youth icon, Dimeji was part of the first batch of the African Presidential Leadership Program in Egypt, under the auspice of the President HE Abdel Fattah El Sisi. He was also selected as a young leader to take part in the Intergenerational Dialogue of the Biennale of Luanda 2021. Besides, he is the founder of Derine TV and also volunteered as spokesperson for Global Pan Africanism Network (GPAN).
1. What does it mean to you to be part of the African diaspora in Europe, particularly in the UK? What are the challenges ahead?
This means that I am directly involved with the realities that faces the race in the diaspora being predisposed to it without exaggerations. The challenges are numerous but to me, the fusion of cultures is playing the pivotal role in the list. It comes with accepting, adjusting also maintaining your own perspectives of what the world view used to be and what it is at hand.
The challenge ahead is to fight in remaining deep level of consciousness that embraces our reality and roots. Often, lots of people get lost while some purposefully detach themselves from their roots but there is an adage in Yoruba culture where I come from which says: “A river which forgets its source will soon run dry”.
2. Where did the idea of writing the anthology of poems titled The Big Black Theory come from? What are the most important messages of this anthology?
Over time, there had been arguments on the world perspective of what the purpose of life is. While some favoured Science over religion like the famous author Dan Brown. I decided to critically assess things from a deep point view on where even science still falls short of accuracy. I looked at the word the Big Bang theory from the science point of view then wanted to wittingly create a spark of revelation and fusion amongst Science, Culture and Religion. This will subsequently inform my yet to be released literary works as well.
Also, the media could be in many ways serving interests best known for commercial values. I have used this literary work to call on intellectuals of black descents to join me in holding the pen in telling stories of genuine experiences faced with us either in our countries or in the diaspora. The spark itself is where the idea “Bang” denotes to make an average person snap out of the alteration of realities such as Virtual reality, Augmented reality among others going on at the moment before it’s too late.
The most important message from this anthology is that this piece is set to represent the “Black Identity” from diverse perspectives. It is devoid of exaggeration and media alterations. It is also an avenue to rewrite African history unapologetically devoid from manipulations and one-sided view while we Africans hold the pen. This is an intellectual projection which anyone could rely upon to be the obtainable truth.
3. What kind of opportunities can the youth participating in the second edition of the Biennale of Luanda seize in the future, collaborating with other young people from Africa and its diasporas?
The Biennale of Luanda has successfully proven to have the interest of harnessing the potentialities of African descent youths to collaborate and express. It will be a wise move to leverage on such platform by youths to navigate, network and express to the world what they represent. It is a known fact that according to Nelson Mandela: “Only together are we so powerful”. This togetherness is the assurance that the Biennale of Luanda presents.
4. Why is the role of young people in building a culture of peace important? What is the particular role of Afrodescendant youth in its promotion?
The world is really pacing and waits for no one. In the book written by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the leader of Dubai, we only can deduce that until we get up to do well for ourselves and save us, no one will. Young people's energy should be channeled towards positivity and building the continent far above lagging behind in the world. The onus then lies on us all as Afrodescendants to use all our capacity and resources to navigate for this purpose. There is the movement of “Silencing the Guns” initiated by the African Union which is a perfect example to engage minds and energies of youths across the continent against violence. In this light, more active positive engagements should be initiated to replace the vacuums of hopelessness, poverty, illiteracy, hunger amongst many others.
The role of young people in building a culture of peace is vital as the continent’s 60% population is made of youths. This makes the possibility of it being of high rate of that the energetic young continent would achieve greater feats if only such enormous human capital could be positively leveraged upon and utilized.
5. What message would you like to share with those who will be reading this interview?
My message is not too different from the Pan-Africanism ideology the Biennale of Luanda represents. I want this message to be beyond activism but the embrace of the New Culture that only can make us thrive and equate or better still surpass what is allowed in any race. That everything at the moment lies in our moves, decisions and what we channel our energies toward. I encourage everyone to pick up the ball and play!