ColorSTRUCK, the latest novel by Nigerian writer and Commonwealth Writers Prize finalist, Uzoma Uponi, is a fiction designed to inspire global conversation on the plight of albinos in Africa. It is Uponi’s third novel after ColourBLIND and Whispers from Yesteryears. At a virtual book presentation held recently, Uponi spoke about her commitment to tackling social injustice in Africa with her writing. Accordingly, ColorSTRUCK highlights the plight of African albinos, who, due to a lack of melanin in their skin, are confronted with various health, safety, and social challenges in many African countries today. In her keynote speech at the book launch, Uponi shared with her international audience of participants from Canada, Nigeria, Ghana, United Kingdom, and the United States of America that she hopes ColorSTRUCK will stimulate a discourse on the discrimination and exclusion of people with albinism from the African social fabric.
“It is a fictitious story of an albino girl who is kidnapped for her body parts,” she said, “because witch doctors have convinced a poor and gullible people that the blood and body parts of albinos have healing and magical powers.” In a world currently grappling with diverse social justice issues, Uponi’s novel will help ensure the injustice inflicted on African albinos is not forgotten. Uponi also pledged to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the book sales to a Canada-based charity called Under the Same Sun, which is fighting for the protection and social inclusion of albinos in Tanzania. Although she writes about life in Africa, Uponi is targeting the international audience. “I find that there’s a lot of curiosity and misunderstanding about Africa in the western world,” said the author, “and through my writing, I try to provide a glimpse into our African worldview, values, beliefs, and contemporary lifestyles.
I keep my stories honest and truthful, neither embellishing nor apologising for our culture. No culture is superior to another. We can all learn a thing or two from other cultures because human beings are the same everywhere, no matter what we look like outward or where geography finds us. We all have the same ambitions, struggles, and fears.”
Apart from ColorSTRUCK, Uponi is the author of the Commonwealth Writers Prize finalist, ColourBLIND, and its sequel, Whispers from Yesteryears. Consistent with her vision, Uponi’s first and second books also tackle social justice issues in the Nigerian culture. Colour- BLIND deals with the stigma of adoption, while Whispers from Yesteryears showcases domestic violence. All three books are available on Amazon. com in paperback, hardcover, and e-book formats. Uponi, a Nigerian-born Canadian, lives in Calgary, Alberta, with her husband, their four sons, and their Portuguese water dog. She has a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and an MBA from the University of Nigeria. She has also taken certificate courses in management, writing, and professional editing from the University of Toronto, the University of Calgary, and the Mount Royal University, all in Canada. All three books are available on Amazon in both print and e-book formats.