While listening to Angèle Kingué’s reading of Venus of Khala-Kanti, I was able to reflect on the message from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk. Adichie had discussed that as a little girl, she wrote stories that involved characters with only blue eyes and blonde hair. Through her studies, she had formed a belief that these were the only characters that could be involved in literature. It was not until later in life that she came to the understanding that she too was able to create based on what was familiar and meaningful to her. Kingué opened her reading with the statement, “Let me let you hear me as I am.” She then began to read from the French text she had created the piece in. She explained that speaking in French was a part of her identity and it was important to her that she was able to write her novel in the language she claimed as her own. She furthered her comment by claiming that we are only truly ourselves in our mother tongue.
Spivak also analyzes the use of language as a development for growing to understand oneself. Kingué discussed her inspiration for her creation and the story that had inspired her to come to know the perspective and humanity of all characters involved. She had incorporated crucial cultural context and the emotions that she experienced while creating the events. The author must aim to create a reality for the reader.
Appiah discusses the constraints that language has on our thoughts and expression. This can be a challenge when attempting to translate a piece from one language into another. To further this argument, Spivak notes that a translator must exceed in his or her ability beyond further comprehension of the language. The translator must be informed of the culture to fully relay the essence of the piece. Was Christine Swartz Hartley aware of the environment and culture that Kingué included in her novel? If not, how did Kingué ensure that Hartley was fully aware and able to translate meaning for meaning?