When Ify announced my placement in Ake and she told me that I will be working in the bookstore, I was not happy because I thought I would be missing the major events in the arena. However, I soon discovered that the bookstore is where the major and exciting events take place.
The line manager in the bookstore is a hard working and dedicated man. He is Tosin Adeyemi and he’s always on the move; moving, packing, tagging and arranging books. He’s so fond of saying, “Thank you Titi” for anything he asks me to do in the bookstore.
There’s the cool and calm guy at the extreme end of the store who is Nanzi. He’s hardworking. He moves from the bookstore to the media store…basically, he’s all over. There are also other volunteers like Ajoke, Dimeji, Adedayo and Olusoji who are ever ready to satisfy the customers.
As different shades of feet fade into different shades of faces that troop into the bookstore, the hardest part of it is getting the right pronunciation of their names.
I met Kwame from Ghana who taught me how to pronounce Yaa “Gyasi”, the author of Homegoing. He said, “When you remember the way “Jackson” is pronounced in American then you can pronounce her name properly.”
Tendai Huchu showed up with his long dreadlocks. I had a selfie with him and he bought me The Hairdresser of Harare. You need to read the book. It’s captivating. You won’t drop it until you finish it.
I also met Sarah Ladipo Manyika, she smiles a lot. The volunteers had a selfie with her. I asked her how she was able to vividly capture Ibadan in “Independence”. She said her father is a Nigerian.
Pearl Osibu, a writer for BBC Short Stories, came around too. Sebastian Lorscher, the author of ‘Making Friends in Bangalore‘ came to check his books on the shelf.
Dzekashu Macviban from Cameroon, a Journalist, Writer, Techie. Founding Editor of @bakwa_magazine and Assisting Editor of This is Africa (TIA) stopped by as well. We talked on Abouet’s film character and he said he enjoyed it.
Shadreck Chikoti, author of “Azotus The Kingdom” from Malawi came around to buy his friend’s book, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim’s “Season of Crimson Blossoms”.
I met Chinelo who selected few books and said she will have to go home and sleep over her trust funds then come back for them.
The highlight of the day was when the music concert time was drawing near and people came trooping in. I almost gave up that I would miss the concert. While balancing my sales for the day with Tosin Adeyemi, Brymo walked in to buy books and he got me a book and signed it. I had a selfie with him.
The turn up at the music festival was topnotch. Brymo, Falana and Adunni Nefertiti lauded the audience with their amazing voices and energetic dances.
I’m so glad I got placed in the bookstore.
About Titilayo Adeoye
Nigerian writer, Titilayo Adeoye is a graduate of Literature in English from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. Bits of her creative gems have appeared or are forthcoming on African Writer, Kalahari Reviews, Avocet Journal #204 and elsewhere. She edits for Kraft Books, Ibadan, Nigeria.
Are you at the 2016 Ake Festival and you would love to share your experience with us? Send an email to [email protected]