“Poems are my home Poems set me free.”
– By Auguste Gnalehi-
in www. africaallstarsmagazine.com
Inna, daughter of Amadou Hampate Ba, just published, in collaboration with Ceda/Nei a
novel of 61 poems entitled: “When pain becomes words”.The novel is an autobiography that takes readers through the world of a suffering mother.During our chat, she talks about her parents and her writing particularly her composition.
Are you Amadou Hampte Ba’s daughter?
Yes of course! When I was born, my father was 62 years old. So he’s at the same time my father and grandfather.
Let’s talk about your parents
My father was a very busy person but he never left the house because everyone used to come at home. Given his busy schedule, he did manage to give us a good education. Unfortunately we were not too close because visitors used to leave our house around 11 pm at night.It did affect me a lot because I wanted my father and not Mr. Hampate
Ba. My mother was a housewife and a very strict person due to the fact that she wanted to teach us some values such as remaining a virgin to be married. I couldn’t play with other boys so, I decided to get married because I was living like a prisoner.
Your way of talking about marriage, It seems to me that you are regretting your choice?
I thought marriage would set me free and I quickly realized that it was a lie. Marriage is another institution with its own laws and rules; I didn’t realise any of my dreams or projects. My father was not opposed to my marriage but he always used to tell me: “Inna, if you get married please do not divorce because you must take responsibility for your choices”. He was right because after many years I got divorced but now I’m very happy with my new husband.
Can you tell us why you write?
I thought a lot before making that decision. One of the main reasons was to achieve what my father started. I mostly write to pay tribute to my late father but also for my son Samba who died because of toxic waste. It’s after his death that I started to publish my writings. This time I assume my choices In’ch Allah.
There are different types of literature. Why did you choose poetry to express yourself?
I chose poetry because I love it. It’s only through rhymes that I can express my feelings and myself, in order to share them with my readers. It’s my way of grieving and healing my wounds. According to my readers, my poems are therapeutic; they can relieve your soul.” A confidence between you and me: When suffering become words?” is a novel that is a source of comfort, to find the inner being and to survive.
How can you define poetry?
According to me, poetry is a way to express your inner thoughts. It’s an expression of my different beings that create flowers in my imagination. If you talk about a building or about something, you must be able to love or hate it. It’s a description, a vision of your life and the world that you are transmitting to others. Poems are like meditation.
Where does your essence come from?
My late father (Hampate Ba) always used to tell me that: “If you love or follow God, we could not kill each other”. Love must be at an inner level of your being so as to become spiritual. It’s at that level, where love becomes eternal. If we can be one, we will be able
to forgive each other. It’s the perfect religion that leads to know God and it’s the religion I’m preaching through my poems. There is something that is higher and nicer than
everything and that is beauty. We are communicating with beauty, which is mystic.
Is writing a hobby or a permanent job that you are adding to
your day job? (She’s a professional teacher)
This novel made me understand that writing set us free from our pain and responsibilities, obligations, life expectations and experiences. It’s a new vision of life. It’s a gift I had from my son and a way of expressing loudly my inner being because I used to close myself inside. I still have other poems that need to be published and I would love to share them with others.
When should we expect the next novel?
In’ch Allah! Very soon but first read this one.
Will it still retain its lyrical style?
Of course…It can also be a romance but I express myself better with
After reading your novel, there is an impression that you are
inspired when you are in pain?
I write only when I’m in pain. My inspiration is provided by pain, sometimes I cannot write because I’m happy. When I’m depressed, I love to bring the inner light out in order to share it with other people.
Why have you kept your maiden name?
Many people will think that it’s related to edition problems, but I did it to pay a tribute to my father. Everything I possess such as education or culture is due to my fathers (Hampate Ba) hard work. Even given the age difference, he thought us his life vision.
Your first novel was inspired by something (your son’s death).
Can we say bad things bring good work?
I do think there is a danger to life. I don’t like bad things to happen but I do take them as a step forward. I don’t like dark things but every one must go beyond death in order to understand it. It is about metaphysics. Life is about interrogations or quests and they help us to understand and discover our roots. It also helps us to be next to God.
When you reach that stage, pain becomes words that change into love.
“Poems are my home Poems set me free.”