The time has come round to a change in millennia when, history tells us, all kinds of excitable people are apt to go bonkers; when even more equable souls like ourselves may get high on prophecies. The last time around W.E.B. Du Bois had held high hopes for the twentieth century on the matter of race. Mindful of that, alas, unfinished business, my hope for the twenty-first is that it will see the first fruits of the balance of stories among the world’s peoples. The twentieth century for all its many faults did witness a significant beginning, in Africa and elsewhere in the so-called Third World, of the process of ‘re-storying’ peoples who had been knocked silent by the trauma of all kinds of dispossession. I was lucky to be present at one theater of that reclamation. And I know that such a tremendously potent and complex human reinvention of self—calling, as it must do, on every faculty of mind and soul and spirt; drawing as it must, from every resource of memory and imagination and from a familiarity with our history, our arts and culture; but also from an unflinching consciousness of the flaw that blemished our inheritance—such an enterprise could not be expected to be easy. And it has not been

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