I'm often asked about the details of my books. Where did I get the information? How did I develop my world for Meji? As I answer these questions I am saddened by the lack of knowledge of the history of the African continent. All of my kingdoms and cultures contained in Meji are based on kingdoms and cultures that existed on the Continent. The image of Africans dwelling in grass huts and small villages persists to this day. The media is partially to blame for this. When we see people travel to any part of Africa we see them departing their homeland then riding in a Land Cruiser through the savannah. We never see the airport where they landed and the city they had to traverse before they reached the game preserve. We never see the city life and the progress on the continent.
The same is with African history. Our education usually begins with the slave trade. The African continent was alive with kingdoms as old or older than any outside the continent. Remember Egypt? Our Western images are based on the time period when the Greeks and then the Romans occupied this great civilization. We ignore the brown and black skin images on the walls of the pyramids and palaces, images of true Egyptians (or in their language, Kemetians). These kingdoms traded beyond their boundarys for millinea through a shroud of intermediaries and sometimes directly. The wealth of Carthage, one of Romes greatest rivals, was based on a vigorous gold trade with interior African kingdoms. I was just as ignorant to these facts before setting out on my quest to educate myself on the entire history of my forefathers. Expecting only a trickle of information I was swallowed by a deluge of knowledge. This knowledge has become the fuel of my fictional endevours. I'll be writing stories from these sources for years to come.
Just as fantasy writers Tolkien, Howard and Martin use European history as the basis of their fiction, I am using African history and culture as the basis of my own visions. I hope by doing so I expand the knowledge of my readers and give them a better understanding of the world they live in.