“My name is Winona Rasheed, and I am asking that you please except my sincere apology in referring to Africa as a country instead of the continent that it is. This anthology of African writers will be revised so that it refers to Africa as a continent.”
These words from Winona Rasheed came a few hours after the owner of Author-Me.com, Bruce Cook, left statement on Wordsbody stating that reprints of the Africa anthology containing the error would reflect the correct representation of Africa as a continent. Author-me.com’s apology was timely, as discussions of the error was beginning to spread all over blogosphere, with some speculating that the use of the words may have been poetic, a special use of the word that deviates from convention, an invention; besides, isn’t the word “continent” itself just a made-up signifier, which bears no inherent relationship to the signified?
But, as readers of Wordsbody had inferred, the use of the word was indeed erroneous: “It was not my intentions to offend anyone with my mention of Africa.” Rasheed added, “Regardless of the error, country versus continent, it does not take away from our writers, or any human being who has literary talent.”
In her long statement, Winona Rasheed restated Bruce Cook’s argument that the error does not take away from the value of the work Author-Me-com is doing to promote African writers:
“These books aren’t about Winona Rasheed. These books even with the error in Africa’s description are about the heart of Africa and its people. It is about the talented artists who are making a name for themselves; and yes, I am proud to be able to help them accomplish this goal.”
A passionate promoter of writings from Africa, Rasheed believes that the writers have to be given a chance to showcase their works, even though Africa has many problems. Rasheed wrote, “Would anyone say that Africa is a nation without conflict and turmoil?”
Perhaps someone might argue that such a nation (whatever the word means) does not exist, or, in the interest of artistic promotion, accept the apology and pretend not to have noticed the slipping in of the word “nation.”