Teju Cole Tweets His Way Up Africa's Slave Coast

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Teju Cole may have received widespread acclaim for his debut novel, Open City, but as of late, the Nigerian-American novelist has staked his claim on Twitter. Earlier this year, he reframed classic works of fiction as short stories about drones. Today, Cole is using the microblogging service to chronicle a car journey up the so-called Slave Coast of western Africa.

The journey is taking Cole from Lagos, a major port in Nigeria, to Ouidah, the port in Benin from which many enslaved Africans were shipped to the New World. Like all great travel writing, Cole's tweets are evocative and rich with detail. He is familiar with the landscape, but also curious about it:

Moreover, Cole is taking black-and-white photographs, which he has been including along with his  tweets, making this a truly postmodern travelogue: 

In large part, the journey seems to be calling attention to the plight of western Africa, whose troubled governments and economic plight have recently been the subjects of two pieces in The New Yorker.

But it is also simply a journey, one that does not need an agenda. Unless you're in that car with Cole, you can follow him here.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.