In 2008, I spent 3 months as a Guest Writer at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden. I often made the 40-minute train journey to Stockholm, sometimes for no special reason. And I visited Oslo, Copenhagen, and Helsinki. When news of the bomb blast and the shootings broke, Oslo returned to my mind. I remember the elderly man who worked in the Tourists’ Office, and sold me the ticket for my day tour. He told me:
“Life is quiet. If I want some noise, London’s just an hour and a half by plane, New York’s six hours. I go and return to my quiet life. I like it that way.”
Anders Behring Breivik shattered that quiet. One imagines things will never be the same again. My heart goes out to Oslo, and Norway. And many the souls of the dead rest in peace.
Here’s a piece I wrote for The Lagos Review, the literary section of NEXT on Sunday, after my second visit to Oslo, for the Oslo House of Literature’s African Festival (2009): A week in the heart of coldness
And the travelogue from my 2008 Scandinavian tour (published in the 1st Quarter 2009 issue of South African literary magazine, WORDSETC), is here: A SENSE OF WONDER (pdf)