Okri Engraved on the Memorial Gates, London

Only free people can make a free world.
Infect the world with your light.
Help fulfil the golden prophecies.
Press forward the human genius.
Our future is greater than our past.


The last four lines of Ben Okri’s poem, Turn on your light from the 1999 collection of poetry, Mental Fight. The final line was immortalised in an engraving on one of the pillars of the memorial gates on Constitution Hill in London; “Our future is greater than our past.” Ben Okri will be headlining this year’s Africa Writes festival in the discussion: ‘Meditations on Greatness’.