We all have authors who inspire us and fuel our passion for African literature with their use of words, spellbinding narratives and their approach to issues related to African experiences within and outside of Africa. In April, we decided to celebrate remarkable African women writers from the continent and the diaspora who inspire us and whose work was pivotal in our literary journey. Their novels and poems often raise questions on the human condition and explore themes such as identity, social injustice, gender roles, violence, mental health, marriage and self-love.Continue reading “African Women Writers Who Inspire Us”
In October we were lucky enough to be involved in the second ever edition of Pa Gya! A Literary Festival In Accra. For Marcelle Akita, this was somewhat of a home-coming as she is Ghanaian, but for Afrikult. as a whole, it was a new adventure! With the support of the Miles Morland Foundation we were able to facilitate a workshop and book club at the three day long event. Writers Project Ghana worked in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Ghana to deliver a really exciting and packed programme of discussions, readings, performances, workshops and book launches.
Continue reading “Afrikult. at Pa Gya! A Literary Festival In Accra 19 – 21 October 2018”
This year, Afrikult. had the privilege to host a book club at Africa Utopia 2018 entitled Poetry Meets Pan-Africanism. We focused on the contributions of women poets to the Pan-African movement whose history largely focuses on male figures like Nkrumah, Sankara and Garvey or Senghor, Césaire and Diop when we think of the Négritude movement. Continue reading “‘Poetry meets Pan-Africanism: Africa Utopia Book Club’”
We are really excited to be hosting a book club at Africa Utopia later this month looking at how Poetry Meets Pan-Africanism on Sunday 22 July at 12pm. We will be exploring pieces of poetry that have not received the acclaim they deserve or that have simply been forgotten from living memory. We will be focusing on women’s poetic contributions to the Pan-African movement, so join us for this discussion and find out about some amazing poetry written by African women you may not have come across before! Continue reading “Afrikult. at Africa Utopia 2018”
This year Afrikult. was invited once again to facilitate two half day workshops as part of the Africa Writes Young Voices Showcase outreach programme. We were lucky enough to return to Parliament Hill School for Girls and work with a wonderful group of students.
We delivered two workshops that focused on African languages and poetry, and African women writers. Continue reading “Africa Writes 2018 Young Voices Showcase”
Sumayya Lee was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. She has worked as an Islamic Studies teacher, Montessori Directress and Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Her debut, The Story of Maha (Kwela, 2007) was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book – Africa and Longlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Award. It is currently on the undergraduate Curriculum at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Her second novel, Maha, Ever After was published by Kwela in 2009. She has also been a judge for the Young Muslim Writers Awards, for the past five years. Sumayya has been a mentor on the Writivism programme and has judged the annual Writivism Short Story Prize She currently serves as the Writivism Mentoring and Residencies coordinator.
Sunday, 4 February 2018
We recently ran an online campaign #WhyBuchi asking people to write in 100 words of why Buchi Emecheta is important to them, ahead of the Celebrating Buchi Emecheta conference held at SOAS. The prize for the winning entries were the relaunched titles of Head Above Water, The Rape of Shavi and Kehinde all newly designed by Victor Ehikhamenor, and published by the revived Omenala Press. We had some really great entries, that highlighted the impact of her work, the bravery she displayed in her writing and the humour she captured in the most challenging of circumstances. Thank you to everyone who participated, it was a pleasure reading your entries! Before sharing the three winning submissions by Mercy Mubanga, Nnamdi Ogochukwu Komlan-Dodoh and Tokunbo Koiki, we wanted to also share with you in a very few words Why Buchi is important us.
WhyBuchi? For me it’s the range of emotions that I experience when reading her work – they are intense, often bringing me to tears, but I am always left with an overwhelming sense of gratitude that she was brave enough to write so honestly about issues deeply significant to Africa and her diaspora.
It is always encouraging and satisfying to know about women like Buchi Emecheta whose life and work have impacted generations of people especially women of colour. They saw in her work a guiding light that helps them navigate in a world which was not always designed for their fulfillment. I am very grateful to take part in this movement of celebration in honour of Buchi Emecheta.
Buchi Emecheta seared my imagination when I first read ‘The Slave Girl’ in my early twenties. Her work demands attention, your silence and respect. Her death echoes a lamentable void in the African and black British literary chambers. Our #WhyBuchi competition has shown her voice still roars, her words are ablaze, at the turn of every page.
Buchi Emecheta’s work is important to me because it looks like still water but it runs deep. It has taught me that suffering, in many forms, is inevitable. However, I must not sit and pity myself because no one is coming to save me. It has especially thoroughly communicated that as a woman, my strength is not beyond my reach when I need it most. I am the very vessel that contains this strength and so I needn’t wait for a hero to save me. It has taught me that I have the choice to choose strength each time I am faced with a tragedy I have been made to believe only a man can tackle.
Nnamdi Ogochukwu Komlan-Dodoh
An inspiration to all; not just the female folk. Buchi Emecheta was and is the definition of succeeding against seemingly impossible odds. Despite the circumstances she found herself in at such a young age, she exhibited the unique strength of the African woman and fought to bring to light experiences never openly talked about before. Her voice – weaved through tales of survival and motherhood – confronts and challenges us in equal measure. Her words remind us why the female voice must be heard and never silenced. I am grateful to her for lighting the fire for us to write without fear.
My first reaction when I saw the flyer of this competition was a triumphant THOSE BOOKS ARE MINE! The second, was just how do they expect me to express in merely 100 words the magnitude of how significant Buchi is to me!?! Re-discovering Buchi at a time when I was dealing with my marriage breakdown gave me so much courage. As a single mother of one child, I was inspired by Buchi’s strength raising 5 children in a very racist and hostile environment. The ‘Joys of Motherhood’ gave me permission to be selfish in putting my needs above my child when so required. Why Buchi? Because in sharing her story, she gave me a new reality of motherhood, marriage and womanhood in a way that still motivates me.
Wednesday, 13 December 2017
If you’re fan of Buchi Emecheta or just getting to know the pioneering novelist’s work, we want to hear from you! Afrikult. is running an exclusive competition for the forthcoming Celebrating Buchi Emecheta event on Saturday 3rd February 2018 – an all-day celebration of the life and work of the acclaimed Nigerian novelist, who passed away in January 2017. Continue reading “Celebrating Buchi Emecheta x #WhyBuchi Competition”
Wednesday, 22 November 2017
If you’re looking for a weekend filled with rich and intellectual debate and discussion on feminism, an exhibition of black women excellence and vibing to good music then you need to be at ourselves + others: african feminist re-CREATIONS at SOAS this Saturday! And as you guessed, Afrikult. will be there delivering a workshop on nego-feminism and Momtaza Mehri’s poetry with time to write a creative response to material presented. Sign up via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beatrice Lamwaka (born and raised in Alokolum, Gulu) is a Ugandan writer. She was shortlisted for the 2011 Caine Prize for her story “Butterfly Dreams”. She is the founder and director of the Arts Therapy Foundation,[ a non-profit organisation that provides psychological and emotional support through creative arts therapies. She is the general secretary of PEN Uganda Chapter and an executive member of the Uganda Reproduction Rights Organisation (URRO). She has served on the executive board of the Uganda Women Writers Association (FEMRITE), where she has been a member since 1998. Lamwaka’s writing has been translated into Spanish and Italian; she released her anthology of short stories Butterfly Dreams and Other Stories in 2016. Continue reading “Interview with Beatrice Lamwaka on Butterfly Dreams and Other Stories”