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”
FEMRITE has been described as one of ‘the most organised literary initiatives in Africa promoting female authorship’ and we are inclined to agree. As a non-profit publisher of fiction and creative non-fiction, FEMRITE champions Ugandan women writers with their literary nurturing. Founded in 1996 by female academics and students lead by Mary Karooro Okurut at Makerere University, the organisation provides writers workshops, editorial services, training, writers residencies and a resource centre with space to work in. It supports young writers and encourages reading for pleasure; Continue reading “FEMRITE @ 20: A Cornerstone of Ugandan Literature”
Nakisanze Segawa was born in the Luwero Triangle, Uganda. She is both a fiction writer and a Luganda performance poet. Her poetry and short stories have been published by Jalada and FEMRITE. Nakisanze is a contributor to both the Daily Monitor and Global Press Journal.
A. What was your motivation in writing this novel?
N.S I always thought that Buganda has interesting stories to tell about our past, but I also thought that Kabaka Mwanga was fascinating person. He came onto the throne when he was a teen, in the mid 1800s, at a time when Buganda was experiencing fundamental change. He was faced with lots of challenges, and his responses to these challenges, changed everything, resulting into what we are today as a country. The wars, the deaths, the hopes and frustrations faced by the people of his times motivated me to write this story, The Triangle. Continue reading “Interview with Nakisanze Segawa on her novel ‘The Triangle’”
AFRIKULT.’S OVERALL RATING:
Published this year Nakisanze Segawa’s The Triangle is a work of historical fiction that will leave you wanting more. Set in the Kingdom of Buganda in the late 1800s the story centres on life at the royal palace. Segawa skilfully makes us privy to the varied and complex relationships played out between the young Kabaka (king) Mwanga II, his wives, his courtiers and the foreigners in his kingdom, European missionaries and Arab merchants. Segawa meticulously researched historical archives in the process of writing this book and it really shows; from Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Triangle | Nakisanze Segawa”
AFRIKULT.’S OVERALL RATING:
This collection of stories and poems from Beatrice Lamwaka is a powerful contribution to Ugandan literature. Not only does she question the internal politics of Uganda but raises issues that are pertinent the world over. A few of the stories are rooted in the atrocities endured by the Acholi people of Northern Uganda during the time of Joseph Kony and the Lords Resistance Army. The opening story Butterfly Dreams is a short yet formidable read as it conveys the suffering of the individual, the family and society at large as it Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Butterfly Dreams and Other Stories | Beatrice Lamwaka”
Witty, shy and quirky were the three words that came to mind upon meeting Irenosen Okojie. Her début novel Butterfly fish, found its way to my desk- unannounced. Replacing my customary pick- me- up, I was intoxicated by its rich imaginative ardour. Butterfly fish by Irenosen Okojie came out in 2016 and is a smooth literary hooch, with a dark personality and complex finish.