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’”
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”
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.
A worthy and compelling collection of women’s struggles throughout the generations- from our great grandmothers to present. This gem elucidates the resilience and tenacity of the human spirit. In each story, regardless of the circumstance, each woman and girl wins on her own terms, singularly and collectively. There is no victimisation, no shaming but rather a showcase of variable strengths and quiet achievements. Exploring stories from all regions of the continent and diaspora, the collection really does open space for women to be celebrated, discussed and enamoured. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Opening Spaces: Contemporary African Women’s Writing | Edited By Yvonne Vera”
Chinelo Okparanta’s Happiness Like Water brings together a melange of short stories centred on contemporary issues faced by Nigerian women. In a powerful and lucid language, the lurid details of women subjected to the failings of a sexist society finds a voice. Whether trudging through the cruel accounts of domestic violence or sexual prejudice, the narrators tone maintain a compassionate composure that speaks volume of the continuing exploitation of women within male hegemonic structures. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Happiness, Like Water | Chinelo Okparanta”
In the frenzy of cultural and social transformations driven primarily by colonialism, the central characters of Nervous Conditions seek to find or exercise a displaced or lost identity. Yet the path towards self-discovery and acceptance leads to self- destruction. Dangaremba’s work unpicks the complex layers underpinning colonized subjectivity and identity reconstruction. The book offers a critique of colonial patriarchy seen through the lenses of its female characters, who stand as fragments of embattled consciousness. Like a jury to imperial delinquency, it calls the reader to witness the plight of women of different generations immured in the turmoil of double oppression. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Nervous Conditions | Tsitsi Dangarembga”
Much is known about the cruel system of slavery that blighted the African continent for almost 200 years. But in the Slave Girl, Emecheta turns our attention to the distinctive complexion of existing and cultural networks of slavery in Africa at the turn of the century. With her mastery of language and a gift for narrative, she brings to life the story of Objeta, an ill- fated ibuza girl sold to a wealthy aunt by her own brother. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: The Slave Girl | Buchi Emecheta”
Set in an Islamic society in Senegal So Long a Letter recounts the intimate details of the breakdown of a marriage and the subsequent roller-coaster of emotions felt by an abandoned wife with 12 children to bring up alone. After 25 years of marriage the reason for this abrupt desertion is due to the husband’s choice to take a second, younger wife. Ramatoulaye confides her grief to her friend Aissatou in a series of letters which are markedly personal, retelling her inner most feelings and her struggle to come to terms with what her beloved husband, Modou, has done to her. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: So Long A Letter | Mariama Bâ”