Showing posts from 2015

African literary festivals you can (still) attend in 2015

2015 is halfway over, but there are still many African festivals to attend. Here is a list of book fairs and literary events that will be happening from now through December.

Event: Babishai Niwe Poetry Festival
Venue: Kampala
Dates: 26 to 28 August
Information: BN Poetry Award 


Event: Storymoja Festival
Venue: Nairobi, Kenya
Dates: 16th to 20th September 2015
More information here

Event: Nairobi International Book Fair
Venue: Nairobi, Kenya
Dates: 23-27 September
Click here for more information

Event:  Open Book Festival
Venue: Cape Town, South Africa
Dates: 9-13 September
Visit Open Book for details


Event: The 2015 Kampala Writers’ Festival
Venue: Kampala, Uganda
Dates: October 6-12
Information here

Event: International Book Fair of Algiers, SILA
Venue: Algiers, Algeria
Dates: To be confirmed

Event: Khartoum International Book Fair
Venue: Khartoum, Sudan.
Dates: To be confirmed

Event:Port Harcourt Literary Festival
Venue:Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Dates: To be confirmed

Vitabu Interviews | Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire

Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire is a Ugandan writer, academic, and lawyer. He is a co-founder of the Kampala-based Center for African Cultural Excellence.

Bwesigye is the author of "Fables out of Nyanja" and "Finding Foot as an International Court; The Prospects and Challenges of the East African Court of Justice" 

His other work has been published by The Kalahari Review, Short Story Day Africa, Uganda Modern Literary Digest, The World to Come and African Roar among others.

Bwesigye holds an LLM in Human Rights Law from Central European University and an LLB from Makerere University. He is an assistant lecturer of human rights at Makerere University, Research convener and moots coordinator at St. Augustine International University.

Vitabu: What's the background story behind the founding of the Center for African Cultural Excellence?

Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire: The real story is frustration with the Eurocentrism of much of our current reality, and how easy it is for us (meaning…

"Did You have a Good Friday? Judas Didn't!"

'Did You have a Good Friday? Judas Didn't!'

A snippet from last year's Good Friday homily as the preacher warmed to the popular theme of "let's all beat up on Judas":

"Of all the people in the bible, I can’t think of too many people who have a worse name than Judas Iscariot: have you ever known anybody named Judas?  What do you think would happen if you called someone a Judas?  He has gone down in history as one of the worst betrayers in all the bible.  Oh, there are other bad guys of the bible: Pharaoh, Pilate, Ahab, Herod ... all come to mind.  But I don’t think any can beat ol’ Judas for sheer detestability.  After all, you sort of expected all of them to be wicked: all of them were corrupt rulers, but Judas takes the cake because not only was he bad, but he betrayed a friend ..."

And so say all of us, I suspect?
Do those gleeful chants of "Judas dai don tidey, wi go berram tumara ...!"  still ring out in the Freetown byways as they …

Grandma’s Twilight Àwùjọ

A sparkling blue sky romanced the soothing sea breeze that whispered through respite palm and baobab trees. Granny Henrietta sat on an antique stool knitting the names of her deceased relatives.

She had observed a pattern of disrespect for the elderly.
Stunned with bewilderment she said, “Age is a symbol of respect that holds the family tree together, like carefully knitted thread.” Her embroidery resembled a Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors.

A dignified Maroon, Henrietta is the oldest survivor on the paternal side. She did not look her age despite having turned four score, a milestone in the family’s genealogy. Her compatriots had painstakingly erected her unique cottage. The house stood on a precipice, where one could get a panoramic view of Freetown.

She peeled open her curtain to catch a view of activities in the sunshine. Mentally, she recalled the many sunrises and sunsets she has weathered. It flashed on her mind that the clock was ticking for her to join her ancestors. But not un…

Appropriating THINGS FALL APART in the Sierra Leonean classroom

Chinua Achebe's first novel Things Fall Apart is one of the most widely read books in African literature. To mark the second anniversary of his death, language and literature professor Sheikh U. Kamarah takes a look at Achebe's classic in the Sierra Leonean classroom.
One of the world’s greatest works of literature in English, Things Fall Apart, has been, and continues to be appropriated by different communities around the world. In West Africa in particular, where the “world” of Things Fall Apart is very similar to the “worlds” of the various communities, it has been easier to appropriate the late Chinua Achebe’s masterpiece.
In Sierra Leone, Things Fall Apart has been one of, if not the most popular novel; one that almost every educated person either would have read or heard about. In teaching this novel, many teachers in Sierra Leone have invariably relied on the Sierra Leonean culture or aspects of the Sierra Leonean culture akin to aspects of the culture of the book, to bri…

From the Bo School Years

Luseni Dassama's "Self-Preservation: Beginnings of an eternal conflict" was first published on his Facebook wall April 9, 2010.

The story is an excerpt from a chapter in his autobiography Bo School Years, which spotlights a teenage boy's introduction to an adult world of traditional gender roles and beliefs.

February 1984
The Bo School
"You ask me to help you?! Man is evil, capable of nothing but destruction!”

We were all repeating this line and laughing as the movie came to an end. Some of us had seen “Beneath the Planet of The Apes” a few times, but we never tired of it.

This was a special Friday evening screening arranged by our French teacher. Apparently the original “Planet of The Apes” was written by a French writer and our teacher was keen for us to delve beyond the surface of the film and understand the subtext, context or whatever it was that he kept going on about.

“It is an example of social commentary through the use of dystopia,” he said at the beginn…

The Child Who Survives

Today's poignant and haunting story comes from a sociologist in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Mohamed Gibril Sesay is a published poet and he currently teaches at Fourah Bay College. He has also served as a consultant with the nation's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and in development roles on behalf of the government of Sierra Leone.

What do we do? The child’s mother just died. Her father also just died, and she sits in the middle of the square crying. 

In normal times mothers would have rushed to pick her up, hug her, change her nappies, give her food, breastfeed her. Fathers, in the absence of mothers, would have in some deep voice asked her to stop the tears, and with patience running out would have hollered instructions left and right to people around to pick up the little child. Sisters, in the absence of fathers, would have sung lullabies, tickled her, prepared pap to give her. Brothers would have, in the absence of sisters, taken her off the ground and rushed to find si…

Secrets in the Garden City | Enuma Chigbo Phillips

Today's excerpt is from Enuma Chigbo Phillips. Enuma's love for nature got her travelling around the globe and has resulted in two travelogues - The Gambia Diaries and Cries from the Hills of Obanliku. She has also published a children's story book - Children of Destiny, based on the real life stories of street children in Calabar, her home state.

Currently, she is a media consultant with Nigeria's Cross River State government and one of the creative directors of the Carnival Calabar Queen Pageant.

Enuma holds a Bachelor of Arts honors degree in English Language from the University of Port Harcourt and a certificate in Media Enterprise from the Pan African University, Lagos. She's worked in various capacities in THISDAY Nigeria and South Africa as reporter on health and diplomatic issues, as a special projects coordinator and an advertising administrator. She’s seen her writing evolve into script writing for stage plays and movies and shift from writing to movie prod…

Forum Signals New Era for Sierra Leonean Writers

A circle of Sierra Leonean authors and publishers met for a day at the 50/50 Group Hall in Freetown, Saturday, January 24.  The event was organized by PEN Sierra Leone in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Writers Series and The Africanist Press. 

According to a joint statement, participants agreed to ensure more books were read in Sierra Leonean homes, schools, educational institutions and libraries. The group plans to hold a book fair, organize read campaigns, and recognize home-grown talent with literary awards. Writing contests, book tours and lectures in local bookshops and community libraries are also on the table. 

Professor Osman Sankoh (Mallam O), a health information statistician and literature publisher who established the Sierra Leone Writers Series in 2001, says the event “demonstrated a new era of collaboration.”

PEN Sierra Leone, the local chapter of PEN International, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last July, saw Saturday's event as a great opportunity to fulf…