Showing posts from 2016

Help Is On The Way for Young Writers in Freetown

 There are many young talented writers in Freetown, but no one’s read their stories because there are few publication houses. (See updates below) Luisa Roberts, who stays at Newton, has been writing since she was six. She’s now 18. She said she must have written over a hundred pieces, but in the end, they all get tucked away in her cupboard or placed on top of a table as decoration. Luisa said her uncle always tells her she's wasting her time because her stories will never get published.   In 2014, Mabinty Dumbuya won second prize in a high school writing competition held by Dr. G. E. Hallowell, director of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corp. Mabinty said she was quite proud that her essay on Ebola had won a prize. Since she started writing some years back that was the first time something good ever came out of it. Mabinty also said that she'd be happy if a publishing house is built in Freetown.    It's true there are no publishing houses in the city, but there i

Ibrahim Whyte Sesay on Coups, Revolutions, and Realpolitik

Two Novembers ago when @KhanyoMjamba published “10 of Africa’s longest serving presidents” in This Is Africa's African Identity, Yayah Jammeh was number 9 on the list. Like all the other men in Mjamba's lineup, Jammeh had ruled over his country for more than two decades after some bloody coup and revolution. Coups, revolutions, and power struggles are the focus of Ibrahim Whyte Sesay, a Sierra Leonean born writer based in the United States. In November 2016, Sesay published two books looking at fictional coups in Sierra Leone, as well as world wars in the east and west, up North, and down south. Below are excerpts from Whyte's comments in a recent chat with Vitabu. "After the CIA and the Belgians assassinated Patrice Lumumba (the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1961, a mere seven months after Congo became independent, has anything really changed? "African leaders know that they rule, not just by the domestic ballot and/or bul

"For it is all that is left after war. The story outlasts us, it outlasts us all" - Sierra Leoneans Celebrate Chinua Achebe's Stories

How do you celebrate the 86 th birthday of a man who wrote the most widely read book in African literature? Host a hangout “across computers, Android, and Apple devices“ on a WhatsApp group. The  Sierra Leone Writers Series    group, which marked its second birthday November 14, connects poets, novelists, writers, performance artists, painters, playwrights, and musicians of Sierra Leonean descent.  To mark the birthday of Africa’s legendary Chinua Achebe (he would have been 86 today) Dr. Mohamed Gibril Sesay, author of This Side of Nothingness  (publishers: Sierra Leonean Writers Series and Karantha Publishers), sociology professor, and Sierra Leone’s Minister of State, weighed in with Kemurl Fofanah, a young poet and writer currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Peace and Conflict studies at Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. Joining in were Njanguma Momodu, who has set up a writers forum that launched a public library in rural Sierra Leone; freelance

Pan-African Voices - A Platform for African Poets

Pan-African Voices, a platform for African poets, is seeking more poets from Africa and around the world. The group caters to those with a prowess in voicing messages of peace, love, and unity throughout Africa and the world. Join Pan-African Voices to share poetry, take part in discussions, as well as literary criticisms and analysis. To be a part of this exciting venture, simply add Kemurl Fofanah +23288865054 and Tapera Makahdo +263775540869 to your WhatsApp contacts and send "ADD ME”   Kemurl & Tapera The Pan-African Voices group - It's a place where poets meet and interact

Behind the Stories That Inspired Bakar Mansaray's A Suitcase full of Dried Fish

Vitabu: In Abayomi Roberts’s report on your book launch, he talked about how the African-Canadian community came together in Edmonton last fall for A Suitcase Full of Dried Fish and other stories. Abayomi said your speech touched on your own  life and work as an airline steward with the then national carrier in Sierra Leone. You reportedly said that experience inspired the title story.  Please share your suitcase experience with our audience.  Bakar Mansary: My experience as a flight attendant with Sierra Leone Airlines inspired the title story in my book, “A Suitcase Full of Dried Fish and other stories” The title story was set in the mid-1980s, when I travelled from Freetown to Paris as air cabin crew, with a suitcase full of dried fish. My intention was to sell them to an African woman in Paris. However, by the time we were in sight of l’aéroport d’Orly, our flight was unable to land due to bad weather. As a result, the pilots were forced to head for l’aéroport Nice Côte d