Page 22 - May 2021 Litterateur
P. 22

Around the world

                                                                                                                Afroplitanism, Diasporic
                                                                                                             Literature and Africa’s Secret
                                                                                                                       Literary War
                                                                                                                       Alexander Nderitu








                      Pre-COVID-19,  a  few  ‘Africa-themed’  literature  festivals  had  sprung  up  in

                      Western  capitals.  These  included  Writers  Write  (UK)  and  the  African

                      literature  festival  in  Berlin  (Germany).  From  April  26th  to  April  28th  2018,
                      Berlin played host to a festival dubbed Writing in Migration. The event was

                      curated by Nigerian-German writer Olumide Popoola and included no less

                      than  37  different  writers  and  artists  from  various  African  countries  and

                      backgrounds.  The  participants  included  Chris  Abani  (Nigeria),  Jennifer
                      Nansubuga  Makumbi  (Uganda),  Musa  Okwonga  (UK/Uganda),  Zukiswa

                      Wanner  (SA),  Yvonne  Owuor  (Kenya),  Helon  Habila  (Nigeria),  Mukoma  wa

                      Ngũgi (Kenya), Bernadino Evaristo (UK/Nigeria), Niq Mhlongo (SA), Abdilatif

                      Abdalla  (Kenya),  Chinelo  Okparanta  (Nigeria),  Elnathan  John  (Nigeria),
                      Ayọbámi  Adébáyọ  (Nigeria)  and  Minna  Salami  (Finland/Nigeria).  During  a
                           ̀
                                                  ̀
                      Deutsche  Welle  TV  interview  preceding  the  event,  the  host  asked  Prof.

                      Mukoma wa Ngũgi, ‘You have lived in Kenya as well as the United States so
                      what are you? Are you an American? Are you an African? Again, how does

                      that play into your writing?’ Mukoma’s verbatim response was:





                      ‘I would say I am many things. I have multiple identities. I claim both the US
                      and Kenya as home and I believe that I have a duty to love both and to be

                      critical and to try and grow both. Certainly, it has influenced my writing.

                      Nairobi  Heat  has  an  African-American  detective  who  goes  to  Kenya  in

                      search of his identity. In most of my writing, you will find that sort of, uh, I
                      guess migrations, people in search of who they are…I am an African writer,

                      but  if  you  allow  African  writers  to  be  many  things,  you  know,  then  an

                      African writer is somebody other African writers consider to be an African

                      writer.  It’s  a  roundabout  way  of  saying  that  let  African  writers  be  many
                      things, have multiple identities, and the same thing with African literature.’






















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                             REDEFINING WORLD
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