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Panel Discussion On Rethinking African Literature Holds On Sunday

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A Panel Discussion On Rethinking African Literature Holds

Please join us for a panel discussion on Rethinking African Literature in the Modern Era by the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA)

Tomorrow, Sunday, August 7, 2022
4:00 PM GMT // 5:00 PM Nigeria // 11:00AM Austin CST // 6:00 PM SAT // 7:00 PM EAT

READ ALSO: The Toyin Falola Interviews Holds Panel Discussion on Rethinking African Literature In The Modern Era

Join via Zoom:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81910990284

Watch on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/tfinterviews/live

Watch on YouTube:

https://youtube.com/channel/UC2lvX7A2iVndiCq0NfFcb0w/live

 

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Interview

Trends In African Literature

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A Tale Of Visions: A Tribute To Professor Akin Mabogunje (1931–2022)
Prof. Toyin Falola

The Toyin Falola Interviews

A PANEL DISCUSSION ON AFRICAN LITERATURE, PART 1

By Toyin Falola
I eagerly await the conversation with prominent members of the Pan-African Writers Association under the leadership of the prominent and visible writer, Dr. Wale Okediran. This first piece is to set the historical background to the conversation. The relationship between literature as a human endeavor and society is symbiotic, where the influence flows both ways, and one is shaped by the other. It is an interesting relationship to study, especially when one considers how literature changes form and intent over time, depending on society’s state of decay or otherwise, and also how society changes over time, sometimes due to the fierceness and unrelenting clamoring of literary figures and the body of work they have produced. It is not certain which has more influence on the other; however, it is established that literature, being the mirror of life and human societies, draws the inspiration for its content from societal happenings. Notwithstanding, literature acts as society’s conscience, bringing to light the ills in the darkest parts of society, critiquing, acting as a medium for the call to change, and bringing about the needed revolution.

In African literature, society has a rich timeline and has enjoyed many defining moments that we cannot possibly fully expound. For Africans, literature has been a significant part of our societies for longer than the western world represented in their earliest literature of Africa. Long before the colonial and the pseudo-civilization eras, Africa had its proper literature, although this form of literature was not always documented in the written form. In some communities, pre-colonial African literature was preserved by griots, praise-singers, poets, drummers, and priests, who were the custodians of our collective literature. This was passed down through their family, from father to child.

READ ALSO: Monica Cheru Joins Toyin Falola Interviews’ Panel Discussion On African Literature

Literature was a means for several endeavors then. It served as a way of orally preserving the histories of clans, villages, cities and their peoples and guarding the societal norms and beliefs that were the fibers holding the cultures of several African societies together. Beyond this, literature was also a means of interpreting the mystic and divine and showing reverence to the divine. The creation story and the existence of the divine are native to several African cultures and languages.

Trends In African Literature

Photo: Chinua Achebe

Furthermore, literature served as a medium for acculturation and enculturation, helping the new members of society to understand the modus operandi and what they needed to know to develop into acceptable members of society. In Africa oral literature was didactic. No matter how entertaining the story or how intriguing the ballad is, regular pieces contain some lessons between their lines and statements. Many of the written literature by African writers during the colonial and early post-colonial era was targeted at correcting the erroneous narratives that non-African writers and explorers had written about Africans.

With the encounter with the West, Africans had begun to receive standardized and formalized education, which meant that many Africans had become skilled at writing. As a result of the continent’s colonization, several regions had their newly acquired languages elevated to the positions of official languages like English, French, Arabic, and some other European languages. Thus, the emerging African and Caribbean writers largely wrote in their country and region’s official languages for some reasons. First, to reach more people than they could with their local language and to unify their audience. Second, to ensure that their writings reached the colonizers, who had misrepresented African cultures and traditions, and to correct the anomalies in the stories they told of Africa.

Consequently, African writers of this era were tasked with finding their voice, discovering their identity, and what the identity of African literature should be, revisiting falsely told stories of Africa, and orchestrating a literary rebellion to support the fight against colonialism and for independence across African regions. Ahmadou Kourouma and some other francophone authors led the charge for the Africanization of French through written literature during this period. Chinua Achebe of Nigeria also had his novel, Things Fall Apart, to depict civilized African societies before colonization and the real effects of and reason for colonization. This was also a period when African authors joined forces with political movements and other organizations and associations across the continent to push for the independence of African states.

READ ALSO: The Toyin Falola Interviews Holds Panel Discussion on Rethinking African Literature In The Modern Era

The role of African literature in the struggle for independence cannot be sidelined, as movements like the Negritude of Sedar Senghor, Leon Damas, and Aime Cesaire contributed to the earliest early political consciousness among Africans, and Sedar Senghor went on to become the first elected president of independent Senegal. Independence came for Africa, heralding a turn in the trend for African literature. This was not so much different from what writers were tasked with during the colonial era. The earliest period of the post-colonial era jolted African writers to the reality that freedom from colonialism and European rule was not necessarily freedom.

Trends In African Literature

Photo: Sedar Senghor

Several African leaders who had championed their countries’ independence and were also writers who contributed literature to speak out against colonialists’ oppression soon became what they fought against. The leaders who took over the reins became subjected to neo-colonialism, selfishness, and greed, all at the expense of their country’s development. Thus, writers became tasked with representing this oppressive and regressive turn of events for several African countries — albeit now independent — through literature. Some of the writers tasked with this work, using prose, poetry and drama, include Wole Soyinka, Ken Saro Wiwa, Remi Raji, Niyi Osundare, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, Femi Osofisan, Nadine Gordimer, and Abdulrazak Gurnah. It did not help matters that civil wars and intermittent military takeovers rocked some of these newly independent African countries. There were cases of gross violation of human rights, corruption, and a heart-rending lack of direction. Many of these writers braced incarceration, and some had to relocate to other countries. They were fierce and held the fort to make literature one of the few things the world respected Africa for during the early to mid-post-colonial era.

Africa’s case is so peculiar that the problems of decades ago, which served as the subject of many a literary work, largely remain the problems of the contemporary African continent. Among other things, contemporary African writers are tasked with writing about the issues their literary ancestors and mentors addressed. Much of contemporary African literature still centers on political ills, the underdevelopment of several African countries, and neo-colonialism, and it circles back to the identity of the African person in a dynamic and fiercely conscious world that is more conscious and sensitive than it has ever been.

Contemporary African writers, from Kwame Dawes to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Assia Djebar, and Sello Duiker, among others, write about identity, feminism, and the backward cultural and religious practices that marginalize some African women, especially in Northern Africa. One trend that has stood the test of time among African writers is that they do not stop at writing. They grant interviews, speak at events, and hold discourses all channeled at bringing about some development and improvement to the African continent and the lives of the African people. It was the same with the earliest African writers of the colonial and early post-colonial era, which is how it is with contemporary writers.

Trends In African Literature

Photo: Kwame Dawes

Technology and the digitization of literature is another trend worth noting in the African literature space. This has increased the number of self-published authors, making writing a profession easier to venture into. In a period where writers do not need to depend on publishing houses and elaborate marketing and book promotion strategies, the freedom to express and influence is becoming more accessible. There is also the embalming of literature in the digital footprints of the metaverse using non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The questions for ardent followers, critics, lovers, stakeholders, and enthusiasts of African literature are: What is next for literature in Africa? What needs to be done? How are writers being made? What should be rethought?

On Sunday, August 7, 2022, the Pan-African Writers Association, in collaboration with the Toyin Falola Interviews, will hold a discourse on “Rethinking African Literature.” The goal is to extrapolate issues and arrive at progressive solutions. Join us.
Sunday, August 7, 2022
4:00 PM GMT
5:00 PM Nigeria
11:00AM Austin CST
6:00 PM SAT
7:00 PM EAT

 

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Interview

Monica Cheru Joins Toyin Falola Interviews’ Panel Discussion On African Literature

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A Tale Of Visions: A Tribute To Professor Akin Mabogunje (1931–2022)

Monica Cheru Joins Toyin Falola Interviews' Panel Discussion On African Literature

Monica Cheru has joined The Toyin Falola Interviews’ Panel Discussion On African Literature.

Cheru is the Vice-President of Pan African Writers Association-PAWA   (South region) and the current chair of the Zimbabwe Writers Association. She sits on the board of the Zimbabwe International Book Fair Association. She is the author of short story anthologies Chivi Sunsets and The Happy Clapper. Cheru’s short stories also appear in multi-author compilations, including Nothing to See, published by Uganda’s Femwrite.

Cheru is an academic author with textbooks in use in primary schools. She has written papers for journals such as BUWA! and presented papers at different fora such as the China Africa Institute for Cultural Studies. A trained storyteller with The Moth, Cheru is a multi-platform digital storyteller, senior media practitioner, and digital footprints strategist.

READ ALSO: The Toyin Falola Interviews Holds Panel Discussion on Rethinking African Literature In The Modern Era

Please join us for a panel discussion on Rethinking African Literature in the Modern Era by the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA)

 Sunday, August 7, 2022

4:00 PM GMT

5:00 PM Nigeria

11:00AM Austin CST

6:00 PM SAT

7:00 PM EAT

 Register and Watch:

https://www.tfinterviews.com/post/_pawa

 

Read more authentic news on our social media platforms

Continue Reading

Interview

The Toyin Falola Interviews Holds Panel Discussion on Rethinking African Literature In The Modern Era

Published

on

A Tale Of Visions: A Tribute To Professor Akin Mabogunje (1931–2022)
Prof. Toyin Falola

Panel Discussion on Rethinking African Literature In the Modern Era

Panelist

Mwamwingila Goima Peter is an author/writer of children’s and adult literature using Kiswahili. He loves different arts, especially drama and music. Mwamwingila was born in Tanzania in 1981, the fourth of five children in a family of an economist father and an accountant mother.

Although his father played a great lot in molding him to become who he is today (literature man) by giving him bedtime stories during his childhood, he and his father did not enjoy that for quite long enough since his father wanted him to take mathematics in studies and to be like him. He could do something that led them to separate because he preferred art subjects, English and History. They were enemies until when it was declared that he could never turn out to be an economist or a mathematician but an artist. Finally, his father admitted him again as he was his favorite child.

Mwamwingila did several music performances on stage and studio recording sessions between 1996-2009 (bongo flavor music), as well as acting on stage and in a drama film known as OLAIBON and LAYON as one of the key characters, a film by DHAHABU ARTS GROUP, directed by Mashaka Mkeso also known as Robert Mashal. In 2004, the film was aired internationally on various channels, including Movie Magic in South Africa. Afterward, he became interested in film preparation and started learning about script writing before he turned to book writing.

READ ALSO: Alternative Paths To Ghana’s Success

In 2009, he started putting his literature into writing. After ten years, he published his first children’s book Chifu Mtalimbo following a special request by his son Mtalimbo, who asked him for a gift on his birthday. The boy specifically mentioned to him that he wanted Waswahili tales and not otherwise.

Because of his love for children, he made one for him and, since that year, has been publishing one after another. His published literature works are Chifu Mtalimbo, Kisa cha Punda na Pundamilia, Kisa cha Simba Mtu and Babu yangu anajua kila kitu -1. All these he wrote to promote tourism in the country.

Kisa cha Gian na Siafu is a story that teaches children knowledge about ants. In contrast, Kisa cha Panzi na Kunguru explains the importance of good governance, a lesson that helps children and adults understand better why Africa has endless civil wars that lead to a lack of peace and security. This book is also in an audible version and the most listened to by children and adults on several patriotic occasions. Although some people described it as a political novella, he suggests that it should be used to encourage children to adhere to good behaviors in daily life, such as respecting one another and selecting friends to associate with.

He has also been facilitating other writers, encouraging them to pursue their ambitions, mentoring various independent writers and those under the Mtalimbo Books Project, and serving a contract with Tanzania Fasihi Fund – TAFF, a community-based organization to mentor children who learn to write stories. Under the children’s writer program, he managed to recruit six new talents and help them by molding their ideas into stories and later publishing their collection of stories in two different books.

In 2021, he was detained in the most dangerous prison in Tanzania as a civil prisoner. This act was a major setback to businesses and his career since he lost communication with different people and organizations. Still, to him, it was a rare opportunity to learn about life in prisons.

While in prison, he managed to start a class and spend his most precious time teaching local people and foreigners how to read and write. He also taught people how to write storybooks and entertained other prisoners with novels that his friend Husein Wamayma brought him. The writers under his incubation had lost hope of achieving their writing goals, and some even abandoned writing. Still, when he got out, he managed to assist in finishing his previous project. One of his students published a book titled for TUMAINI (HOPE) about inclusive education for children with special needs.

Life in prison was severely difficult for him as he was trying to set time to write, but few arrogant jailmen could not like the idea of him spending time writing. He fought and was wonderful. He managed to write about eight children’s stories and three adult novels within six months. He is recorded saying he has never done this, yet he doesn’t think it will ever happen again. He counts it a miracle of writing speed.

At the moment, he is on the special committee of which he is one of the appointees to mobilize more writers to join together for the national writers’ association. He has been one of the writers who keep on encouraging more people to write to further African literature.

Mwamwingila took several courses, including Database Management and Designing from the University of Dar es salaam, Business Management and Entrepreneurship, Sales and Marketing, Crime investigation, Service Marketing, Legal Studies, ISO Management System Audit Techniques and Best Practices Assessment from Alison College, UK.

Mwamwingila believes in achieving his goals by assisting other people in achieving the goals first. He is born to help others, and his happiness always comes after assisting the people in need, no matter how difficult.

Please join us for a panel discussion on Rethinking African Literature in the Modern Era by the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA):

Sunday, August 7, 2022
4:00 PM GMT
5:00 PM Nigeria
11:00AM Austin CST
6:00 PM SAT
7:00 PM EAT

Register and Watch:

https://www.tfinterviews.com/post/pawa

Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.

 

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