UK -Europe
2018-07-08 / Dr. Cyriac Maprayil

Africa Writes Festival 2018 in London

I had the pleasure to attend the Royal African Societys Annual Literature Festival held at the British Library from 29th June -1st July .

This is a festival where one gets introduced to the whole of the African Literary world in a single weekend ..As a student of Commonwealth

history I was fascinated by the politicians like Nkrunah of Ghana ,Kaunda of Zambia ,Nyerere of Tanzania etc especially in the way in which

they succeeded in nation-building out of the fractured and tribalised communities in which they found themselves when the imperial rule ended.

The week-end witnessed a well coordinated and structured programme of discussions ,workshops and book launches where writers ,artists ,

academics and poets practically from most parts of Africa including Nigeria ,Uganda ,Zimbabwe South Africa ,Kenya ,Somalia ,Camerron etc

made their presence felt.

One of the sessions called African Literary figures in Georgian and Edwardian London was immensely educational and thought provoking.leaving a deep sense of sadness and ,in a sense ,pride in anyone with a colonial background.

Most participants must have left the festival empowered if not rejuvenated , by the cosmopolitan outlook ,open-minded and defiant style

of a new generation of African artists and authors that promised something that comes nearer to what Nkrumah and others like him

envisaged --the Pan-Africa vision if not based on geography and economy but on creative thinking and writing .

The underlying message one takes home is not just that Africa can write but that it can write in style that appeals to the rest of the world.

During the weekend one could interact with accomplished and popular writers as well as budding young writers.

Festivals like these help cement and rediscover the Commonwealth Experience that is founded on freedom ,equality ,humanity and universality.

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