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Archive for the ‘Kenya’ Category

#JacanaChallenge: how many African authors have you read?

“Anything and everything” by literary wunderkind Kopano Matlwa, NoViolet Bulawayo’s award-winning We Need New Names, and prolific Kenyan author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o's first novel Weep Not, Child.

These are but three authors local bibliophiles recommend you read for this week’s #JacanaChallenge.

The challenge? Simply tweet any African author you think those participating in the challenge MUST read.

Get in on the fun! Join the challenge here.

Spilt Milk

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We Need New Names


Weep Not, Child

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Now Available: The 2014 Caine Prize Anthology, The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories

The Gonjon Pin and Other StoriesThe new Caine Prize anthology The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories is to be published by Jacana:

The Caine Prize for African Writing is Africa’s leading literary prize. For fifteen years it has supported and promoted contemporary African writing. Keeping true to its motto, “Africa will always bring something new,” the prize has helped launch the literary careers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Segun Afolabi, Leila Aboulela, Brian Chikwava, EC Osondu, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Binyavanga Wainaina, and many others.

The 2014 collection includes the five shortlisted stories and the stories written at the Caine Prize Writers’ Workshop along with 12 other stories from the best new writers. Insightful, arresting and entertaining – this collection reflects the richness and range of current African writing.

A last swim in a condemned pool leads a troubled teenager and her grandmother to common ground … A young woman finds it so hard to make her way in the city that she takes a drastic decision … A couple receive relationship counselling from a strange family grouping … A boy meets two exiles from Rwanda – one of them a gorilla – with remarkable results … A woman summons her father back from the dead …

The authors shortlisted for the 2014 Caine Prize were: Diane Awerbuck (South Africa) for “Phosphorescence”; Efemia Chela (Ghana/Zambia) for “Chicken”; Tendai Huchu (Zimbabwe) for “The Intervention”; Billy Kahora (Kenya) for “The Gorilla’s Apprentice”; Okwiri Oduor (Kenya) for “My Father’s Head”. The prize was won by Oduor. In addition, 12 writers took part in the Caine Prize Writers’ Workshop, held this year in Zimbabwe, where each produced a special story for this volume. These 17 stories – insightful, arresting and entertaining – reflect the richness and range of current writing on the African continent.

“Africa’s most important literary award.”International Herald Tribune

“Entertaining. Deserves to be widely read.” – Sunday Independent, South Africa

“It provokes and challenges.” – Harare News, Zimbabwe

“Dazzling and splendidly diverse.”The Times, UK

“The Caine Prize continues to gather the many-varied stream of African writing.”The Mercury, South Africa

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Podcast: Clive Walker Discusses the Proposal for a Once Off Sale of SA’s Rhino Horn

The Rhino KeepersClive Walker, co-author of The Rhino Keepers: Struggle for Survival, joined a discussion on rhino poaching with Albi Modise, Chief Director of Communications at the Department of Environmental Affairs, on Talk Radio 702 with Jenny Crwys-Williams.

Walker said that he was surprised to hear that the government is considering a once off sale of the rhino horn stock and said he thought that there should have been a meeting called for all the concerned parties to discuss this, as he and his son, Anton Walker, suggested in their book. He said that a rational discussion is needed between all the different groups before a decision is made.

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Book Preview: Afropolis Edited by Kerstin Pinther, Larissa Förster and Christian Hanussek

AfropolisJacana is pleased to share a book preview of the German book, Afropolis: City/Media/Art, which has now been translated into English.

The flipping preview contains an entire contents page, which delineates the five different cities (Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa, Johannesburg). The preface, foreword, and the three first chapters from the Cairo section make up the bulk of the preview of the book, which takes a fascinating look at the African metropolis.

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Afropolis, a Study of Rise of the Big Five African Cities, Now Available in English

AfropolisMetropolises often evoke images of flashy high-rise buildings, permanent background noise, backed-up cars and people moving quickly in all directions in their masses. New York, Tokyo, London, Sao Paulo. But what about Cairo? Lagos? Nairobi, Kinshasa, Johannesburg?

More than half of the world‘s population lives in cities. Countries of the South in particular are facing fast-paced globalisation, with the highest rates of urbanisation taking place in African cities. Beyond Western models of urban development, African cities are creating their own urban structures, topography and cultures. How do these structures work? How do the residents of these cities organise their daily lives? What discussions are taking place in Africa about the history and future of cities? And how are artists thinking about and representing urban life in Africa?

Lavishly illustrated and meticulously researched, Afropolis is the product of an exhibition developed by the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne, Germany. The book focuses on the Big Five of African cities: Cairo, Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa and Johannesburg, and brings together positions of artistic and cultural studies, as well as detailed histories and the specific dynamics of these African cities, in order to expand our understanding of the concept of urbanity and the phenomenon of the City from an African perspective.

This is the first time the book is available in English.

About the editors

Larissa Förster is a research associate at the Morphomata International Centre for Advanced Studies Genesis, Dynamics and Mediality of Cultural Figurations, University of Cologne. Her doctoral thesis dealt with postcolonial landscapes of memory. She has spent long periods in Namibia and South Africa for her research, which focuses primarily on museum studies, visual and material culture, and the history and cultures of remembrance in southern Africa. She also co-curated the exhibition Namibia – Deutschland: eine geteilte Geschichte: Widerstand, Gewalt, Erinnerung shown in the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Cologne and the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin (2004/2005).

Christian Hanussek, born in Frankfurt am Main in 1953, is an artist, author and curator currently based in Berlin. He studied art and art theory at the Städelschule in Frankfurt and at ateliers 63 in Haarlem (NL). His art often combines three-dimensional painting with film and video, and his works include a number of permanent installations. Since 2001, he has published a series of articles on art from Africa. In 2005/2006, he curated his project Gleichzeitig in Africa… with exhibitions, seminars and discussions in several German cities.

Kerstin Pinther is a Professor for African Art at the Department of Art History, Freie Universität Berlin. Until early 2010, she was a research fellow at Goethe University Frankfurt/Main. Within her general research fields of photography and visual cultures in West Africa, she is presently focusing on architecture and urbanity in Africa, and on specific issues related to Africa’s contemporary art and cultural production in a global context. Her most recent publication is Wege durch Accra. Stadtbilder, Praxen und Diskurse (2010). Kerstin Pinther curated the exhibition Black Paris. Kunst und Geschichte einer schwarzen Diaspora (2006). She has spent periods of research in Accra, Paris, Lagos, and Cairo.

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Podcast with Caine Prize Contributor Binyavanga Wainaina

Work in Progress and Other StoriesJambula Tree and Other StoriesBinyavanga WainainaKenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina – who spends a fair amount of time in our neck of the woods – was interviewed by American Public Media late last year for a piece on their Speaking of Faith series.

He spoke to APM’s Krista Tippett about “the ethics of aid”; they tossed around the question of whether aid from one country to another is always a good thing.

Now the uncut, unedited interview has surfaced as a podcast, which, if you get past the first four minutes or so, transforms from a fumbly arranging of interviewer and interviewee and seats and microphones and test-the-microphones chitchat (which includes the weighty subject of what Wainaina had for breakfast) into an incisive and exercising gloss of north-south relations – and a glimpse into the violence that marred Kenya’s recent elections.

Here’s the podcast; and see below for a link to the transcript:


Transcript: The Ethics of Aid: One Kenyan’s Perspective

Krista Tippett, host: I’m Krista Tippett. Today, “The Ethics of Aid: One Kenyan’s Perspective.” We explore a challenging view of the morality and efficacy of Western approaches to Africa’s problems.

Mr. Binyavanga Wainaina: A lot of people arrive in Africa to assume that it’s a blank empty space and their goodwill and desire and guilt will fix it. And that to me is not any different from the first people who arrived and colonized us. This power, this power to help, is just about as dangerous as hard power, because very often it arrives with a kind of zeal that is assuming ‘I will do it. I will solve it for you. I will fix it for you,’ and it rides roughshod over your own best efforts.

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Photo courtesy PEN American Center

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Work in Progress and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Fiction Collection 2009

Work in Progress and Other StoriesEC OsundoNow in its 10th year, the Caine Prize presents another unmissable opportunity to tune in to what is going on in African fiction. Work in Progress and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Fiction 2009 brings together the shortlist for the 2009 award as well as stories written at the Caine Prize writers’ workshop held near Accra, Ghana – in all, 16 short stories that make up some of the best new writing from across the continent.

The 2009 shortlisted authors were:

Mamle Kabu [Ghana] for “The end of Skill”
Parselelo Kantai [Kenya] for “You Wreck Her”
Alistair Morgan [South Africa] for “Icebergs”
EC Osondu [Nigeria] for “Waiting”
Mukoma wa Ngugi [Kenya] for “How Kamau wa Mwangi Escaped into Exile”

EC Osondu won the £10 000 award.

Last year’s winner, Henrietta Rose-Innes, is one of 11 other writers featured in this remarkable collection, which showcases the cultural relevance of the short story and up-and-coming talent in equal measure. Her story, Work in Progress, provides the title for the collection. See Rose-Innes’ own posts on the collection.

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