The theme of the event is “Decompartmentalising Africa: Cradle of humanity and ancient civilizations”.
Africa has at least 2000 living languages and 54 sovereign states. The Muslim caliphates, the European counters on the coasts, the transatlantic slave trade and colonization by European powers imposed a division of territories which divided the continent and shaped the various linguistic and religious affiliations.
These legacies are both the diversity and uniqueness of African states. Peoples often still feel and experience contact and exchange on a daily basis. As for the leaders, they continue to invoke the ideal of African unity proclaimed after independence. However, neither the circulation of goods and people, nor the much-desired sovereignty, have a concrete existence on the ground.
To this day, Africa remains compartmentalized and torn apart. States, even grouped into regional entities, often struggle to achieve even a territorial or geographical unity. The borders seem stronger and resist the desire for openness and integration. The roads of the story continue to reproduce the triangular paths bequeathed to Africans to speak to each other, to write to each other, to tell each other.
During this Back to School 2023, it will be a question of borders, whether they are drawn in space or the imagination, their creation and their deconstruction. On this level, languages, often presented as elements of the border system, insurmountable barriers, are as many points of passage for people, thoughts and feelings. Translation makes possible the circulation of authors, their books, their ideas, their worlds, their representations of the world. Languages will occupy an important place in the exchanges and debates.
*** Morakabe Raks Seakhoa, CEO: Africa Century International African Writers Conference & South African Literary Awards ***
At the heart of this 15th edition will thus feature authors from different regions of the continent whose conversation challenges the absolute nature of linguistic borders. It relies on the pooling of practices and experiences: linking initiatives that are emerging all over the continent, bringing together the means and knowledge to carry them out, exchanging and sharing experiences. Translate to dialogue and produce. Circulate more to better tell each other.
We invite everyone to come and meet authors from different linguistic spheres on the continent, to discover what brings us together and what is causing debate, to take up the challenges of a real exchange of ideas and imaginations, to share our enthusiasm for working on the decompartmentalization, renewal and sharing of stories in Africa.
The programme will kick off on Tuesday, 21 February, with the 1st Forum on Literary Events in Africa. This session is aimed at connecting literary events in Africa to share best practices, improving the circulation, presence and visibility of authors published in Africa as well as their works in literary events organized on the continent.
The Participants will include Abdoulaye Fodé Ndione, Dakar International Literature Festival (Senegal); Aliou Sow, Conakry International Children’s Book Fair (Guinea); Ameziane Ferhani, Algiers International Book Fair, SILA (Algeria); Anges-Félix N’Dakpri, Abidjan International Book Fair, SILA (Ivory Coast); Elisabeth Johnson, Pa Gya Literary Festival in Accra (Ghana); Joseph Ndwaniye, International Francophone Book Meetings of Rwanda, RILF (Rwanda); Lola Shoneyin, Aké Festival (Nigeria); Michèle Rakotoson, Rural Book Fair (Madagascar); Morakabe Raks Seakhoa, International African Writers Day (South Africa); Nadia Essalmi, Traveling Literature (Morocco); Safiatou Faure, Biennial of Francophone Literature from Black Africa in Bobo-Dioulasso (Burkina Faso); Ibrahima Aya, Literary return to Mali; Armando Artur Joao (Mozambique); and Sékou Fofana (Afrilivres). It will be moderated by Raphaël Thierry, Karim Chikh and Sulaiman Adebowale. It will be chaired by Armando Artur João and Michèle Rakotoson.
The agenda of the forum is available on the website of the Rentrée littéraire du Mali (Literary Return to Mali) on www.rentreelitterairedumali.org.
To attend the event virtually, click on this Zoom link here.