Swahili Literary Festival 2019 opening evening

A snapshot of the Swahili Literary Festival 2019.

A snapshot of the Swahili Literary Festival 2019 that happened at the Swahilipot Hub in Mombasa, Kenya from March 1-3, 2019.

The Swahilipot Hub is an innovation hub in the coastal city of Mombasa that supports both tech and artistic initiatives. The hub was the scene of a new initiative which would bring together a significant segment of the literary community in that part of the country called the Swahili Literary Festival.

The festival kicked off on March 1 with a panel and keynote that featured Prof Rocha Chimera speaking about where Swahili literature started and where it should possibly be headed. The next day it was a time of the younger Mombasa residents with several high school students taking part in a shairi (poetry) showcase with radio personality and published poet Alamin Somo conducting affairs.

Practitioners panel at the Swahili Literary Festival 2019
Practitioners panel at the Swahili Literary Festival 2019

Practitioners of the arts discussing the nuts and bolts of the profession were on show on Saturday afternoon. The form of this was a panel moderated by the voice of the festival and Hijabi Mentorship Program founder Nima N’zani Kassim. The panellists were creative writer and Creative Writers League Founder Lubnah AbdulHalim; creative writer and Kwale Pen People Founder/president Amina Suleiman; actor, Producer, Art Director at SwahiliPot Hub Stephanie Maseki; and poet, storyteller, entrepreneur, Motivation Talks for Youth founder Salma Abdulatif.

The final session at the festival was a roll of honour of the Swahili Literary tradition as individuals who had contributed to it were celebrated. It was a morning to remember as the life and works of Shaaban Bin Robert, Maalim Shihabudin Chiraghdin, Prof Nabhany Sheikh, and Prof Ali Mazrui were read to all that had attended.

The festival was the brainchild of the Abdulrahman ‘Abu Amirah’ Ndegwa led Hekaya Arts Initiative alongside the Swahilipot Hub. Also lending their support were the Creative Writers League, Motivational Talks for Youth, Libros Agency, Kwale Pen People, Njia Kuu, and Life In Mombasa. Also giving invaluable support to the festival were Alamin Somo, Nimah N’zani Kassim, Prof Abdulatif Abdalla and Lubnah AbdulHalim of Creative Writers League. We salute them all for ensuring that the festival kicks off. We shall be coming through next year.

Here are images and videos from the events of the three days of the festival.

Prof Abdulatif Abdalla with Mahmoud Noor
Prof Abdulatif Abdalla with Mahmoud Noor
Nagib Ahmad Nassir reading from the works of the legendary Ustadh Ahmed Nassir Juma Bhalo
Nagib Ahmad Nassir reading from the works of the legendary Ustadh Ahmed Nassir Juma Bhalo
Poets Khalfan Nzaka Salim and Abdallah Chimera reciting a joint shairi in praise of the exemplary gentlemen to be celebrated in this first instalment of the Swahili Literary Festival
Poets Khalfan Nzaka Salim and Abdallah Chimera reciting a joint shairi in praise of the exemplary gentlemen to be celebrated in this first installment of the Swahili Literary Festival

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