Joe Khamisi at Afrolit Sans Frontières Season 5.

Joe Khamisi at Afrolit Sans Frontières Season 5.

Joe Khamisi featured at Season 5 of Afrolit Sans Frontières on Monday, July 27, 2020. He was moderated by Zukiswa Wanner.

Afrolit Sans Frontières, a virtual literary festival for writers of African origin, was founded by author and publisher Zukiswa Wanner as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic international lockdowns. The festival format is two sessions a day on Instagram Live with an artist moderated by a host who also fields questions from audience members. There have been four editions so far; Season 1 from March 23-30; Season 2 from April 20-27; Season 3 from May 25 – June 1; and Season 4 from June 29-July 6.

Season 5 kicked off with Lerato Mogoatlhe in Johannesburg, South Africa before Joe Khamisi ended the day from Texas, USA. Khamisi is a Kenyan writer, former journalist, diplomat, and Member of Parliament who divides his time between Kenya and the US where he does most of his writing. He is the author of five books: The Politics of Betrayal, Dash Before Dusk: An autobiography, the Wretched Africans, Looters and Grabbers, and The Bribery Syndrome. He is currently writing his first novel expected for release later in the year.

The session with his moderator Zukiswa Wanner was one of the soberest there has been at the festival. The focus was The Wretched Africans a nonfiction offering about the slave trade in Eastern Africa in the 19th century that launched in 2016. The Wretched Africans is the only book written about that shameful part of Africa’s history affecting 12 million in one century by an African.

Khamisi, a descendant of those who were rescued from the slave markets in Zanzibar, wrote the book to give a voice to those who lived in that awful period. Audience members would learn that in spite of the horror Africans endured, many were involved in ensuring this trade continued for over a century. Those involved were the Arabs slavers, the Indian financiers, and the European missionaries and explorers who claimed to be pro African in their countries but were very racist on the continent. Even Africans who collaborated in the downfall of their own people weren’t spared in the discussions.

Kenyan readers can get the book from Nairobi-based Prestige Books who deliver wherever you might be around the country.

You can watch the sobering discussion in full in the video below.

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