“Chimurenga” is a word in the Shona language meaning “revolutionary struggle.” It refers to the uprisings by the Ndebele and Shona against the administration by the British South Africa Company duringthelate1890s. In contemporary times it is a publication of arts, culture and politics from and about Africa and its diasporas. You can read more about the publication at its official Wiki page here.
Many Kenyans will remember the Chimurenga as one of the spaces that Binyavanga Wainaina wrote his world famous Iamahomosexualmum piece. That piece was actually in the ChimurengaChronic describing itself as “a quarterly pan African gazette” that can be gotten physically as well as in thedigital. In the physical form it is a broad sheet newspaper with a host of issues covered within with the interest being in African and black issues you can pick up at your local newstand.
The issue I was looking through was the current one discussing new movements with the headlines articles being “EFF: Fighting or Fronting” by Kwanele Sosibo which is really appropriate seeing as an election was looming in South Africa. Also in there were several interviews with folks from around the continent like Boniface Mwangi our favourite protesterturnedradiobigwig. We can’t also forget the discussion on power and persuasion with a look at election posters in Uganda with Yoweri Museveni and Bwesigye showing their commando side which I found hilarious.
This was quite a substantial read so you can imagine that it took a while to read and digest; I love this as the world is currently in a wave of simplifying everything in the reading market for the least brightest human being. While I love the “not geniuses” (being a card carrying member and all) sometimes it is nice to read what the really bright ones are saying about issues that matter or should matter to the rest of us.
For the book lover they have a special “pull out” they call Chronic Books and here they give you interviews of respected folks in the business like novelist Ama Ata Aidoo, playwright Guy Regis Junior, The Desert Shore editor Christopher Wise, Ibrahim Sheme who recently completed a Hausa translation of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and several others.
The best part of that Chronic Books was the reviews of books that are out there in the African market. Here you will see people giving opinions on the books that you keep hearing about in the news winning awards and can’t access in Bookpoint or Bookstop just yet. In this edition there were reviews of Ghana Must Go by Taye Selasi (the reviewer N Bassey really hated that book), Penumbra by Songeziwe Mahlangu (a more positive review by Bongani Kona) and Katoondozi Y’Orunyankore by Yoweri Museveni (yes him M7) and others (Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire didn’t love it very much). For someone who wants to see what’s happening in the literature business in Africa right now then this pull out gives a decent snapshot.
I’m not sure when the next one is out. However if you want to get a copy of this read in Nairobi I suggest you contact MichaelOnsando who is distributing them for Chimurenga locally.