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. There have been five editions running since it begun; Season 1 from March 23-30, Season 2 from April 20-27, Season 3 from May 25 – June 1, Season 4 from June 29-July 6, and Season 5 from July 27 to August 3.
A special season of the festival dubbed the “African Languages Edition,” curated by founder Zukiswa Wanner and Mukoma Wa Ngugi with support from the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia Johannesburg ran from October 26 – November 2. The format was two sessions a day with a writer moderated by a host who also fielded questions from audience members simultaneously on the Afrolit Sans Frontières Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter pages.
The festival output was sixteen sessions featuring many of the leading writers working in the most widely spoken languages across the continent. The first day was curated by Mukoma Wa Ngugi for the Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize that had a multi-lingual session including an ode to Chinua Achebe composed by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o in Kikuyu and read by translators in English (Mukoma Wa Ngugi), Kikamba (Moses Kilolo), isiZulu (Sihle Ntuli), Lingala (Richard Ali Mutu), Hausa (Mazhun Idris), and Ewe (Kofi Akpabli). The two sessions featured Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize winners Dotto Rangimoto and Mohammed Ghassani in conversation as well as Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize winner Anna Samuel in conversation with Moses Kilolo.
The other days followed in the Afrolit Sans Frontières tradition of two sessions per day hosted by one person. To check out each of the days, please click on the links below.
Amharic Day hosted by Hallelujah Lulie featuring Yezina Worku Desta and Girma T. Fantaye