Festivals Mayotte

A snapshot of the Salon Du Livre De Mayotte 2019.

The Salon Du Livre De Mayotte 2019, the book fair of the French department of Mayotte, happened in Mamoudzou, Mayotte from October 17-20, 2019.


Mayotte is located in the northern Mozambique Channel in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Southeast Africa, between northwestern Madagascar and northeastern Mozambique. A local told this blogger that the name “Mayotte” came about as many Arab ships, in the past, crashed on its long coral reef leading to the title the “island of mawt” which is Arabic for the island of death. Mawt is Mayotte in the local ShiMaore language; Kiswahili speakers will be familiar with this as the word for death in that language is “maiti.”

The island hosted the second edition of Salon Du Livre De Mayotte, a literary festival that first run in 2017. It hosted delegates from countries across the Indian Ocean area including Mozambique, Maurice, Tanzania, Reunion, Madagascar, Comoros, and some other countries like Cameroun, and Kenya.

Here is a snapshot of the festival. It was run principally in French, a language this blogger does not speak (yet), and thus the reporting may not be as insightful as that done at some other festivals due to a language deficiency.

Opening ceremony

The festival kicked off on October 17 with speeches from among others Soibahadine Ibrahim Ramadani the President of the Mayotte Department, Bourhane Allaoui the President of D’AILE, and Alain Kamal Martial Henry the Director of the Directorate of Books and Public Reading. There was also some entertainment from among others poet and writer Nassur Attoumani, and a singing troop.


Panels and keynote

Literary festivals have to have panels and this was no different. There were two panels and one keynote over the three-day festival starting with “Edition & diffusion des auteurs d’Afrique et du Canal de Mozambique” which Google translates to “Edition & diffusion of authors from Africa and the Mozambique Channel.” That event had Lily Nyariki, Wangui Goro, Johary Ravaloson, and Andinani Said Ali. They discussed how writing and distributing of books is conducted in the Mozambique Channel.

The other panel was “Librairies & Editeurs sur le Marche u livre dans le canal du Mozambique” which my Google translates to “Bookstores & Publishers on the March u book in the Mozambique Channel.” That panel featured Michèle Rakotoson, Lily Nyariki, Pauline Chiziane, Albert Mwaipyana, and Corine Fleury.

There was also the keynote address given by Dr Alain Kamal Martial Henry entitled “Introduction a Une Problematique d’une ‘litterature du Canal de Mozambique’” which my Google translates to “Introduction to a Problematic of a ‘Literature of the Mozambique Channel.’” The keynote focused on the challenges of the literary industry in the Mozambican Channel.

You can check out more videos from the festival on our YouTube Channel here.


Literary festivals and performances go together like tequila and salt and lemon and this festival didn’t disappoint in this. Throughout the festival from the opening ceremony all the way to the end, audiences were enchanted with song, dance, storytelling, and poetry from the local population as well as from the delegates who had flown in for the festivities.


One of the best evenings was on Friday, October 18, when festival delegates went for dinner and were entertained by the Utende band and Nassur Attoumani as well as readings and storytelling from among others Pauline Chiziane, Yianna Amodine, and Adjmael Halidi.


Another highlight was the performance on Saturday, October 19 of the play “Espaciologie Du Drame De Dzaoudzi” directed by Alain Kamal Martial Henry which was principally in French. Those who speak the language can enjoy a section of the play below.


You can check out more videos from the festival on our YouTube Channel here.


There were stands on the pier on Mamoudzou where publishers, booksellers, and others could showcase their wares for sale to the public. Here are some images from some of the stands at the festival.


You can check out more videos from the festival on our YouTube Channel here.

By James Murua

This blog is run by James Murua a Nairobi, Kenya based lover of books.

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