The writers taking part in the African Languages Edition of Afrolit Sans Frontières which runs from October 26 – November 2, 2020, have been revealed.
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. This particular special edition will, however, take place simultaneously on the Afrolit Sans Frontieres Facebook page, on YouTube and on Twitter via the handle AfrolitSansFro1. There have already been five editions running every month since they 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.
African Languages Edition
The writers taking part in the African Languages Edition, curated by founder Zukiswa Wanner and Mukoma Wa Ngugi with support from the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia Johannesburg have been announced. They are Richard Ali Mutu, Dotto Rangimoto, Anna Samwel, Prof Arinpe Adejumo, Zanele Ndlovu, Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino, Nakanjani G. Sibiya, Rahma Sherif Abdul Majid, Girma T. Fantaye, Aaron Chiundura Moyo, Marcilyn Mugariri, Stéphanie Boale, Justin Ekor, Bámijí Òjó, Benedicta Esi Anibri, and Yezina Worku Desta.
Below are their bios.
Richard Ali Mutu
Richard Ali A Mutu was born in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1988. He won the Mark Twain Award in 2009, and published his first novel, “Tabu s Nightmares,” written in French, in 2011. His novel Mr. Fix It: Troublesome Kinshasa was published in Lingala in 2014, and has since been translated into French as well. Ali was selected as one of the only writers working in indigenous languages for the Africa 39 anthology, which showcased the continent’s most talented writers under forty, including Ondjaki and Zukiswa Wanner. He works as a lawyer and writer, and hosts a weekly television program about Congolese literature.
Stéphanie Boale is an author of novels and poetry. She was born in Mbandaka in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After high school in Mbandaka, she did journalism at the ISTI / IFASIC Institute of Information Science and Technology in Kinshasa. Later, she will work at Agence France Press (AFP) in Kinshasa, then at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), at the Department of Information and Communication in Bangui in the Central African Republic.
Stéphanie Boale’s books are for everyone. Everyone finds themes that speak to them and words that are familiar to them. Because she writes in French and Lingala in order to offer readers the opportunity to enjoy literature even in the vernacular.
She is nicknamed “energetic” woman of letters for her commitment to promoting literature to young people. She is the founder of BUKU, a cultural space that promotes literature among young people. It is a structure that encourages young people to read and write, promotes literature for young people and by young people, allows young people to become actors in this world through ideas and words, builds literary bridges between young people from the DRC and elsewhere.
In the DRC, precisely in Mbandaka, the capital of Equateur province, she has opened a reference library that welcomes students, pupils, and teachers.
She resides in Brussels but returns regularly to Congo.
Dotto Rangimoto, one of the upcoming Kiswahili poets, was born in Morogoro, Tanzania. He won The Mabati-Cornell Prize For The African Literature 2017 and The Mayor Of Dar es salaam Poetry Prize 2016.
Anna Samwel Manyanza writes novels in her mother tongue, Ki-Swahili. Her debut novel, Penzi la Damu won the Mabati Cornell Prize for African Languages in 2015.
She also writes children’s books in English, Kiswahili and German. Little Black Cappy is her debut children’s story and it has been translated into three more languages (Kiswahili, German and French.)
Currently, she’s working on her second novel in Swahili, Mkufu wa Kijakazi (The Maiden’s Necklace).
She studied politics, English Studies, and Media Science at the Leibniz Universität Hannover.
Prof Arinpe Adejumo
Prof Arinpe Adejumo, playwright, poet, and critic is Professor and immediate past Head of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She is the author of the play, Afàgo Kéyin Àparò, and Ròóre, a collection of poems. Professor Adejumo is the author of the first book-length study of dramatic satire in Yoruba language, Ìṣẹ̀fẹ̀ Nínú Àwọn Eré Onítàn Yorùbá (2001). In addition, she co-edited Ọ̀tun Ìmọ̀ Nínú Ìtàn Àròsọ D. O. Fagunwa (2016), a volume of essays to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of D. O. Fagunwa’s passing. Her current research focuses on the Tropes of Patriotism, Citizenship, Leadership, Governance, and Development in Yoruba Literature. She is a member of the Nigerian Academy of Letters.
Bámijí Òjó was born on October 20, 1940, in the town of Ìlọràá, in the local government area of Afijió in Oyo State of Nigeria. He is a Yorùbá writer and broadcaster of note with at least two novels and a number of other books on Yorùbá culture to his name. His first novel, Mẹ́numọ́, was published in 1989, followed by a sequel Ọba Adìkúta in 1995. He is also a broadcaster of note, with years of experience in the Yorùbá language broadcasting at the Broadcasting Corporation of Ọ̀yọ́ State (BCOS). He lives in Ìbàdàn, Nigeria.
Zanele Ndlovu is an oral storyteller, indigenous music instrument teacher, translator, author of two IsiZulu children’s books, Umakhweyana and Simunye, and also a publisher with the press, Izilimi Zase Afrika. Her books are available as audiobooks and her debut, Umakhweyana has been translated into five other South African languages: IsiXhosa, Sepedi, Sesotho, English, and Afrikaans, and also recently, German.
Nakanjani G. Sibiya
Nakanjani G. Sibiya was born at Gcotsheni, in the Eshowe district, KwaZulu-Natal. He has authored several volumes of isiZulu short stories, novels, dramas, and co-authored or edited numerous anthologies of short stories and poetry. He has won awards for almost all his literary works, including the prestigious M-Net Book Prize for his debut novel, “Kuxolelwa Abanjani?” (2003). His debut collection of short stories in English, “The Reluctant Storyteller” was published this year.
Sibiya holds a Ph.D. in isiZulu and is a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino
Ado Ahmad Gidan Dabino, is a quintessential man of letters, a Hausa novelist, playwright, poet, biographer, publisher, journalist, actor, film producer, director, and a cultural activist.
Over a career spanning thirty years, he has written in all the genres to great acclaim. So far, he produced/directing eighteen Films from 1994 to date including, “Sandar Kiwo”, on Human Rights in Islamic Shariah in Northern Nigeria, which was jointly supported by the British Council, DFID, and SJG. The film has been shown at SOAS University, London, Hamburg University Germany, Warsaw University Poland, and New Delhi India.
He has over fifteen Hausa novels published; among which, three were translated into English. The Soul of My Heart (In Da So Da Kauna-translation), Young Women Substance Abuse and the Way Out (Translation of Mata Da Shaye-shayen Kayan Maye: Ina Mafita?), Nemesis (Masoyan Zamani-translation), and Kaico!
He has also written on the Sarkin Ban Kano with Sani Yusuf Ayagi and From Oral Literature to Video, the Case of Hausa, presented along with Professor Abdallah Uba Adamu, in Hamburg, Germany. An award-winning writer who won the 1st prize position, 2009 Engineer Mohammed Bashir Karaye Prize in Hausa Literature (Play Category).
He’s one of the pioneering organizers of Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, Kano in 1992 and headed it for three years and the Kano State Filmmakers Association, which he presently heads on an Acting capacity. He also heads the Raina Kama Writers Association.
Rahma Sherif Abdul Majid
Rahma Sherif Abdul Majid was born in 1980 in Agege, Lagos State, Nigeria, to an Arab father and Hausa Fulani mother. She began her Qur’anic studies in her father’s compound and enrolled in conventional primary school at the age of nine. She earned her diploma in Shari’a law in 2001. She proceeded to the famous Al-Azhar University in Cairo for her undergraduate degree studies where she obtained a BA (Honors) degree in history and world studies. She began writing in 1996 and has published over twenty books. She is involved with many NGO and sensitization groups and is currently the president of Mace Mutum, an umbrella body of Hausa women writers in Nigeria.
Yezina Worku Desta
Yezina Worku Desta is a graduate at A.A. University with a Master of Arts Degree in Ethiopian Literature and Folklore as well as a BA Degree in management. She has worked at different organizations from an expert position to director of the International and public relations department.
The manager at the Ethiopian writers Association has written children’s books, novels, Ethiopian tax history, short stories, poems, and the life of people who live with Leprosy. The first female modern short story writer in Ethiopia writes in Amharic.
She has served at the Ziema Bier Ethiopian Women Writers Association at president level and as chairman of the Ethiopian Writers Association general assembly.
Girma T. Fantaye
Girma T. Fantaye is an Ethiopian writer and former print journalist. He has published collections of poetry and novel in his Native language Amharic. His short story Of the poet and The Cafe is published in the Addis Ababa Noir anthology. His new novel Yenigat wof Zema (loosely translated as The Rythmes of an Early Bird) will be out this year.
He lives in Addis Abeba
Aaron Chiundura Moyo
Legendary author Aaron Chiundura Moyo, is credited with creating Zimbabwe’s first-ever television soap Studio 263 which aired for more than 5years on ZBCtv. He also created the first evolving-epic series in Zimbabwe TIRIPARWENDO which aired for 10 years on ZBCtv. He is also credited of being the first creative to work with the first lady of Zimbabwe on the film project titled Rujeko that aired on ZBCtv more than six times.
His published works include Uchandifungawo, Wakandicheka Nerakagomara, Nguo Dzehuswa, Yaive Hondo, Chenga Ose, Ziva Kwawakabva, Wandibaya Panyama Nhete, Ndabve Zera, Matekenya Pfungwa, Kuridza Ngoma Nedemo, Chinaku Chinobva Muzevezeve, Kereke Inofa, The Other Side Of the River, Chabvondoka, Nhamo Ine Nharo, Ndaponda Gandanga, and Pane Nyaya.
Marcilyn Mugariri, who is a Shona enthusiast, is a graduate of the University of Zimbabwe attaining a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in African Languages in 2008. She also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the Zimbabwe Open University. She currently works as a teacher at Nzvimbo High School in Chiweshe, in the Mashonaland Central province.
Her first novel, Manyambiri, a Shona old-world fiction book, was prescribed by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education as a set book for Ordinary Level Shona Literature from 2017-2021. Her second book Shasha Dzekurera, was nominated by the National Arts Merit Awards in 2020. Her third novel is an English romantic fiction, titled A Love Boundless.
She also wrote a Shona series, from form 1-4, under the updated Curriculum. The form 1 book was accepted by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for use in Zimbabwean secondary schools. The rest of the series is still undergoing the publishing process.
Justin Ekor was born on 24th May 1966 at Avatime Dzogbefeme in the Volta Region of Ghana. He attended Avatime Secondary School and Amedzofe E.P Training College. He holds a B.Ed. (Hons) and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He is the current headmaster of Archbishop Amissah Catholic School in Cape Coast and a part-time tutor at the OLA College of Education Cape Coast.
He is the founder of Academic Partners Movement (APM) and co-founder of Lapin Ekor School Enrichment Programme (LESEP). He is also a facilitator of Poised for Success Project.
He is a prolific writer with high sense of humour. He enjoys weaving his stories around the culture of his people. Conspicuous in his novels are love and death shrouded in tradition.
He has published fifteen books to his credit. 12 in English Language and 3 in Ewe. His Ewe books are Ewegbe Nuti M) (2008). Nunyax) Me Nutinyawo (2013) and Ewe Nyaduwo Na Sukuwo kple K)ledziwo (2015).
He is currently working on three Ewe books to be published soon.
Benedicta Esi Anibri
Benedicta Esi Anibri is an Accra, Ghana-based award-winning writer, editor, and translator. The Deputy Director in charge of Material Development at the Bureau of Ghana Languages has translated numerous titles from English to Ewe. She has also edited many publications and translations in the Ewe language.
Anibri has written the two books Lãwo f̳e gbe (2003) and Mama Adidi Gbadebu Fe Adzo Adewo (2019) in the Ewe language. The latter book earned her second place in the Ewe language category at the Ghana Association of Writers Literary Awards in 2019. She has four other titles that are set to be published in the same language.