Panashe Chigumadzi. Photo/@CarlOdera

An evening with Panashe Chigumadzi in Nairobi.

Nairobi residents engaged Zimbabwean-South African novelist and essayist Panashe Chigumadzi at the Columbia Global Centre on Monday, August 19, 2019. The evening was conducted by Nanjala Nyabola.

Panashe Chigumadzi is the writer of Sweet Medicine about Tsitsi who has to survive in the harsh world of mid-noughties Harare, Zimbabwe. The novel, that we really rated, went on to win the K Sello Duiker Prize in 2016. She followed up the novel with the nonfiction book These Bones Will Rise Again with United Kingdom-based publisher Indigo Press. Her work has also featured in The New York Times (USA), The Washington Post (USA), Transition (USA), The Guardian (UK), City Press (SA), The Sunday Times (SA) and Die Ziet (Germany).

In April, Chigumadzi penned the essay Why I’m No Longer Talking To Nigerians About Race where she discusses race with Nigeria at its core. The essay might have had a provocative title, but it delved into the nuances of race across Africa that need to be discussed by all of us who live either in the continent or in the diaspora. It was received with both measured debate as well as with vociferous attacks depending on who was giving their opinion.

Nairobi got to meet the Zimbabwean/South African this past Monday at the Columbia Global Centre. It started with Kali Media founder Paula Rogo, who had organised the evening that we were all to enjoy, welcoming those who had come out on a Monday evening.

Nanjala Nyabola then led a moderated discussion around topics like reactions on her most recent essay, feminism, erasure of women of the past and the dangers they go through today, nationalism, race and more. It was an hour or so listening to this excellent speaker who kept the large crowd engrossed. She also read from her book These Bones Will Rise Again.

After the moderated discussion, Nanjala opened the floor to questions from the audience who asked a variety from the fantastical to the well thought out. You can watch the whole evening’s discussions recorded on my trusty cellphone below.

After the discussions, the author and moderator both signed books from fans. At the event, there was a specially printed edition of Why I’m No Longer Talking To Nigerians About Race which was sold by event distributor Prestige Books.

The image in this blog is supplied by the excellent @CarlOdera.

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