Ewe was the featured language at the Afrolit Sans Frontières African Languages Edition on October 27, 2020.
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 is now here. The format is two sessions a day with an artist moderated by a host who also fields questions from audience members simultaneously on the Afrolit Sans Frontières Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter pages.
The first day, dubbed Kiswahili Day, focused on the most widely spoken language in the Eastern coast of Africa. The second day focused on Ewe, a language spoken in the West African nations of Benin, Ghana, and Togo. The day was conducted by the engaging Kofi Akpabli who shared his and his guests love of the Ewe language with the audience.
The first panel of the day featured Benedicta Esi Anibri 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 written the books Lãwo f̳e gbe (2003) and Mama Adidi Gbadebu Fe Adzo Adewo (2019) in the Ewe language.
For one hour, Ms Anibri taught those watching in word and song about her preferred writing language while also reading from her own work. She shared the intricacies of Ewe language society reciting community proverbs, which are very important for them, and lots more. Watch the discussion below; please note that Ewe is the principal language spoken. The session moderator was kind enough to do a bit of translating which will come in handy for English speakers.
The evening session had Justin Ekor, the headmaster of Archbishop Amissah Catholic School in Cape Coast, and a part-time tutor at the OLA College of Education Cape Coast. He has published fifteen books, 12 in English 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).
The Ewe enthusiast and evangelist showed just how musical his mother tongue is for the next hour or so. The readings for the evening were done by Dr Mrs Lina Aziaku, a lecturer in the Ghanaian city. For the next hour, there was laughter, singing, and even percussion playing that showed that perhaps people from Ewe should be in consideration in any discussion about the happiest African peoples. Watch that session in the below video; like in the previous video, Ewe is the key language with English translations coming in once in a while.
The program for the third day, today, Lingala Day hosted by Eric Ntumba is as follows;
12:00 pm/13:00 WAT/14:00 CAT/15:00 EAT: Stéphanie Boale
18:00 pm/19:00 WAT/20:00 CAT/21:00 EAT: Richard Ali Mutu