Makena OnjerikMakena Onjerika, Sitawa Namwalie, Aleya Kassam, Anne Moraaa, Sitawa Namwalie, Aleya Kassam, Anne Moraa

The Bodies Anthology, the tenth from the Nairobi-based Pan African collective Jalada Africa, launched at the Kioko Mwitiki Gallery, Nairobi on Friday, December 13, 2019.

Pan African writers’ collective and publisher Jalada was born in 2014 when writers from across the continent converged for a literary do in Nairobi. Since then the collective has gone on to publish many critically acclaimed anthologies both as a collective and in conjunction with other organisations. Some of these include AFTER+LIFE, Sketch of a Bald Woman In The Semi-Nude And Other Stories (our review), Sext Me Poems and Stories (our review), My Maths Teacher Hates Me and other Stories, Afrofuture (2), and The Language Issue.

Nairobi residents got to listen to a sample of writing from the latest anthology at the official launch event at the Kioko Mwitiki Gallery this past Friday. The launch was done in conjunction with the opening of a new exhibition of the same name at the gallery. The evening also tripled as a recording of the Jalada Podcast which will be making its debut in January 2020.

Proceedings started with Aleya Kassam moderating a panel of Marziya Mohammedali and Za’adi Onsando. Marziya Mohammedali has supplied all the artwork that has been used by Jalada since it started while Za’adi Onsando curated the exhibition that all were enjoying on the day. Their discussion was about the way the art was curated, what those who came for it would expect, how the theme of “bodies” affected the two and more. You can watch part of the discussions at the gallery below.

After this session, audience members also got to hear the artists who had presented the work they could see. Below are Nyokabi Kimari, Nwaobiala, and Bakhita talking about their work;



After the art section of the evening, there was a short break before the literary section begun. On stage for the second session were Makena Onjerika and Sitawa Namwalie with Aleya Kassam continuing with moderation. Onjerika read from her short story Vashti Refused To Dance while Namwalie read and performed her poem A Woman’s Body Parts. The two were then led into an hour or so of chatting about their work, how their work ended up in this themed anthology, the writing profession and lots more. You can watch the two talking about their work below.

The Bodies Anthology is now available at the Jalada Africa website here.