Literary Crossroads is a new series of talks hosted at the Goethe in three African cities where writers meet colleagues from all over the world and from the African diaspora. At these events in Nairobi, Johannesburg and Lagos they discuss trends, topics and themes prevalent in their literatures today.
The first of the events in 2016 happened in Johannesburg earlier in the March with Zukiswa Wanner and Panashe Chigumadzi moderated by Ndumiso Ngcobo. That evening was described as a success with many Joburg residents showing up to follow the action.
Last night, it was the turn for Nairobi for the innovation series to happen and the featured authors were Ifeoma Akabogu-Chinwuba and Prof Elizabeth Orchardson-Mazrui. The conversation was moderated by the Kenyan poet and journalist, Khainga O’Okwemba.
Ifeoma Akabogu-Chinwuba by day is a Nigerian diplomat with her current positing being as ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire. She is also a writer with titles like novels Merchants of Flesh, Waiting for Maria, Fearless and an anthology of poetry entitled African Romance.
Prof Elizabeth Orchardson-Mazrui is a professor at Kenyatta University as well as a fine artist. She has written many publications like Seasons of the Jacarandas, Nzinga, The Warrior Queen and The Adventures of Mekatilili.
The evening begun with an introduction by the Goethe Institut’s Eliphas Nyamogo before the evening’s festivities begun. The panelists spoke about their work with the moderator and I have to say as these women spoke I was impressed with what seemed to be a really grasp understanding of the book craft.The Ambassador spoke about her process to write Merchants Of Flesh her book about human trafficking while the professor spoke about several of her books with The Adventures of Mekatilili featuring prominently.
The evening included speeches from Prof Chris Wanjala, Matunda Nyanchama, Muthoni Likimani and a performance of poetry by Tony Mochama and song by a poet and teacher from Kisumu.
There was a decent turnout for this event in a gridlocked Nairobi city.
Here are some images and videos from the event taken with my trusty cellphone.