Ngwatilo Mawiyoo was the first guest at Season 4 of Afrolit Sans Frontières streaming live on Instagram from Nairobi on June 29, 2020. She was hosted by Zukiswa Wanner.
Afrolit Sans Frontières, a virtual literary festival for writers of African origin, started as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic international lockdown. Season 1, curated by founder Zukiswa Wanner ran from March 23-30 while Season 2 co-curated by the founder and Maaza Mengiste ran from April 20-27, 2020. Season 3 which ran from May 25 – June 1 was co-curated by Mohale Mashigo and Zukiswa Wanner.
The first day of Season 4 of the festival started with Kenyan poet and filmmaker Ngwatilo Mawiyoo streaming on Instagram from Nairobi, Kenya. Mawiyoo is a poet, filmmaker, and performer who has written the two chapbooks, Blue Mothertongue and Dagoretti Corner. She has been shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize twice. Her poems have appeared in Transition, Poetry is Dead, Johannesburg Review of Books, Obsidian, among others, and are forthcoming in Wasafiri and Pigeonholes.
The Kenyan started by reading one of her poems before the discussion started with questions from her host as well as from the audience. For the next hour, the poet dazzled audience members who were both enthused by her and happy for the return of the Afrolit Sans Frontières series. On the menu were topics like the importance of awards for poetry, the struggle to get published especially in Kenya, and the need for emotion for a poet to effectively do their work.
Ngwatilo, who is a newly minted filmmaker, also introduced the audience to her forthcoming film Joy’s Garden.
You can watch the session below in its entirety