Niq Mhlongo was the first guest at the last day of Season 4 of Afrolit Sans Frontières Season 4 from Cologne, Germany on July 6, 2020. He was hosted by Zukiswa Wanner.
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. The festival format is two sessions a day on Instagram Live with an artist moderated by a host who also fields questions from audience members. There have been three editions so far; Season 1 from March 23-30, Season 2 from April 20-27, and Season 3 from May 25 – June 1.
Season 4, which started on June 29, has so far seen Ngwatilo Mawiyoo in Nairobi, Kenya, Hannibal Tabu in Los Angeles, USA, Lamelle Shaw in Johannesburg, South Africa, Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún in Lagos, Nigeria, Irenosen Okojie in London, UK, Koleka Putuma in Cape Town, South Africa, Natalia Molebatsi in Johannesburg, South Africa, Iquo DianaAbasi in Lagos, Nigeria, Mélio Tinga in Maputo, Mozambique, Raoul Djimeli in Yaounde, Cameroon, Lu Ain-Zaila in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Mel Matsinhe in Maputo, Mozambique, Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe in Lille, France, and Suzanne Dracius in Fort-de-France, Martinique.
The second last guest of Season 4 was Soweto-born writer, editor, and travel journalist Niq Mhlongo. Niq has written three novels – Dog Eat Dog (2004), After Tears (2007) and Way Back Home (2013) – and two collections of short stories, Affluenza (2016), and Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree (2018). In 2019, he edited a bestselling collection of essays called Black Tax: Burden or Ubuntu. His novel Dog Eat Dog won the Spanish Literary Award Mar Der Letras Intenecionale in 2006. His collection of short stories, Soweto Under The Apricot Tree won the Herman Charles Bosman Literary Prize For English Fiction and the Nadine Gordimer Short-Story Award in 2019. His fourth novel Paradise in Gaza will be published in October this year by Kwela Books.
The first try at the session with Niq and his host Zukiswa Wanner had to be moved because of technical hitches. The new session kicked off at a later hour with the two writers, who clearly know each other intimately, engaging with contributions from the Instagram audience. We learnt why book clubs with women were a bigger market for booksellers than those with men, how he got hugely prolific after his third novel Way Back Home, and his transition from writer to anthology editor. He also revealed that Joburg Noir, part of the Akashic series, would be coming soon with writers like Nthikeng Mohlele, Keletso Mopai, and Siphiwo Mahala giving contributions.
You can watch the discussions between the two South Africans in the below video.