Shadreck Chikoti wrapped up day six of Afrolit Sans Frontières on Instagram and Facebook from Lilongwe, Malawi on Saturday, March 28, 2020.
The Afrolit Sans Frontiers Virtual Literary Festival is an initiative from writers of African origin curated by Zukiswa Wanner. Sixteen writers from 10 African countries are sharing their work from 15 different cities in English, French, Lingala, and Portuguese to a global virtual audience online over eight days. Since the festival started on Monday, audiences have interacted with Richard Ali Mutu in Kinshasa, DR Congo, Leye Adenle in London, UK, Rémy Ngamije in Windhoek, Namibia, Hawa Jande Golakai in Monrovia, Liberia, Maaza Mengiste in Zurich, Switzerland, Mukoma Wa Ngugi in Ithaca, New York, USA, Nozizwe Cynthia Jele in Johannesburg, Yara Monteiro in Alentejo, Portugal and Bisi Adjapon in Accra, Ghana.
The first session for Saturday was by novelist Mohale Mashigo before the evening ended with Shadreck Chikoti streaming on both Facebook and Instagram. Chikoti is a Malawian award-winning writer and social activist who writes in both English and Chichewa with the novel Azotus The Kingdom (2015). He has also written several pieces that have featured in anthologies. He is the founder and director of the Feminart Arts and Book Festival that runs in his home town of Lilongwe, Malawi. He is also the director of Pan African Publishers and founder of The Story Club, which gathers writers, critics, and others to share and discuss literature by Malawian writers.
The writer streamed from his Lilongwe home on both Instagram and Facebook with his wife Yamikani playing the role of cameraperson and reader of stream comments. It was to be a shorter session than we have been used to due to issues with power in Malawi. This meant that the utility company was likely to cut off the writer’s broadcast at any time.
Shadreck read an excerpt that didn’t feature sex going against the festival theme; those online complained until he followed the rules and read from a racy part of the novel. Azotus The Kingdom, which discusses freedom, was conceived 10-15 years ago and written on two continents (Europe and Africa). In the book, people who live in Azotus never have to leave their homes; everything is provided by the administration led by the king. As we listened it became evident that this book was describing what could happen should there be a lockdown in a society for a few hundred years.
Shadreck fielded a few questions before he ended the session proving that power is an issue that we must all think about for our continent. You can watch the whole session on Facebook below;