Zulu was the featured language at the Afrolit Sans Frontières African Languages Edition on Friday, October 30, 2020.
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. There have been five editions running since it begun; Season 1 from March 23-30, Season 2 from April 20-27, Season 3 from May 25 – June 1, Season 4 from June 29-July 6, and Season 5 from July 27 to August 3.
A special season of the festival dubbed the “African Languages Edition,” curated by founder Zukiswa Wanner and Mukoma Wa Ngugi with support from the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia Johannesburg is here. The format is two sessions a day with an artist moderated by a host who also fields questions from audience members simultaneously on the Afrolit Sans Frontières Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter pages.
The festival which kicked off on October 26 has already featured the languages of Kiswahili, Ewe, Lingala, and Hausa. On Day Five, the language focus was Zulu, a language spoken in the Southern African countries of South Africa, Lesotho, and Eswatini. The host for the day was Nokuthula Mazibuko-Msimang.
The first panel featured Zanele Ndlovu, an oral storyteller, indigenous music instrument teacher, translator, author of two IsiZulu children’s books, Umakhweyana and Simunye, and also a publisher with the press, Izilimi Zase Afrika. Her books are available as audiobooks and her debut, Umakhweyana has been translated into five other South African languages: IsiXhosa, Sepedi, Sesotho, English, and Afrikaans, and also recently, German. Watch the first session in full in the video below which is in Zulu with English sprinkled in quite liberally.
The evening session had KwaZulu-Natal born Nakanjani G. Sibiya, a lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has authored several volumes of isiZulu short stories, novels, dramas, and co-authored or edited numerous anthologies of short stories and poetry. He has won awards for almost all his literary works, including the prestigious M-Net Book Prize for his debut novel, Kuxolelwa Abanjani? (2003). His debut collection of short stories in English, The Reluctant Storyteller was published this year. Watch the session in full below; it is done in a mix of isiZulu and English.
The program for the sixth day, today, Amharic Day hosted by Hallelujah Lulie is as follows;
12:00 pm/13:00 WAT/14:00 CAT/15:00 EAT: Yezina Worku Desta
18:00 pm/19:00 WAT/20:00 CAT/21:00 EAT: Girma T. Fantaye