Event: The First Swahili Literary Festival (Kenya, 01-03 March 2019)


The First Swahili Literary Festival

Theme: ‘Celebrating Achievement’

Swahilipot Hub, Mombasa County, Kenya

March 1st – 3rd 2019

Save the date!

For a long time, Swahili Cultural Heritage has been preserved and promoted through collaborative efforts between different art and literary forms, most working, not to supplant but to complement each other. The best case scenario was the fruitful collaboration between the poetry of Ahmed Nassir and music of his kin, the late Professor Juma Bhalo, the former providing verse which the latter fused with beats, transforming and giving it a musical dimension in form of addictive Ta’arab music.

It then reached a point where the musician, perhaps not deliberately, preempted him/herself from the poet/writer, creating a form of chasm which ultimately led to the prominence of music and the detriment of the written word. Swahili verse, nonetheless, still fared better than prose.

The Swahili Literary Festival, a first of its kind, is an attempt at consolidating the cadency achieved through the fusion of verse, prose and music to engage, on one side the artist/writer as the content creator and on the other the Swahili community as the consumer guarded by its thinkers and cultural gatekeepers. In the Swahili context, the intercourse between culture and literature is paramount, for there’s no one (culture) without the other (literature) and both must work together for the engagement and transformation of the ‘Swahili Nation’.

Swahili Lit Fest

Image courtesy of Swahili Lit Fest. Press release.

Aspects of the festival (please note: discussions will be carried out in English and Kiswahili)

  • Panel discussions on the past, present and future of literature from the Swahili coast.
  • Rereading classical Swahili works in a contemporary setting
  • Celebrating achievement (the theme of the festival) by honoring scholars, thinkers, artists and individuals who have actively promoted and preserved Swahili cultural heritage through different forms and contribution to society.
  • Discourse between poets and musicians, extracting poetry in the music in a manner that would demystify poetry especially on the high school level and ease its consumption and comprehension.
  • Creative writing workshops for high school students who participate in the writing competition and using the opportunity to select reading ambassadors for the post-festival ‘Soma Sana Initiative’ to be launched in schools.
  • Awarding the winners of the creative writing completion from the school and mainstream categories.

More details will be shared soon with a list of guest speakers and topics of discussion.

For more information, please contact Abu on: +254 710 331 868/ 777 335 550 or via email: abu@hekaya.co.ke

Categories: Announcements, News, & Upcoming

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