German colonial history remains little explored in fiction. Since the 1880s, Kaiser Wilhelm II, grandson of Queen Victoria, had the ambition to secure what was then termed Germany’s ‘Platz and der Sonne’, its place in the sun, Von Bülow’s infamous phrase in praise of Germany’s expansionist colonial policies. In popular historical discourse of German colonialism, attention tends to focus more on Deutsch-Südwestafrika…
By AiW Guest: Judyannet Muchiri.
Judyannet Muchiri: This is a heavy story and yet there are moments of stillness, joy, love, and tenderness, if you will. I wonder how it is for you as a writer to capture this human existence in its totality as you have done in Afterlives.
Abdulrazak Gurnah: My interest was not to write about the war or the ugliness of colonialism. Instead I want to make sure the context in which war and colonialism happened is understood. And that the people in that context were people with entire existences. I want to show how people who are wounded by the war and by life itself cope in these circumstances. Using the unexpected kindnesses in the story, I wanted to show that there is potential for kindness in people and sometimes circumstances can draw such kindness from us.
In the wake of a bad dream, one of the protagonists in Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Afterlives, Hamza, laments: “such noise and screams and blood”. These words keep resounding when one thinks about the disruption caused by colonialism in Africa – how our grandparents and ancestors must have felt with the arrival of those who set themselves up as colonial masters.
AiW Guest: Tọ́pẹ́-ẸniỌbańkẹ́ Adégòkè. Iquo DianaAbasi’s debut collection of short stories, Efo Riro (Parresia 2020), puts meat on the bones of the observation that the sense of taste is somehow wired to things that we find delightful or repulsive. Consider psychiatry where… Read More ›
AiW Guest: Tọ́pẹ́-ẸniỌbańkẹ́ Adégòkè. AiW note: Femi Kayode grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. He studied Clinical Psychology at the University of Ibadan and has worked in advertising over the last two decades. He was a Packard Fellow in Film and… Read More ›
The written word envelops online as South African, African and International writers meet for a thought-provoking week of literary dialogue, exchanging ideas, and stimulating discussions. Time of the Writer features a diverse gathering of leading novelists, social commentators, activists, playwrights, short… Read More ›
AiW Guests: Lottie McGrath, Charlie Renwick, Eloise Percy-Davis and Tilly Everard. Nii Ayikwei Parkes is an acclaimed British-Ghanaian poet, writer, and publisher. Winner of multiple international awards, Parkes’ work ranges from the reinvention of accounts of slavery with sci-fi undertones… Read More ›
AiW Guests: Trang Vu, Hannah Judge & Naomi Osborne. Ayesha Harruna Attah is a Senegal-based Ghanaian writer. She is the author of Harmattan Rain, Saturday’s Shadows and The Hundred Wells of Salaga and has recently published a young adult novel,… Read More ›
We are pleased to share the news from Modjaji Books that a new edition (the fifth) of the African Small Publishers’ Catalogue is in production and will be available in July 2021. There’s still time and space to list in… Read More ›
AiW note: Last year, Africa in Words published a fascinating Words on the Times feature with the South African artist and poet, Dolla Sapeta. During his responses Dolla spoke of his vision of “bringing to life an art school in… Read More ›
As we move through the changed circumstances, timelines and spaces of now, we catch up on our monthly round-up of ‘other words’ – news on AiW’s radar, collated from across our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Festivals, Fairs, Salons | Readings – Books, Journals &… Read More ›