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 note: In 2016, writer, editor, academic, and publisher Kadija Sesay developed the ‘Modern Pan-Africanist’s Journey’ app as part of the Research and Development funding (UK) that she received from Arts Council England, for her second poetry book of the… Read More ›
Ahead of our forthcoming review of Anxious Joburg: The Inner Lives of a Global South City (Wits UP, 2020), we are publishing here an accompanying Q&A. Answering the questions is Nicky Falkof, co-editor (with Cobus van Staden) of the book. Asking… Read More ›
“The untapped knowledge on his doorstep in southern Africa was a continual source for honing his skills, and no amount of online reading and searching could replace face-to-face experiences with the people out in the dry Kalahari or the slippery… Read More ›
We are delighted to share that there will be a special issue of English Studies in Africa in 2022 on ‘A Century of Modernism in African Literature and Literary Culture’. The deadline to submit papers for consideration is 01 June 2021…. Read More ›
African Connections Panel Debate / Film Screening / Poetry Workshop Bristol The 2015 Being Human – Festival of the Humanities has events happening all over the UK from 12 – 22 November and includes three events on “African Connections”.
Date TBC May 2016 University of Sheffield, Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS) ‘The Battle of Algiers at 50: Legacies in Film and Literature’ is a one-day symposium organised by postgraduate students from the University of Leeds and Sheffield… Read More ›