A Wrap UP on Macondo Literary Festival and What it Taught Us.

By Mariga Thoithi


Macondo Literary Festival is a festival that for the first time brought together African writers from Anglophone Africa, Lusophone Africa and Brazil for discussions, debates, readings and performances around African history!



"What literatures are coming out of Lusophone Africa? What stories are important or have privilege?"—A panel by Aleya Kassam, Jessemusse Cacinda, Jethro Soutar and Yovanka Perdigao.

Above Photo: Armstrong Too/Macondo Literary Festival




Photo: Mariga Thoithi


Attendees enjoying ‘My Grand mother’s Miniskirt’ exhibition. The project, through online crowdsourcing, collected pictures of people’s mothers and grandmothers wearing miniskirts, short dresses to form a discussion on body integrity and why dressing isn’t an excuse for sexual harassment




Photo: Armstrong Too/Macondo Literary Festival


This unidentified young man came to browse through Sitawa Namwalie's 'My Grandmother's Miniskirt', and ended up discovering among the pictures, an image of his great-aunt.




Photo: Armstrong Too/Macondo Literary Festival


"The madwoman of Serrano" by Cape Verdian author Dina Salústi is the first novel by a female Cape Verdian writer to be translated into English. Dina spoke about her book, joined by her translator, Jethro Soutar, and discussed the journey of this publication and language as a home.




Photo: Armstrong Too/Macondo Literary Festival


Participants were treated to free Kizomba classes. Kizomba is a dance genre originating in Angola which is slow, romantic and sensual.




Photo: Armstrong Too/Macondo Literary Festival


"What does home mean? What does it mean to belong to a place? How are identities constructed?" This was a panel discussion by Mshai Mwangola, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Ondjaki and Jonny Steinberg.




Photo: Mariga Thoithi


A vendor, Vita Books displaying their books. Vita Books is an independent Kenyan publisher supporting people’s struggles to create societies based on the principles of equality and justice.




Photo: Mariga Thoithi


An exhibition by Peperuka, a Kenya company which creates unique designs out of popular Kenyan sayings and phrases.




Photo: Armstrong Too/Macondo Literary Festival


The Danger of A Single History: who controls history, and how can social activism intervene? Colonialists rewrote history which was exacerbated by the “founding fathers” of many nations who centred themselves around liberation struggles and erased the history of women and minorities. How can literature be used to reclaim narratives? A panel by Mozambican author Ungulani and two young Kenyan activists, Monaja and Mohamed Abdirizak




Photo: Armstrong Too/Macondo Literary Festival


Makadem entertains attendees with his sweet rhythmical Afro-Benga sound.




Photo: Armstrong Too/Macondo Literary Festival


Participants learned about the history of African film and practical skills for filming history, albeit without a camera. It was facilitated by film maker João Viana.




Photo: Mariga Thoithi


How is violence represented in literature? This panel was made up of writers who create worlds moulded by violence. Geovani Martins writes stories of boys and men growing up in Brazil's favelas where life is scarred by drugs and violence. Bissau-Guinean Yovanka Perdigao’s texts are marked by her early experience with conflict in her country. Abubakar's Ibrahim’s home is Jos, a place where ethnic tensions are not unknown. The three authors spoke about the worlds they grew up in that formed their literary expressions.


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