Poetry And Literature Scores High On African Cosmopolitics
Literary and political Cosmopolitanism in Africa has been and still is palpable with peculiar performance this 2015.With African literary perspective being in the front, especially poetry movement and then other avenues of African textology. It began amicably with the enviable second eastern Africa international conference of literature and cultural studies in Agusut at Makerere University in Uganda.
This conference brought together all types of Africans, white, black and red Africans. They all came in their unruffled feathers, without hangover of class and social stations. The conference was so effective that all countries of Africa were intellectually represented in diversity, it was in this conference that there was unique experience of African queer literature being openly discussed and a German-African , Dr. Lutz, from University of Dar Salaam launched his book, Habari ya English , What about Kiswahili ?
Just after a week since the end of the Makerere conference, there was also another international literary conference in Kampala, hosted by the Uganda Society, Babishai Poetry society of Uganda and the National Museum of Uganda. It was a fantastic experience. It was for the launch of the international poetry anthology under the title, Boda Poetry anthem.
It had contributions from 114 poets from all over the world.Juliane Okot P’Bitek, Professsor Remji of Nigeria and the environmentalist poet, Tom Fraser are among those that contributed. Fraser’s stuning poem in this anthology is Firewood on the Table. It was all palsy-walsy among the participants that a Nigerian emerged winner of the spoken word and the textual poetics; he scooped away one thousand American dollars to his home in West Africa. What a wonderful cosmopolitanity!
There was then story moja festival in Nairobi, short story day in south Africa, Ngugi wa Thiong’o re-opening of the National theatre in Nairobi, Writivism festival in Abeoukuta,Wole Soyinka Prize in Nigeria, Launch of Murumbi’s book in Nairobi, and The Kwani festival in Nairobi that hosted the Mabati Rolling Mills Kiswahili literature prize festival. All these events brought Africans of all descend together, to feast on the same table without concern of boundary, colour, gender and class.
Currently there is another book that is just some weeks freshly out of the kitchen; the book is under the title, Best New African Poets 2015 Anthology edited by Tendai Rinos Mwanaka and Daniel da Purificação. The book is Consisting of 214 poems and 79 poets, from over 23 African countries and the Diasporas, Best New African Poets 2015 Anthology: it is Lusophone version; Poetry Progeria contains poems that deal with a panoply of issues, feelings, thoughts, ideas, beliefs..., on identity, Africanness (Blackness, Whiteness, Arabic, Asian...), culture, heritage, place, politics, (mis)governance, corruption, exile, loss, memory, spirituality, sex, gender, love, the individual and many others. It travels from Cape to Cairo, Monrovia to Nairobi, rooms in the beautiful Moroccan Sahara desert, pastoral idyllic Savannas, the rainy equatorial rainforests and then flies into the Diasporas as each poet speaks his/her own story of the Africa that she/he knows, dreams and envisions with protective pride and resolute dedication.
The editor of its English version, Tendai. R. Mwanaka is a multi-disciplinary artist from Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. His oeuvre of works touches on non-fictions, essays, poetry, plays, fictions, music, sound art, photography, drawings, paintings, video, collage, mixed media, inter-genres, inter-disciplines etc. Voices from Exile, a poetry collection came out from Lapwing Publications, Northern Ireland, 2010, Keys in the River, a novel of interlinked short fictions came out from Savant Books and Publications, 2012, Zimbabwe: The Blame Game, a book of creative nonfictions on Zimbabwe came out from Langaa RPCIG, 2013. A Dark Energy (full length novel) forthcoming from Aignos Publishing Inc. Work has been published in over 300 journals, anthologies and magazines in over 27 countries. Nominated, shortlisted and won some prizes and work has been translated into French and Spanish.
The Lusophone editor of the anthology, Daniel da Purificação is a citizen of the world. He loves to talk, love, read, think and write without relent. He is a professor and freelance journalist. His interests are broad range, including society, philosophy, politics, education and democracy. He has authored two poetry collections (The Angopoems Et Intermitencias) which he hopes to publish posthumously.
Kenya in particular has scored much in terms of Cosmo-socialization in this year. This is in regard to the publication of On Becoming Kenyans by Kituyi Mukhisa , and then other wonderful book, the book is known as A Giant Tree has Fallen: Tributes to Ali Mazrui.It was written by Abdul Samed Bemath and Seifudein Adem , it was published in October 2015 by Adonis and Abbey in London . This book memorializing the life and work of Ali Al’amin Mazrui comprises more than 130 tributes written by people ranging from heads of state to journalists. Presented here are those tributes for which copyright permissions were received from among the hundreds that appeared online and in print.
In preparing this book, it was made very clear that, unlike other books of tributes to great men and women, there would be no segmentation of the sections based on writers’ and speakers’ positions in life. Instead, it was decided that the tributes be presented in alphabetical order based on writers’ and speakers’ last names. The decision hinged on the fact that Mazrui would not have approved any segmentation of people by class, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, country of origin, etc. Nonetheless, out of great respect for Mazrui’s immediate family members, their tributes are presented first, followed by those from his global family members. Also included at the beginning of the book are three chapters that comprise an introductory essay, a brief biography of Mazrui, and an essay on metaphorical-linguistic analysis of the tributes that follow. I have also published a dirge in respect of Mazrui’s passing on in this anthology.
The book also has a preface by the coeditors and a foreword by Salim Ahmed Salim, the former Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania and Secretary-General of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union. Dr. Salim, who served as the Secretary-General of the OAU from 1989 to 2001, was Mazrui’s friend and contemporary. Mazrui once described Salim as “Mr. Africa” and the “first real postcolonial Secretary-General of the OAU.”
Seifudein Adem is an academic and the longest-serving Associate Director of the Institute of Global Cultural Studies, which was founded by Ali A. Mazrui in 1991 at Binghamton University, New York. By invitation, Dr. Adem has written special tributes to Ali Mazrui for several periodicals including Third World Quarterly (London, UK), CODESRIA Bulletin (Dakar, Senegal), and Transition Magazine (Harvard University, USA). Seifudein Adem was also honored to accompany Mazrui’s body to its final resting place in Mombasa, Kenya.
Jideofor Adibe is Associate Professor of Political Science at Nasarawa State University Keffi, Nigeria. Dr. Adibe’s London-based publishing company, Adonis & Abbey Publishers (www.adonis-abbey.com) is one of Mazrui’s European publishers.
Abdul Karim Bangura is a researcher-in-residence of Abrahamic Connections and Islamic Peace Studies at the Center for Global Peace at American University and Professor of Research Methodology and Public Policy at Howard University, Washington, DC. A holder of five doctorate degrees, Dr. Bangura has published more than 75 books and 100s of articles, including on Ali Mazrui’s scholarship.
Abdul Samed Bemath is a South African based Library Consultant and the compiler of three annotated bibliographies of Ali Mazrui's writings covering the period 1962-2015. Mr. Bemath is also the coeditor of Mazrui’s collected essays, The Politics of War and the Culture of Violence (2008).
But the best of all is the publication of the BUWA journal by the open society initiative in South Africa (OSISA).This journal will be out in January 2016. This journal is purely transnationalistic in its democratic orientation. It contains literary contributions from poetry to short stories. Scripts, prose, essays to prose, epistology to listology to any category of textuality contributed by Africans of all social, political and religious stations. The current issue of this journal focuses on the political and social problems that make women to move out of Africa and within Africa. This is the journal in which I published my feminist-cum-gender-centric poem, She Went to Russia a virgin.
However, on a negative note ,this year, African cosmopolitanity stands challenged in the death of of our sons and daughters ; Sam Moyo,Marjorie Oludhe Macgoye,Ali Mazrui and Grace Akinyi Ogot.
Anyway, to all my readers; have a conscious Christmas and a prosperous new year that will take African cosmopolitanities; afro-optimism, fro-centralism, afrolitanity, afro-futurism and afro-catholicity to fly high in the azures that the enemy eagles have never dared.