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The African Story Challenge

  The African story challenge.

$1m grant to fund great storytelling on key African issues.

‘The danger of the single story is that it does not reflect our own realities’. Chimanda ngozi adichie.

‘When the music changes, so does the dance’ Kwame Nkrumah.

The African story challenge is a $ 1 million programme of reporting grants for African journalist. Launched in may 2013, the challenge will award over 100 reporting for stories on development issues over the next 2 years. pan-African challenge seeks to challenge the media to expand coverage of fundamental issues and supports investigative, multimedia and data-driven stories that aim to improve health and prosperity of African across the continent. Journalist chosen for the grants come to together for intensive sessions to improve their project ideas. Continue reading

Joanne Hichens

LITERATURE: “Bloody Satisfied” A conversation with editor Joanne Hichens

The Short Sharp Stories Awards, powered by the National Arts Festival (South Africa) and curated by crime writer Joanne Hichens, launched in 2012 and spat out Bloody Satisfied, a collection of crime short stories showing, as described by Sarah Lots, “stunning originality and skill”. The collection showcases selected stories from the competition submissions as well as the winning pieces. The aim of the awards is to encourage and celebrate emerging and established writing talent in South Africa. The enticing theme for 2013 is ‘Adults Only…’

Join Efrika’s Yewande Omotoso for a conversation with Joanne Hichens.

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LITERATURE: Taxi Poetry Jozi-style

photos by Naadira Patel

Johannesburg’s mini-bus taxis are showing a new face these days. In cooperation with the German Goethe Institute the project Taxi Poetry is providing magnetic stickers to ‘tune’ taxis in a different way.

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Photo by Michael Baillie

LITERATURE: My First Time – a platform long overdue

by Yewande Omotoso

Jen Thorpe is a South African feminist, researcher and writer who saw the need to start the My First Time project, which began and still exists as a blog as well as a book. My First Time is a platform where women are invited to share freely regarding sexuality, gender as well as experiences of sex and sexual violence.

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Rachel Zadok

LITERATURE: Excerpt from Rachel Zadok’s short story “In the garden of ghosts”

Excerpt from the short story “In the garden of ghosts” by Rachel Zadok

“I move through the house on leopard feet, silent and invisible, invisible, invisible. In the kitchen the fridge snores gently. I open it and rubber seals part with a kiss that sounds like stuck skin pulling away from plastic in summer. The bottles and jars tucked in the door rattle angrily. They do not like being woken so early. The fridge puffs her cold breath onto my face. I stand for a moment, inhaling the smells of meat and garlic and pond.

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LITERATURE: Africa’s celebrating Short Story Day

by Yewande Omotoso

Short Story Day Africa takes the shortest day in the year in this hemisphere (21 June) and uses it to celebrate the African short story. It brings together writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, teachers and school children from all over the globe to write, submit, read, workshop and discuss stories – and foster the love of reading and writing African fiction.

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FILM: Paris Nollywood

text & photo by Mathilda Andersson 

The queues were long outside the Arléquin Cinema in Paris as the world’s second largest film industry visited the city during NollywoodWeek Paris 30th May – 2nd June. Seven recent films by Nigerian directors had been selected to show the variety of Nollywood; an industry often accused of being obsessed with quantity at the cost of quality and originality. “The idea of the festival came up when we realized that there is no access to Nollywood film in France, which is not right in a country with such a strong film culture”, says the enthusiastic festival director Serge Noukoue.

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FILM: The Mountain Kingdom

text and photo by Vincent Moloi

I’m convinced that I am not a romantic, at least not in the traditional way. I think Paris is a big PR fart and that inhaling it makes us irrational. On the other hand I think the mountain kingdom of Lesotho is the ultimate place for romance. My wife doesn’t agree with me, but I believe the mountains, especially when covered in snow, is the best place to charm your special cherry.

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(African Literary Awards Database)

LITERATURE: The democratization of literature and literary debate in Africa

by Samuel Kolawole

When the 14th Caine Prize for African Writing known as the “African Booker” was announced, four of the five writers shortlisted for the prize were Nigerians. The announcement was followed by spirited outpourings on social media platforms.  In the spirit of national pride, Nigerians quickly pointed out that the shortlist, as with other literary accolades bestowed on Nigerian writers in the past, simply validated the country’s position as the centre of literature in Africa.

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MUSIC: Waayaha Cusub – Hip-hop at the frontline

by Salym Fayad

When Shiine Akhyaar made an unannounced visit to Mogadishu in 2012, after many years of exile, he was surprised to find that people on the street recognised him. His face circulates on Youtube videos and pirate CDs in East Africa’s urban centres, but in Somalia, where technological infrastructure is a privilege of a few and where radio broadcastings were rigorously controlled by fundamentalist group Al Shabaab, it testified to the popularity of his project; Waayaha Cusub.

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FILM: On the other side of the equator

text and photo by Vincent Moloi

For years I have been reluctant to write, especially about my travels.  I know it’s strange but writing feels intrusive, it disturbs the peace of my thoughts. Perhaps I’m more private than I admit. Whatever my personality, a visit to Douala in Cameroon broke my phobia of writing. I’m on the other side of the equator, far from Johannesburg where I live. In the land of the legendary Roger Miller – excuse me, the GREAT legendary Roger Milla – and I feel like an indomitable lion.

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LITERATURE: From Africa with love… Writers’ reflections on love: no6 Lola Shoneyin

Whether it’s a stranger’s smile that makes your heart stand still or the sweet agony of two bodies moving together, or the peace of a bright night as hands entwine, love comes in different forms. In a weekly six part series, fiction writer and head of Writers Studio creative writing school, Samuel Kolawole has spoken to an eclectic group of talented African authors, who have shared their musings on love.

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LITERATURE: From Africa with love….writers’ reflections on love: no3 Zukiswa Wanner

Whether it’s a stranger’s smile that makes your heart stand still or the sweet agony of two bodies moving together or the peace of a bright night as hands entwine, love comes in different forms. In a weekly six part series, Samuel Kolawole speaks to six of Africa’s finest authors, who share their musings on love: that which sustains us every day and without which we cannot live.

To date, the series has featured Lauri Kubuitsile and Victor Dlamini. Here is what our third author has to say on the subject. Continue reading

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LITERATURE: From Africa with love… Writers’ reflections on love: no2 Victor Dlamini

Whether it’s a stranger’s smile that makes your heart stand still or the sweet agony of two bodies moving together or the peace of a bright night as hands entwine, love comes in different forms. In the second part of our weekly six part series, Samuel Kolawole speaks to the next in an eclectic group of Africa’s finest authors who share their musings on love: that which sustains us every day and without which we cannot live.

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Chinua Achebe (Image ownership: Public domain)

LITERATURE: Me, osmosis and Chinua Achebe

by Yewande Omotoso

I always feel stupid when people speak to me of Chinua Achebe. I get nervous. Feel as if I haven’t read enough of his books. Being a Nigerian and a writer I should have read them all, yes? And even the ones I have read I should have read them more than once and marked up the work with red ink and vigorous notes in the margins of the page. I should refer to the books constantly with whole paragraphs memorised. There are many people who do. I’m not one of them. And I’m certain I‘m a poorer writer (person) for this omission. But the wonderful thing is that Chinua Achebe belongs to that crop of writer whose influence leaps beyond his written pages. Regardless of whether I read all of them or not I can recite, like a poem, all the titles of his fiction.

 

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