Posts in category arts

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Ahmadou Kourouma – portrait of a literary giant

If, in the English-speaking world, he is (mostly) known to university students reading African literature, in the francophone world Ahmadou Kourouma is a literary giant. This is a feat he managed not by producing a lot of writings – the writer, who died in 2003 at the age of 76 in exile in Lyon, wrote six novels, and unlike most writers of his generation, did not engage in writing numerous essays or opinion pieces. Kourouma was that writer who let his books express what he felt. On the anniversary of his death on 11 December 2003, This Is Africa brings you a portrait of the Ivorian literary giant whose unique writing style is unrivalled in his native country.

Graffti on a minibus in Kenya more commonly known as Mataus.
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In Kenya, minibuses are more than a means of transport

Most Kenyans depend on minibuses, commonly referred to as ‘matatus’, as their means of transport. However, matatus are much more than a form of getting from one point to the next. They are at the heart of urban pop culture in Kenya. Consequently, there are suggestions of an annual international fair to showcase the phenomenon that even a first-time visitor to Kenya will find hard to miss.

Teju Cole signing his book. Photo Credit: Hamed Adedeji
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We Need New Critics – Observations from a panel at the Ake Festival

A literary festival panel can be a spectator sport. This was the case at the 2016 edition of the Ake Festival, Nigeria’s (and arguably Africa’s) most glamorous week-long arts and book gathering. ‘Glamorous’ because it attracts big names in literature, intellectuals, thinkers, not only from the continent but the world. Naturally, where stars are, admirers will follow.