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Black Magic At Abantu Book Festival

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Black people seldom have spaces to be unapologetically black, but Abantu Book Festival is one of the few spaces that has allowed us to enjoy our blackness and indulge in black literature by black African authors without any interruptions. Do not be fooled into thinking that black people don’t read, because we do, we enjoy it and we are even teaching our children to not only read but to love it. The first week of December saw Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Mofolo, Soweto and Soweto Theater filled with Black African authors as well as the black people who read their books meet to have panel discussions on issues that affect us. The book festival was a safe space were we cried together, laughed together and danced together.

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Writers from different parts of Africa gave a few insights into their books as well as engaged in general discussions about different issues that affect us. What stood out for me is how the majority of discussions were on abuse, patriarchy and women as keeper of secrets. In a discussion with Marah Louw she talked about the cycle of abuse from her mother( who is actually her grandmother) , her sister (who is her real mother) and herself, the abuse they suffered at the hands of men they loved. Finding out that her sister was actually her mother and how nobody in her family was willing to tell her the truth. Family keeping secrets about a child’s biological parents is such a problem all over and it is damaging. In a separate discussion about Khwezi, Mmatshilo Motsei emphasized on the dangers of women keeping secrets when their kids and other women are raped by family members so as to not “disgrace” the family. Everyone who attended the discussion is in agreement that we need to stop protecting abusers and rapists in our families. Our mothers are huge supporters of patriarchy because that is all they know from their mothers and their mothers and they have protected patriarchy as way to survive in the world that has always been unfair to women and the change can only be brought by women of our generation who have already started to make great strides in dismantling patriarchy bit by bit.

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Our African cultures from 500 years ago are not the same cultures that we have today because culture evolves and as we go on every day we create our own African identity. I love the way we are loving our black African selves without apologizing, rocking our hair in its natural state, celebrating our cultures as well as the cultures of our fellow Africans.

Abantu Book Festival in its greatness also exposed the challenges for the black media worker when it comes to the compensation and managing the creative and business aspect of their trade. There is a need to established media institution that will enforce the fair treatment, fair compensation of media workers. Those institutions need to make media work for blacks sustainable.

I cannot wait wait for the 3rd annual Abantu Book Festival in 2018 because the festival is a great initiative and I am pretty sure that it will grow bigger and better, I am proud of the work that Thando Mgqolozana and his team have done for us. AMANDLA ABANTU BOOK FEST! AMANDLA

All images from Abantu Book Festival

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Africa Reign: Magunga Williams

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Magunga is  trained in law at the University of Nairobi. However, the dream is to write. He started a blog when the writing bug got him in 2012. It became popular among his peers until it gained more traction and he got nominated and won awards.

To be able to tell a good story is my only vanity. So I write for a living, but most importantly I write to live.

His website (www.magunga.com) is a creative writing hub. A wonderland for fascinating stories. Magunga believes that we all live and die by the stories we tell and everyone has a story. It just needs to be told.The website concentrates on fiction, creative non fiction, poetry and book reviews.

I welcome people who have the talent to write but not the space or audience. I share my space with them, and I hope that this platform will someday grow to become Africa’s most read creative writing hub.

His Awards and accolades:

Best Overall Blog – Connect Vuka Border, Inter-University Blogging Challenge 2013

Winner – Samsung Blogger Challenge 2014

1st Runners Up – Best New Blog in the BAKE (Bloggers Association of Kenya) Awards  2014

1st Runners Up – Most Promising Blog in the SoMA (Social Media Awards) 2014

1st Runners Up – Best Creative Writing Blog in the BAKE (Bloggers Association of Kenya) Awards  2015

What does Africa Reign mean to you?

It means hope. Hope in Africa. Africa as a continent has so much potential yet it remains untapped for many excuses that pose as reasons.  I am hopeful that this initiative will break these barriers and unlock our potential.

How can we as the African youth build the African Dream?

We can take the centre stage in our different fields. I plan to unite a continent by telling stories through my website and social media pages. Other young people in other fields should also take the lead in their own spaces. We have been ‘leaders of tomorrow’ for far too long. Tomorrow is here now.

Do u think the youth is motivated enough to help develop Africa?

Enough? No. Not enough. There can never be enough motivation for development. We should always be motivated to do more. The moment we say “enough” is the moment we become complacent, and we cannot afford complacency.

What is Literature’s role in developing a better Africa?

Literature will keep telling the stories that need to be told. Literature is the point of knowledge.  That means it is the source of inspiration, entertainment, opportunities and power to develop the mind. Literature has been playing this role for the longest time, especially for Africa. Sadly, many of us have not been watching or listening.

Words are living things – Rix Poet.

Twitter: MagungaWilliams
Facebook: Magunga Williams
Website:
www.magunga.com