Arts & Culture

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Speaks: African Languages and the African Renaissance

8:00 pm - 9:00 pm | 15 August 2020
Online | Free

Mboka Festival of Arts Culture and Sports is honoured to have Professor Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o discuss “How do we situate African languages within the Africanism Renaissance? Should they be at the centre? If so, how can we do that?.”

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o is an award winning writer, literary and social activist and a multi-nominee of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He calls himself, “a language warrior.” He speaks on what he says are “very important questions” regarding African languages within the African Renaissance .

The conversation with Kadija Sesay, hosted by Queen Mother Akua Kalia Adayé, will also discuss the African Union’s, “The Africa We Want” document: ASPIRATION 5: An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, values and ethics.

Pan-African ideals will be fully embedded in all school curricula and Pan-African cultural assets (heritage, folklore, languages, film, music, theatre, literature, festivals, religions and spirituality.) will be enhanced. The African creative arts and industries will be celebrated throughout the continent, as well as, in the diaspora and contribute significantly to self-awareness, wellbeing and prosperity, and to world culture and heritage. African languages will be the basis for administration and integration. African values of family, community, hard work, merit, mutual respect and social cohesion will be firmly entrenched.

Register here

About the speakers:

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, was born in Kenya, in 1938 into a large peasant family. He was educated at Kamandura, Manguu and Kinyogori primary schools; Alliance High School, all in Kenya; Makerere University College (then a campus of London University), Kampala, Uganda; and the University of Leeds, Britain.

Paralleling his academic and literary life has been his role in the production of literature, providing, as an editor, a platform for other people’s voices. He has edited the following literary journals: Penpoint (1963-64); Zuka (1965 -1970); Ghala (guest editor for one issue, 1964?) and Mutiiri (1992-).

He has also continued to speak around the world at numerous universities and as a distinguished speaker. These appearances include: the 1984 Robb Lectures at Auckland University in New Zealand; the1996 Clarendon Lectures in English at Oxford University; the 1999 Ashby Lecture at Cambridge; and the 2006 MacMillan Stewart Lectures at Harvard. He is recipient of many honors, including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature and eleven honorary doctorates.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s biographical details which includes his list of novels, essays, drama and children’s books can be found on his website

The interviewer for this conversation is Kadija Sesay. She is a Sierra Leone/British literary activist which includes her work as co-founder of the Mboka Festival of Arts Culture and Sport. She is the publisher of SABLE Litmag and editor of several anthologies of work by writers of African and Asian descent. Her own published work includes the poetry collection, Irki, (Peepal Tree Press, 2013). Kadija graduated from the inaugural class of the Kennedy Center of Performance Arts Management in 2002 and is a Kluge Fellow (2019). Kadija has created and co-ordinated several literary events over the years including the first SABLE Literary Festival in The Gambia in 2007 and now programmes the literary festival and book fair as part of Mboka Festival of Arts, Culture and Sport. She has received several awards for her work in the creative arts and currently holds an AHRC Scholarship to research Black British Publishers and Pan-Africanism.

Queen Mother AKUA KALIA ADAYÉ of the Royal Brong Kingdom / Prof. KELLEY PAGE JIBRELL, PhD*, MBA

Strategist. Professor. Theologian. Poet. Queen. Mother. Nanan Akua Kalia Adayé, is an American-born Queen Mother crowned by her ancestral Royal Brong Kingdom in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Professionally, Queen Mother Kalia is a global strategist and academic working in 25+ countries, across 5 continents. QueenMother is an Adjunct Professor of International Business at Howard University, where she is completing her PhD in African Studies on Holistic Human Development. Prof. Jibrell speaks and publishes internationally, and has a published poetry collection titled, Plight. QueenMother has engaged her Kingdom in Abron, French and English to demonstrate the value and wisdom of traditional African languages. Presently, there is a revival of the traditional Abron language as young Ivorians develop language apps, broadcast weekly radio lessons and conduct workshops in the village and urban centers.

The event will also be live streamed on Facebook  .We will be showing videos and photos from previous Mboka Festivals 30 minutes before we start.

This event honours and remembers a great friend who was a true Pan-Africanist in word and deed, Shelvin D. Longmire (28 May 1949 – 14 April 2020).

Images Credit: Ota Express

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