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Monday, 7 August 2017

Writivism Festival is 5 and Reinventing the Future




In exactly ten days, speakers, exhibitors, performers, curators, academics, writers, bloggers and more from various African countries and the Diaspora will be in Kampala for the Writivism Festival. Now in its fifth year, Writivism is Uganda’s leading literary festival, and this year will take place at The Square between August 17 and 20.

On the 2017 theme – Reinventing the Future  - Writivism writes:
For a very long time, we have been told, irrespective of how old one is, that we are the future. For all of us, the future has come. We are in the future. This year, as we look back at our roots and recent history as an initiative, we would like to gather around the question of the future. We are in the future. How are we reinventing it? Is our future that foretold by the United Nations’ Millenium Development Goals? Is it the apocalyptic prediction by some religious cults and carried out through at leas one known suicide mass killing? How are Africans reinventing the future? Join us in answering these questions through various artistic interventions?

… and the schedule to address this theme of Reinventing the Future, and the line-up of guests is hawtttt!!! 

There will be keynote addresses from E C Osondu, Thando Magolozana, Nii Ayikwei Parkes and Daniel Kalinaki. In his keynote speech, Daniel Kalinaki - author, journalist and media executive – will explore the relationship between the media, literature, the arts, business and politics. While Thando Mqgolozana, founder of the Abantu Book Festival, will talk about the importance of decolonisation of literature and his role in changing the cultural politics of literary production in South Africa and beyond. What does decolonisation mean, outside South Africa?

Also expect launches of very exciting books and literary magazines, including Jalada and Transition’s Fear Issue, Jowhor Ile’s After Many Days, JJ Bola’s No Place to Call Home, Mzililkazi wa Afrika’s Nothing Left to StealSundown, Set Me on Fire, Butterfly Dreams, and A Igoni Barrett’s Blackass.



During the festival, there will be panel discussions on East Africa’s new novels, Sooo Many Stories will present a panel on the dangers and strategies for writers dealing with sex as a theme in their creative work; while Huza Press and Mawazo Institute will consider the sustainability and future of the mentoring and creative writing workshop culture in Africa. Salooni, the Ugandan pop-up hair salon and art installation that explores the politics woven through and straightened out of black hair, will also be at the Festival.

Salooni - a multi-disciplinary experiential art project created by four female Ugandan artists (Kampire Bahana, Darlyne Komukama, Aida Mbowa and Gloria Wayamuno. Image via Okayafrica
But wait, there’s more. Short Story Day Africa’s one day Flow workshop will be there; aspiring writes can also pitch their novel stories to publishers; and as this is a space for all there will also be academic roundtables on cultural archives, spoken word, literary magazines and newspapers, and building audience. This year’s Arts Management and Literary Activism (AMLA) workshop will cover themes on literary festivals, online magazines, literary events and literary adaptations. Soo Many stories also has tot tales for the kids, as well as school, hospital and market visits.

There are also opportunities to watch some really cool performances and films. Actress and playwright Kemiyondo Coutinho will perform her one woman show Kawuna…you’re it!, which interweaves three stories surrounding HIV and the stigma it presents and gives voice to the silenced women affected by this disease and their hope for the future. There will also be a screening of Music is our Weapon - a film portraying the philosophy, history and fight-for-justice of the band, Sarabi, one of the most enthralling band in Kenya and their growing influence across the world
I had the absolute pleasure of being in Kampala last year for the Writivism Festival and it seems they are going from strength to strength - I mean, there's a blogger’s hour (say what, now?! I would so be there, if I was in Kampala). It is also amazing that in Reinventing the Future, the festival is also integrating  some Kampala based events that exist beyond the festival, such as AKA Dope and Makerere University’s poetry night.  I mean, there’s even The Gathering, which is describes as a regular feast of poetry, music and conversation, accompanied by beer and roast meat. It's a pretty cool way to reveal the everyday literary landscape in Kampala. 
So, if you're in or around Kampala, between August 17 and 20 - can I just say I am extremely jealous about the excitement that will take place over those 4 days!! Find out more on the Writivism website.

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