Digital: a New Tool to Promote Pan-African Literature

A New Trend is Appearing in the African Cultural Field – the Online Translation of African Literature Into Over 30 African Languages

June 13th, 2016

From Saint-Louis to Nairobi, a collective revolution is happening in the African cultural field reflecting the face of African youth. It is a time of limitless curiosity, collective energy, technological knowledge and of a proudly Pan-African emulation. 

This is exemplified in the collective project known as « Jalada », a Pan-African writer’s collective, who’s aim is to regularly publish literature by African authors and to make it as easy as possible for any member to execute or publish any literary project as quickly and as effectively as possible. The principle of the collective is deeply cooperative. Any member, who wishes to pursue a project, has only to convince as many members as are necessary in order to carry out the project.

This collective was born in 2013 during the Kenya Literary Week where young writers, participating in a writing workshop, decided to unite their strengths and talents. As of today, the collective is composed of 25 members from 5 different Anglophone countries (Zimbabwe, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria) and is now directing and promoting a digital literary review in order to publish material as regularly as possible.

« Jalada » has now published 5 reviews each featuring more than 20 writers, either directly from the continent or the African diaspora, representing a variety of literary styles. Moreover, one of the main elements of the collective is its promotion of sexual parity and each edition of the review features an equal number of male and female writers. Each review is also thematic: the first two were about intimacy and the exploration of desire, the third was about an odyssey in afro-futuristic constellations, while the fourth focused on the question of language. All these elements combine to create the variety and the richness for which the review is known.

One of the greatest successes of « Jalada » is based on a story written by the Kenyan author, Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, titled « The Upright Revolution: or why humans walk upright. » This story was initially written in Kikuyu and then translated into English by the author himself. From this was born 33 stories written in 33 different African languages. This success demonstrates the dynamism of the African literary field and of the collective « Jalada » which hopes to soon have its own publishing house in order to print the review on paper.



Cultural Diplomacy News
Pierre Even, CD News