Kwani? Litfest: Panel Conversation W/ Boris Boubacar Diop, Dec. 4 2015 @ Alliance Française
Senegalese novelist, journalist and essayist, Boris Boubacar Diop, has established himself as one of the most prominent contemporary Francophone writers. In his first appearance in Kenya to participate in the5th edition of the Kwani? Litfest, Boris Boubacar will discuss the impasses and weaknesses of African literature.
His presentation will be followed by a short panel conversation with him and the Congolese writer, Patrick Mudekereza.
Abstract from Boris Boubacar Diop’s presentation:
‘Some of the most important names in African literature are authors like Chinua Achebe from Nigeria, Pepetela from Angola or Mongo Beti from Cameroon. What they have in common is that they write in the languages of their former colonial powers – England, Portugal and France –
rather than in any existing African language.
So, it can be said in reference to the partition of Africa in 1885, that a Triple Berlin Wall still divides Anglophone, Francophone and Lusophone writers. Many of us still think that this situation, far from being problematic, is the best opportunity to reach international audiences. This choice is understandable but it may also be too simplistic. Is it time to remember the poet Birago Diop’s famous words:
‘The baobab can’t conquer the stars unless it is deeply rooted in the soil’ ?
I would like to to show that the linguistic debate raised in the sixties by Cheikh Anta Diop and Ngugi Wa Thiong’O has never been more topical or more vital.’