#QuramoWritersPrize Entry -“Guilty” by Joan Wawira Thatiah
“Guilty” by Joan Wawira Thatiah is on the shortlist of 15 for this year’s #QuramoWritersPrize
“I was calling to tell you the pregnancy test was faulty. I took another one at the clinic and it turned out negative.”
“Oh, that’s great news.”
His response was like a punch in her belly.
“Yes, it is great news. It is late. Have a good one,” she said as hot tears pricked her eyes.
He could reject her, but she was not going to give him a chance to reject her child. After she had cried her voice hoarse, she had a cold shower and sat in candle light on her couch, her body draped in a bright red kikoy.
As smart and enlightened as she was, a man had left her holding a baby. This was something that happened to clueless teenagers. Not to women like her. But she couldn’t undo any of what had happened. All she could do now was allow herself to feel the shame.
Announcement of the winner for this year’s #QuramoWritersPrize will be made on Sunday, December 15 , 2019 at Qfest 2019.
YouTube celebrates Afrobeats with Kizz Daniel, Reekado Banks, Simi, Teni
YouTube, popular online video community, on Tuesday, celebrated Afrobeats with the announcement of four fast-rising Nigerian artists selected to receive support on their individual music journey.
The event, tagged ‘A celebration of Afrobeats’, saw the likes of Kizz Daniel, Reekado Banks, Simi and Teniola Apata celebrated by the prominent video-sharing platform at Lagos WaterWays, LASWA Yard, Falomo Jetty, Ikoyi.
The development, according to Youtube, was in fulfillment of its earlier promise to support the country’s Afrobeats talents during the Google for Nigeria event in July, where it declared support for 10 emerging artists through Mr Eazi’s emPawa programme.
It stated that the four artists would be provided the needed support and tools to advance their musical career while also growing their YouTube presence to market them globally.
Google in Africa
From Lagos to the 🌍, these Nigerian artists, #KizzDaniel, #ReekadoBanks, #Simi, and #Teni are making global waves. #YoutubeAfrobeats
This, it said, would be followed by engagement in various training aimed at making them experts in developing visual content as well as marketing promotions needed to grow and engage audience on international scale.
The company said at the end of the training, the artists would be expected to chronicle their experiences as feedback which would be shared with their various communities.
Addy Awofisayo, the company’s content partnership manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, expressed optimism that the offer would take the selected artists’ musical career to another level.
“We are very excited to partner with these amazing artists to support their journey as their music travels across borders and they expand their audience globally.” Awofisayo said.
“YouTube has been a mainline for African artists to connect all over the world, from Yemi Alade’s ‘Johnny’ hitting over 100 million views on YouTube or Davido’s “Fall’ at over 150 million views, there is no doubt that global audiences are dancing to an African beat.”
Launched in 2005, YouTube has helped in projecting African music to the international stage and shooting many artists from the continent into limelight including Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi and Rema.YouTube celebrates Afrobeats with Kizz Daniel, Reekado Banks, Simi, Teni
Relishing her selection, Teni said the partnership would enable her develop her musical career and further engage her fans.
“YouTube has no borders and it’s exciting to see my music resonate with not just people in my home country, but fans across the world,” she said.
Also speaking, Kizz Daniel said working with YouTube would help promote his music and culture to a global audience.
“YouTube is a crucial platform that allows my music travel globally and connect to a new audience,” he said
This December, readers, publishers, and educators are set to celebrate the third annual #ReadAfricaWeek. The event comes during the first week of December every year.
ReadAfricaWeek is the brainchild of U.S.- and South Africa–based Catalyst Press. The press’s Marketing Manager, Ashawnta Jackson, says that the best part of the week has been the participation of fellow publishers.
“It started as a way to support each others’ work, so they were our earliest supporters,” Jackson said over email. “We’ve seen so many independent and academic publishers promoting their books, and that’s been fantastic. I think, particularly for small publishers like us, a week of everyone liking, sharing, and reposting is invaluable. We’re always trying to have our voices heard in a really crowded field, and this is a great way to celebrate each other.
While it’s true that African writers are often shut out of literature’s big prestige prizes, more and more have been award-winners and bestsellers. The Nobel has gone to African writers only five times (Wole Soyinka, Naguib Mahfouz, Nadine Gordimer, and J.M. Coetzee), and the International Booker has gone to an African writer only once (Chinua Achebe). Yet, across genres, there have been a growing number of big books by African writers. This year, there were a number of hotly anticipated books by African writers. These include a new collection by Kenyan Nobel hopeful Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o; another by popular Ugandan author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s Manchester Happened; and acclaimed Nigerian novelist Helon Habila’s fourth novel, Travellers.
Jackson said that she believes the relationship between African literature and world readers is changing. Readers, she says, now have “a stronger understanding that where ever you live, there are going to be stories that just resonate with a universal human experience.”
Still, most literary success for African writers goes through the bottleneck of English or French. Moreover, the road to world readers often goes not through publishing centers in Lagos, Nairobi, Johannesburg, and Cairo, but through Paris, London, and New York City.
There certainly are strong Africa-focused literary publishers such as Catalyst, Cassava Republic (Nigeria and UK), Parresia Publishers (Nigeria), and Rafiki Books (South Sudan). Yet many breakout African authors choose European or North American publishers. After all, these publishers often have more powerful distribution networks and the funding to put work forward for global prizes.
This can lead not only to out-sized influence from Western publishing, as Nigerian author Adaobi Nwaubani has written about in the New York Times, but it also means that books by South Sudanese authors, for instance, are less accessible in neighboring Kenya than they are in New York. Many solutions have been proposed: more co-publishing agreements, more publishing conferences, and stronger distribution networks are among them.
One recent supportive step was the launch of the African Publishing Innovation Fund. The International Publishing Association and the NGO Dubai Cares jointly launched the initiative this spring; the Nigerian publisher Cassava Republic Press was one of the first grant winners. With their $20,000 Innovation Fund grant, Cassava has announced plans to start an African-language imprint. There are, after all, more than 500 languages in Nigeria. Until the grant, Cassava had focused their efforts on English.
Catalyst’s Ashawnta Jackson said that, for this year’s #ReadAfricaWeek, she’d like to see more libraries join in. “We’ve had a few over the last two years, and it’s wonderful. Last year, there was a high school library that did posts all week and Multnomah County Library in Portland, OR participated as well. I love that it’s gotten so far beyond those first few publishers we contacted and hope that this year we get more libraries, literary orgs, and bookstores.”
“I think this year, it would also be great to see older works. There were a lot of new releases” in the past, Jackson said. “But there’s a long history of African literature, and I’d love to see more posts that look back as well as forward.”
Catalyst founder Jessica Powers said over email that, on the U.S. side, she’d “love to see some teenagers and educators join in, particularly high school teachers.” She’d also like to see the week move beyond Anglophone readers. “From the global perspective, I’d love to see a few people join in from Francophone and Lusophone countries since both are major languages in Africa.”
READINGAFRICA ALL YEAR ROUND
In addition to getting more people and organizations involved, Jackson said she’d also like to have more music.
“Because I love music as much as books, I’d love to see people making playlists based around some of these books,” Jackson said. “Someone did one last year, and I was so happy to see it. I’d actually love to work with someone to curate a #ReadingAfrica playlist every year.”
A week to read the literature of a whole continent, Jackson added, is clearly not much. She said she’d love to see the #ReadingAfrica hashtag and resources continue year round.
“I’d love for people who are interested in reading globally to know that if they click on the #ReadingAfrica hashtag, they’ll find great suggestions for books all year round. So my big hope is that readers, libraries, bookstores, etc, use the hashtag all year to spotlight those works, because as special as we think Reading Africa Week is, there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to read and share these books!”
Soundcity MVP Awards Festival returns in January
Record release after record release, massive hit songs, absolutely amazing new revelations, record-shattering sales, globally sold-out concerts…the year 2019 has definitely been one of the most amazing ever witnessed in the African pop music scene…Now its time to recognize who are the real MVPs of the 2019 Afro-Pop Music experience…SOUNDCITY MVP Awards Festival is set for another amazing round of unveiling your top ballers…
Unanimously regarded as the king of the hill and the most prestigious event of the year after year on the continent, the SOUUNDCITY MVPs celebrate music, community and the most outstanding Afrocentric cultural achievements in the most premium live TV event.
The Soundcity MVP Awards Festival is famed for iconic performances from Busiswa’s electric stage domination to her never seen before joint performance with Niniola to Jidenna’s much talked about closing performance in the last edition all the way back to when 2baba Idibia, Sarkodie, Davido, Emtee, Patoranking, Tiwa Savage, and Cassper Nyovest’s colorfully rewrote live set showmanship in the 2017 edition.
Beyond the show-stopping performances, audiences have come to revel in the beauty of live television as produced by the Soundcity Africa team for the ceremony that is now in its fourth year of running as the MVPs and well over a decade of being SMVAs.
In 2019, The Soundcity MVP Music Awards introduced the special recognitions and non-voting award presentations in multiple categories including Special recognitions in Business Entrepreneurship; Sports; Fashion; Social Entrepreneurship/Digital Influence; Community/Socio-political development; and Creative Arts.
Since the awards’ inception in 2017, Sponsors like CocaCola, 9mobile, and Guinness together with Soundcity MVP Awards have delivered world-class live performances with appearances by such International and superstar artists as Cassper Nyovest, Navy Kenzo, Jidenna, Busiswa, Sarkodie, Davido, Patoranking, M.I. Abaga, Emtee, Kizz Daniel, Tiwa Savage, and many others.
The nominations list for the fourth edition of the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival will be released on the 1st of December 2019 via @SoundcityMVP, Soundcity TV and Radio platforms, social media accounts, websites as well as partner platforms. The countdown has now begun!
According to Mr. Tajuddeen Adepetu, Executive producer of the Soundcity MVPs, “ current estimates show that the 2020 SOUNDCITY MVPs telecast which will be aired live across the continent on Saturday, January 11th on the Soundcity TV channel DSTV 327 to an anticipated 25 million viewers across the continent”.
The event producer, Mr. Adeniji Daniel says that “…this year’s edition of the Soundcity MVPs promises to bring our fans the best performances from the hottest musical acts on the continent. Also in the bag of surprises will be international show hosts, unexpected collaborations and buzzworthy pop culture moments that will definitely have the world talking for a long time to come…”