Continuing the conversation

Years ago when we first started talking about creating an entity for African Writers living on the continent and the Diaspora, we realized right away that what keeps us apart should be our strength: various languages, locations, skills and abilities. We’ve wanted a community of and for African writers for a long time.

African writing is as old as hieroglyphs. African scribes played an important role and occupied a significant position in Per Ankh—House of Life—where they wrote and engaged with one another on all matters of life. As the world became bigger, conquests and migrations became common. African text and other forms of our civilized culture were in danger. Eventually they were destroyed by the new arrivals. What was not plundered and suppressed was buried. Centuries later, generations of Africans were described as an oral people without a written culture.

Photo courtesy of Hans Ollermann, Wikimedia Commons.

Griots emerged as the new custodians of the word. Years of colonialism erased African forms of writing, learning and the only education offered was Western. But African writing did not die. Survivors fought and picked up pens. They learnt new languages and wrote down stories of their times, their past, and their future. We, their children, have been writing, journeying, living in Africa and the Diaspora. We are story carriers and our dream is to be connected again. We are not only griots. We are scribes as well. We cannot live in the House of Life as it used to be but we can gather together, and continue the conversation from wherever we are.

AWT is here to facilitate that. The task is big but with one step at a time, we shall connect once again, sharing ideas, skills, and writing. We are borderless and shall use physical and virtual spaces to reach one another. Our major communication is in English, but our work and focus will not be limited by language or geography. Drop us mail and let us know where you’re writing from.


1 Comment. Leave new

Goretti Kyomuhendo
August 4, 2011 6:18 pm

Thanks, Mildred for good work done


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