Berlin’s African Book Festival 2019 guest list unveiled.

The guest list for Berlin’s African Book Festival 2019 has been unveiled. The festival curated by writer and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga runs from April 4-7, 2019.

In 2018, writers from across Africa and its diaspora converged on Berlin for the African Book Festival with Chris Abani as the headliner. The festival organised by InterKontinental and curated by Olumide Popoola looked at transnationalism and migration in a more literary sense of “keeping in motion”.

As preparations for the 2019 edition kicked off, organisers announced on September 25, 2018, that it would be curated by Zimbabwean author and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga. That announcement would follow with the unveiling of the festival headliner for 2019 Booker Award winner Ben Okri.

The team at the festival have announced the artists who will be making their way to Berlin to attend the shindig with the theme “Transitioning from Migration.” They represent an array of countries from across Africa like Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Somaliland, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Sudan, Liberia, Malawi as well as diaspora countries like the USA and the UK.

Many of those attending are familiar to followers of African writing like award-winning South African author and scholar Zakes Mda and Nigerian author Sefi Atta. Some of the other writers who will feature are Fred Khumalo, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Christopher Mlalazi, Chike Frankie Edozien, Ayesha Harruna Attah, Olumide Popoola, Elma Shaw, Thando Mgqolozana, Ijangolet S Ogwang, Pumla Dineo Gqola, Shadreck Chikoti, Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, Emmanuel Sigauke, Fungai Tichawangana, Donald Molosi and Panashe Chigumadzi. Caine Prize winner Namwali Serpell and writer of highly anticipated debut novel imagine The Old Drift will also feature.

Harriet Anena who recently won the Wole Soyinka Prize, Chirikure Chirikure and Safia Elhillo are some of the poets who will feature.

There are also those who might not be writing books but are an important part of the writing ecosystem that will feature like publishers Ellah Wakatama Allfrey (Indigo Press), Bibi Bakare-Yusuf (Cassava Republic Press) and Yana Makuwa (Graywolf Press). There will also be Hargeysa International Book Fair founder Jama Musse Jama as well as literary bloggers Ainehi Edoro-Glines and James Murua.





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What a way to round up IREP 2019 Documentary Film Festival. The highlight of the grand finale was the IREP-CORA Stampede, with conversations centered around "Storylines: Framing the New Democratic Season In Film" and also the screening of Tam Fiofori’s Film, Ogbu-Oja Eze.

(See speech by Secretary General of the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, Toyin Akinosho) below).What a way to round up IREP 2019 Documentary Film Festival. The highlight of the grand finale was the IREP-CORA Stampede, with conversations centered around "Storylines: Framing the New Democratic Season In Film" and also the screening of Tam Fiofori’s Film, Ogbu-Oja Eze.
(See speech by Secretary General of the Committee for Relevant Art, CORA, Toyin Akinosho) below).

The festival was an overall success and we obviously couldn’t have done much without all our beautiful participants, the filmmakers whose films were selected and our super amazing guests from all around the world.
Thank you so much for being a part of our success story.

Please note that the IREP Monthly Exchange continues. The next being the 16th of April 2019. We will be screening for the second time, "76: The Story Behind the Story directed by Adeola Osunkojo."

Thank you once again and have a beautiful week ahead.

Can Nollywood Speak to Power Enough To Rescue Nigeria’s Democracy?

*CORA Statement at the 1277h ART STAMPEDE:

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
I welcome you all to this year’s edition of the Art Stampede For The Moving Images

We are grateful to IREP for providing a context for having this annual discussion around Nollywood.

Every year since we stopped going to Best of TV Festival, the stampede season had commenced with IREP.

My preambles will be short.
It wasn’t so long ago that we assembled, at Esther’s Revenge on the first floor of the other building, to discuss new consciousness in Nollywood.
Now we want to return to something other than the environment of filmmaking, but the content of the story.

In a scene in Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys, the camera pans to a picture frame of President Buhari, on the wall inside the office of a tough, incorruptible investigating officer in NFCC (a loose reference to EFCC). It is tempting to take that scene and use it to assume that Ms. Adetiba was a cinematic equivalent of a pamphleteer for the APC Presidential candidate, especially as the film was released to cinemas in October 2018, around the time that the parties were nearing their deadlines to produce candidates to the various elective offices for the 2019 elections.

But KOB’s forceful NARRATION and vivid exploration of the relationship between the world of thugs and the machinery of the political parties leave you in no doubt that the cinema work zooming on Mr Buhari’s face was only to convey an idea.
As the 3 hour long film wound to an end, that same NFCC character left no one in doubt that the powers he was dealing with were larger than one man. As his boys made arrests after arrests, including, attempting to nab his own boss, he told his cheering sister not to be surprised that a good number If the thieves would be released and in a few years some of them would be contesting for High Offices in the land, with very good chances of being elected.

King of Boys is much more about specific liners. It’s the assemblage of the pictures; its narrative around crime and punishment; it’s about how does this happen. It’s about the wonder: Oh These people sha!!!
Someone described Izu Ojukwu’s 1976 as a beautiful movie about Nigeria’s Pre-Democracy years. Yet this monochromatic statement about the fourth military coup detat in the life of a nation yet to be 20 years old, is the kind of story that whispers its power in your ears and fills you up as it grinds slowly along, frame after frame. People should be punished for crimes they commit but in the play of power, who is right afterall? And what is wrong? These are not easy questions, and there are no easy answers but Nollywood shouldn’t run from them.
Instead it should embrace these kind of stories that examine how the political constructs determine the health of the economy and shapes our overall quality of life.

As we discussed these two movies, after we decided on the theme Storylines: Framing the New Democratic Season in Film, the members of CORA all recalled the line from the character played by Olu Jacobs in the movie The Kingmaker: “Everyone in the House is in my pocket: I got everyone elected: From the Speaker to the back bencher”
How does Nollywood treat this kind of character-Villain, Treacherous? Victim?
In a new film, Code Willow, such a Kingmaker is treated in a very fluid, nuanced way you can’t exactly box him. He dies in the hands of his own son. But is the audience appropriately angry at him before his death? Are they appropriately worried that one of the losers in this film is a man who was trying to avenge the death of his entire family?
Is there any proper way to make a political film? Does the consciousness to take on the Big political issues of the day run deep enough in the veins of Nigeria’s scriptwriting and directing elite?

How much can this panel help out?
Let me frame the question more simply: Can Nollywood help in the way we are governed?

Ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to this conversation. We look forward to a robust debate on either side of the hall.

Thank you for the opportunity again, IREP.

Toyin Akinosho
Secretary General
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