2020 Programme



Prof Mongane Wally Serote, South African National Poet Laureate, Delivers the 8th International African Writers’ Lecture

Prof Mongane Wally Serote, South Africa’s National Poet Laureate, world-renowned and award-winning poet, novelist, scholar, author and healer, will headline the 8th Africa Century International African Writers’ Conference on 7th November 2020.

Prof Serote will deliver the 8th International African Writers Day Lecture, titled: Decolonising Africa’s Literary Heritage: Debunking Myths – A Look To The Future.

The aim of this theme is to challenge the colonialist conventional wisdom that Africans are “oral” people and had no writing culture to talk about. We wish to debunk this myth and centre our theme around Africa’s writing heritage, history and legacy by bringing to the fore Africa’s literary scholarship and history.

Co-discussants to the keynote address by Prof Serote will be Dr Steve Sharra and Prof Wangui wa Goro.

Prof Wangui Wa Goro is a Kenyan academic, social critic, researcher, translator and writer based in the UK. As a public intellectual she has an interest in the development of African languages and literatures, as well as being consistently involved with the promotion of literary translation internationally, regularly speaking and writing on the subject.

Dr Steve Sharra is a Malawian scholar and a blogger who writes on education and transformative leadership, with a special emphasis on Malawi and Southern Africa. A lapsed creative writer in various genres, he has researched and published on decolonizing knowledge and knowledge production, teaching and teacher education, Pan-Africanism and global social justice, and uMunthu (Ubuntu) epistemology.

The International African Writers Day Lecture is a key defining event of the Africa Century International African Writers Conference.

This prospective historical gathering of authors and literary scholars and historians from across the world, aims to, as the then-OAU’s Conference of African Ministers of Education and Culture (meeting in Coutonou, Benin, in 1991) resolved, “…afford the African people a moment of pause within which to reflect on the contribution of African Writers to the development of the Continent”.

This theme is undergirding the founding and guiding vision of the Conference: Celebrating both the 20th and 21st (the latter as the African century) Centuries of Writing and Literary Intellectuals’ Influence On The Liberation Struggles & Political Impact on Literary Discourse and Development.

The Conference will culminate in the 15th Annual South African Literary Awards (SALA) prize-giving ceremony. Since 2005, these premier literary accolades have honoured over 250 authors in fourteen categories and eleven official languages.

Given the current Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions, all these events will be virtually presented, using the appropriate online conferencing platforms.

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