sway with me before this altar,
left leg first… and then the right,
as we sink into this abyssthe ònàkakañfò facade.
Do you have reservations about the way African creative discuss mental health? What is your opinion about mental health issues and do you think this affects the way we tell our stories? We want you to create timeless pieces by making a blend of mental health and storytelling.
Do you have reservations about the African Identity? Why do you think African History matters? Who should be the custodian of our stories and how do our identity shape our thoughts? We want you to create timeless pieces by making a blend of history and the African Identity.
Nnedi Okorafor defines Africanfuturism as “a sub-category of science fiction that is similar to ‘Afrofuturism’ but more deeply rooted in African culture, history, mythology, and point-of-view as it then branches into the Black diaspora, and it does not privilege or center the West.”
Here at TVO TRIBE,
We believe Africanfuturism transcends science fiction. We want interested writers, poets, scribblers, and artists to explore what Africanfuturism specifically means to them. Do you think Africa is evolving or not? What are your projections for Africa? We want you to create timeless pieces by making a blend of African culture, history, myths, and literature.
In the month of May,
TVO tribe will be talking about Africanfuturism. We will attempt to explore all of its mysterious depths and lay bare its many hidden layers. You are an important part of this discussion, and so we urge you to join us.
Dissect this theme with us.
Write your opinions laden with facts about Africanfuturism, express yourself artistically by making submissions relating to the theme. Write to us aesthetics, contents, and everything that lies in between. TVO TRIBE is a safe space and we are open to everyone. We accept articles, poems, personal accounts, stories, creative nonfiction, and photos that relate to the theme.
We want to read your fears, the things that please you, your beautiful writings, the ones that are stuck in your throat like a fishbone. Show us the pieces you think are deviants and the ones that conform to rules. Send us everything you have!
We encourage you to be as expressive as possible, stylistically pleasing while creating aesthetic pieces as your submission. Please check our submission guidelines for further details.
Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deadline: 1st May, 2021
For more info, please visit: www.tvotribe.com/contributions
I am Temitope Komolafe, a student of Medicine and Surgery in University of Ibadan. I am a very spiritual person and I believe God is and should be the integral factor in life. I write and specialize in screenwriting. I love reading and am very open to learning from everything because I have come to discover that the more we know, the more we discover how much we don’t know
by Testimony Soyoye
African spirituality simply acknowledges that beliefs and practices touch on and inform every facet of human life, and therefore African religion cannot be separated from the everyday or mundane.” – Jacob Olupona.
The theme of religion and spirituality in Africa has been amongst the most recurring themes in precolonial, colonial, and post-colonial literature. Religion and spirituality though intertwined are two distinct entities.
Religion is a set of beliefs and practices that individuals believe in and adhere to the belief that practicing such religion would mold one into a better person. Spirituality, as defined by The Cambridge Dictionary is “the quality that involves deep feelings and beliefs of a religious nature, rather than the physical parts of life.”
How do religion and spirituality feature in African literature?
A few African writers like Ngugi Wa Thiong’o have attempted to feature the themes of religion and spirituality in their books. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o in his book The River Between explained that though colonialism has brought about a different religion and way of life, we are still enjoined to hold fast to our religious values.
Are African religious practices as barbaric as people think?
It is quite unfortunate that most Africans believe that practicing their own religion would be tantamount to being involved in barbaric practices. We can see this exemplified by Joshua, Nyamburi’s father in the book, The River Between. He secludes his children to keep them from being influenced by the people practicing the religion of the Gukuyi tribe. It might be true that some of our cultural norms might not be necessary. However, we do not have to deny that our religion is an integral part of our society.
Whatever choices we make, whatever religious path we might choose to walk, let us all remember that we are Africans and the blood of our ancestors runs through our veins; from the first worshippers of Obatala, a Yoruba god to Zuku worshippers, a god that is believed to originate from Southern Africa. We all have a duty to end the downplay of our religion and spirituality in our stories, in our collective narrative.
by Peace Osemwengie
African literature may be divided into three phases: pre-colonial, colonial, post-colonial. All of these phases have influenced how African literature is seen, read, and understood. These phases have also affected the various themes that are constituent to African literature. Some of these themes include immigration, government, gender equality, feminism, poverty, etc.
Immigration may have arisen as a theme in African literature because of the experiences of African authors who had to leave their native homes and face what it means to be black in a white world. Immigration in African literature may have become a theme as a result of the disconnect that second generation Africans in diaspora feel when they visit the motherland. It may also have risen as a result of the absence of books that accurately explain the African experience on the global scene.
This theme, immigration, may be called a sister to negritude, may also be known as migritude, but some regard it as an opposition to Pan- Africanism. In the reality of it, it is not. Afrodiasporic literature proves this. During the later years of colonial literature, Soyinka, Achebe, and Ngugi wrote about how the white man’s forceful introduction into African regions dispossessed the people of their traditions, their culture, and essentially, their life. Their writings attempted to tell the story of Africa from the African perspective, and they did so, successfully. Yes, they were educated by the white man, but their art reflected the true nature of themselves, Africans.
Today, afrodiasporic literature, or as we want to call it, the immigrant theme in African literature attempts to explain the struggles, the disconnect, the elusiveness of balance, that Africans experience in their new global home. There are a great many afrodisaporic authors today, who have, in their various ways, celebrated their Africanness in their writings. Some of them include Alain Mabanckou, Fatou Diome, Chigozie Obioma, Chimamanda Adichie, NoViolet Bulawayo, among others. It should also be mentioned some of these authors have a love-hate relationship with Africa.
Some have said afropolitanism is perhaps too simple in its approach to the acceptance of Africans globally. While this is subject to debate, the writings of authors like Okey Ndibe, Chika Unigwe, NoViolet Bulawayo, and Chimamanda Adichie show that immigration is not as glamorous as it seems. There are questions that may not have answers, and then there’s the question of identity: who is the black person in the middle of this?
Chigozie Obioma injects the metaphysical into his narration of immigrant experiences in his book, An Orchestra of Minorities. Binyavanga Wainana’s How to write about Africa is sarcastic in its delivery of the African narrative from the non–African perspective. In Homegoing, Yaa Gyasi tells how balance is often skewered and how that balance must be achieved. Taiye Selasie in Ghana Must Go shows how the heart longs for home, even when home is inaccessible, and how this may cause rifts in the family system. Adichie in Americanah chronicles what it means to be a black immigrant and how cultures clash, and how often black questions are left unanswered.
Immigration in African literature is an important theme in the current phase of African literature that we are in. It is the training, and retraining of African passions and the telling of African stories to global ears.
by Peace Osemwengie
Before Flora Nwapa wrote Efuru in 1966, there were no books in African literature that reflected the woman as a force to be reckoned with. In the books that were written before that time, the woman was the one saddled with the duty of bearing children, nursing them, and telling them their ultimate duty: to never risk the displeasure of their father. It was the woman that was being punished for her ills in her previous life, so she could not give birth to children in the present. It was the woman that was the bad egg, a bad wife was equal to poison. A woman was useless if she did not center her life around her husband. She was forbidden, as though it were a grievous sin, to resist his efforts to getting more children to secure his lineage, her job was to keep quiet and herd the other women around. She was to be grateful if her husband came into her hut at all, and be content if he bothered to show up once a week. Her menstrual cycle was a taboo subject, much like in the bible, she’d bear the plague alone, and termed unclean.
Were this portrayal of the female gender and the sexuality of women a deliberate attempt?
Some experts argue against and some say yes. Some say that it was this portrayal of women as weak that gave rise to feminist literature. Feminist literature, which some consider a genre or sub-genre of literature is neither a genre nor sub-genre. It is rather a form of literature that is written by feminists to correct the impressions that male writers, sadly in their explanation of the female gender, lent weight to the evils of and dominance of patriarchy.
Does this mean that women were not at all revered in African literature?
Quite the contrary. In Africa’s oral traditions, or what some prefer to call pre-colonial literature, women were highly respected, women were revered as queens, as warriors. Examples include Queen Amina of Zaria, Idia of the Bini Kingdom, and Queen Moremi of Ife. Women determined if other women gave birth as in the case of fertility goddesses, women determined if the harvest would be fruitful or not, as in the case of Ala, the Igbo goddess of the earth. It leaves us the question,
what happened in the colonial years?
We do not know. Perhaps the worship of goddesses declined as organized and foreign religion spread. Perhaps the religions that came and interpreted the role of women to the background began the disregard of women across all spheres. We know, however, that if something was hard for men, it was twice as hard for women. In the dying days of the colonial era, when Achebe decided to tell Africa’s story from Africa’s perspective, he told it as it were. Not deliberately kicking women to the curb, but only emphasizing their role as he could. Perhaps this was the beginning of the portrayal of women as beings who could not find themselves unless they were tied to a man. Women whose sun rose and set on the heels of a man. Perhaps it was tradition, perhaps it was a deeply set form of patriarchy, we cannot say for sure.
But, soon enough, after most African countries gained their independence, the tides began to turn. Even as the feminist wave and the civil rights era kicked in around the world and activism began to knock on the doors of writers. Women realized that their stories had to be told from their own perspective. Women had to crucify themselves, bury themselves, and raise themselves healed. Women knew that if they allowed men to write their stories, their daughters, and indeed the daughters of Africa would not be the force that they are today.
The Women Coalition
This awakening birthed Flora Nwapa, Mariama Ba, Buchi Emecheta, Nadine Gordimer, Ama Ata Aidoo, Chimamanda Adichie, Marguerite Abouet, Lola Shoneyin, Yaa Gyasi, NoViolet Bulawayo, Jennifer Makumbi, Nawal El Sadaawi, and all the other women who have defined African literature. These women have defined women by women for the world to see. Because of them, women are not afraid to be themselves anymore. Some might call it a feminist coalition, but it is indeed because of these women that girls from Africa can own themselves, can be their full selves without shame or remorse.