I write this message a month before the elections with a prayer on my lips that we will observe Black Peace before, during and after 8th August, no matter who is voted in or out. Recent elections on the continent, and beyond, have been fraught with class, gender, ideological, migration, religious extremist and other fault lines. The resulting suffering, discrimination, misrepresentation and shrinkage of opportunities for Black people in so many parts of the world underlines the importance of Black Peace – this year’s festival theme.
The 2017 Storymoja Festival will create spaces to explore how Black people can live in peace and dignity, with themselves and with others, in Africa and beyond, despite all these challenges. Yes, in festival conversations and other events, Black Peace will be explored in an open and forward thinking way with artists, poets, writers, musicians, comedians, diplomats, dreamers, dramatists and activists, whose work connects mind and soul and touches people in ways that others cannot.
Celebrating books and those who write them is a necessary act that affirms the increasing value that the African continent places on managing its narrative. An Africa that speaks for itself, that showcases its own, and rejoices in the work of its content creators is a stronger Africa. It is also an Africa that places knowledge and inter-African communication on the higher rungs of our values ladder.
May Black Peace ring loud and true at the 2017 International Storymoja Festival. See you there!