Mannequins are beige, alert the sand dunes!

It is three weeks later, the sun is still shining, darkness still falls over the land and the birds are still noisy. In short, life has moved on – even the aftertaste is slowly but quickly fading.

Writivism saw the meeting of some of the continent’s most talented literary minds. I say some because there were some who were obviously missing (sigh Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, one day we shall meet…) and also because I believe there are many authors out there who couldn’t make it, have not heard of the festival or have not yet been discovered.

Truth be told, it’s been a while since I have made the time to soak in and indulge in my literary passion. One week of shamelessly buying more books, while picking up and putting back others that my heart was tempting me to own. Most evenings were spent listening to authors read and perform some of their work, others spent discussion our reaction to certain themes.

Some themes that stuck with me revolved around Francophone Africa and Decolonization. As I write this, I am sipping my favorite Blackcurrant Bracer tea courtesy of the London Fruit and Herb company. No, the irony is not lost on me, but rather, it’s the realisation that I take no notice when I am reaching out for F&H instead of Mpanga or Kericho. When I’m stuck in traffic and to pass the time I resort to taxi-window shopping, I mostly notice the clothes and never the color of the mannequin. The issue of colonisation outside of my social studies class, is not one that has ever come up. Until Writivism, that is.

Panashe Chigumadzi remarked on this during Zukiswa Wanner’s keynote, about how even though we are one continent, we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss another’s struggles just because where we are from, that particular struggle is not one people deal with.

Also for the first time, I encountered the word decolonisation and how we are subtly losing certain aspects of our story without even realising it.

This was also a week when it dawned on me that there are certain sections of Africa that do not speak English – pause mind blowing isn’t it? An African who thinks everyone in Africa understands English… This is especially embarrassing for me, seeing as I spent some time in Rwanda. And perhaps, it is just me, but there has been an underrepresentation of Francophone Africa – where underrepresentation is open to interpretation. While there still some kinks, it was awesome to see and hear questions being asked in French.

The last really cool highlight for me, was titles. For some reason, and I have no idea where I picked this up from – I have always believed that I needed to keep the title short, sweet and relevant. I always believed that a title should not be a sentence on it’s own. As you can see from previous posts, I have since let go of such beliefs. What is my new belief? A title can in some way represent the story or certain aspects of it or sometimes, just make it a fun title and give the readers a good laugh.

All in all, it was an amazing week well spent!

Read more from Kirabo here.

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