“To have a legacy, you must stand for something.”
Keynote speaker and respected author Taban Lo Liyong offers this piece of wisdom at the The Writivism Festival, Uganda’s leading literary event, which brings African writers to Kampala every year! The weekend-long festival includes presentations from guest speakers, readings, lectures, film screenings, and more. The event wraps up with an award show that honors rising authors.
Each year, the festival centers around a specific theme. This year’s theme was on legacy and authors were encouraged to “think about how the past is remembered, negotiated and adapted to inform the present and future.”
Six authors had their works selected for award– each of whom stand up for something in their work and are paving the way to creating their own legacies.
Here are the six stories shortlisted for awards at the Writivism Festival:
“Belonging” by Chisanga Mukuka
It may not seem like a small green-and-gold booklet could hold so much power, but Zambian writer Chisanga Mukuka knows otherwise. Her nonfiction piece explores her own experiences with passports, visas, immigration, public harassment, and her difficult journeys home.
“Women Who Bleed Colours” by Ope Adedeji
Ope Adedeji’s life has been shaped by the presence of women. This story shows the powerful influences of Adedeji’s mother, grandmother, and a woman only she could see. Through her story, Adedeji also expresses how gender inequality has affected her.
“The Child and its Many Faces” by Karis Onyemenam
Nigerian author Karis Onyemenam has seen a child many times throughout her life. She’s seen the child through multiple surgeries to fix her femur, learning German, learning to ski, and other moments in her life. Identity crises and harsh interactions with others have, as the name implies, given this child many different faces.
“Hopes and Dreams” by Mbogo Ireri
Anastacia’s father dies suddenly one morning. As his family deals with this loss, a tale of corruption and the struggle against it unfolds. This fictional story, set in Mbogo Ireri’s home of Kenya, takes a personal look at abusive political forces and the toll it takes on takes on its citizens.
“The Photograph” by Mali Kambandu
Memory, an avid art lover, explores galleries in her spare time, which is of no interest to her husband Gibson. When Memory discovers a new photograph in the gallery, her relationship with her husband and with art suddenly changes. Zambian author Mali Kambandu dives deeply into this couple’s relationship to see it as it truly is.
“A River Ends in an Ocean” by Obinna Jones
Nigerian author Obinna Jones shifts between two different perspectives and times in his short story. The story’s narrative shifts between Ágbọnmágbè, who is being released from prison, and his son Jide, who’s dealing with his father’s arrest months before. Jones takes a critical eye to wealth and how it affects family bonds.