I’ve been reading Noo Saro-Wiwa‘s Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria (Granta) in snatches, hoping to complete it ahead of her Nigeria Now session during the Africa Utopia festival at the Southbank Center. I have mixed feelings about what I’ve read so far and am looking forward to hearing the author discuss the book in her own words. I’m so dedicated to attending the event that I’m trying to sort out the logistics of zig-zaging from East to West and back to Central-East London from work to cooking class to the Southbank center to ensure my attendance. I came across an interview she gave to an Australian Radio Show about the book here, for anyone interested.
Of the 45 events in the month-long Africa Utopia festival, I’ve highlighted some of the ones that caught my eye below. Additional information on Africa Utopia is available on the Southbank Centre’s website.
Africa Utopia is a month-long festival of music, theatre, film, literature, dance, fashion, talks and debates programmed by Southbank Centre in conjunction with renowned Senegalese singer and human-rights campaigner Baaba Maal, as part of Southbank Centre’s Festival of the World with MasterCard.
Cherchez la Curl’s Picks from Africa Utopia
- Caine Prize Reading July 1, 2012: Five authors shortlisted for the Caine Prize in African literature will read and discuss their nominated works
- African Writers’ Evening July 3, 2012 : A panel of African authors discuss the “limitations of borders in the imaginative landscape of the African writer”. Panelists include José Eduardo Agualusa (Angola) and Dinaw Mengestu (Ethiopia)
- Putting the African into African American July 3, 2012: American author Gary Younge explores what it has really meant to have an African in the White House (sidebar: sounds very interesting)
- Nigeria Now July 4, 2012: Noo Saro-Wiwa and Chika Unigwe explore the complexities of Nigeria, a country of economic dynamism, corruption and and also a giant literary heritage
- Africa Sci-Fi Screening July 4, 2012: Explores how science fiction is applied to narratives situated in the African continent, and how artists from outside the continent imagine a futurist African landscape
- Africa is not a Country: Reporting Africa July 20, 2012: Panelists discuss the perception gap between how Africa is reported and the reality of the continent (sidebar: this is a free event and will hopefully generate a lot of interesting discussion)
- Africa and the Technology Revolution July 20, 2012: Panelists discuss technology’s role in boosting entrepreneurship and empowering communities in Africa
- Africa on the Catwalk July 21, 2012: In collaboration with Ola Shobowale and Arise Magazine Fashion Director Sabrina Henry, a selection of fashion designers originating from/inspired by Africa will be on display
- Art Connect: Contemporary African art and Global art market July 21, 2012 Hosted by Tiwani Contemporary distinguished artists and curators discuss contemporary African art and the global art market (sidebar: Tiwani is a lovely gallery in Soho curating contemporary African art. If you’re ever in London, check it out! P.S. this event is free!)
- Imagining Africa: A Granta Salon July 21, 2012 Writers and artists including Yinka Shonibare and Aminatta Fornaexplore how the realities of life across the continent find expression through art, film and writing. Hosted by Granta magazine. (sidebar: once, I almost bumped into Yinka Shonibare on my way out of Tiwani. It took all of what I had in me to not squeal in complete fan-girl delight).
- Nollywood or Bust: Africa at the Movies July 21, 2012 A panel from the Nollywood and British film industry discuss the future of African cinema
- Afrikan Yoga July 21, 2012 The founder of the Afrikan yoga method, Pablo Imani, leads a unique yoga class to the rhythm of a beating African drum(sidebar: I’d love to attend but don’t want to have to walk around the Southbank centre with that post yoga sweaty “glow”)
- More than Zebra Print: Africa Fashion Panel July22, 2012 Panelists including ARISE magazine editor Helen Jennings and fashion blogger One Nigerian Boy talk fashion, Africa and fabulousness (sidebar: I’m so there! I love me some ONB!)
- Women, Inspiration & Leadership July 22, 2012 Panelists including the legendary Angelique Kidjo and blogger Ms Afropolitan discuss women, inspiration and leadership (sidebar: I’m so there! I love me some Angelique!)
- African Headwrap Workshop July 22, 2012 No further description required, and almost mandatory for folks like me who haven’t a clue about how to tie a proper gele
The above is just a short curation of the 45 (!) events in the Africa Utopia festival. Check out the Southbank Centre for additional information and ticketing.