The F-Word Storytelling Conversations At Ake Festival 2017

The F-Word Storytelling Conversations At Ake Festival 2017

Ake Book and Art Festival is reputed as the biggest literary festival in Africa, an annual event that pools all and sundry within the creative literati to the rocky hills of Abeokuta. The AKEFEST as it is popularly dubbed is five days of cultural and literary immersion which features writers, poets, activists, artists, thinkers amongst others. It is driven by the focus to promote and celebrate creativity across Africa while exploring diverse genres.

Ake Art and Book Festival 2017 which is notably the fifth edition themed “This F-Word” was no doubt a platform to ably dissect and also celebrate the ever burgeoning subject matter “Feminism” via series of panel discussions, book chats, storytelling performances, short films, musical concert, spoken word party, art exhibition amidst others.

Storytelling is the fine art of sharing stories as a way of conveying information to entertain and enlighten people. Stories help us to connect with who we are while providing the tools either real or imagined to navigate what is really important in our lives. There are stories everywhere, in fact everyday conversations present us with real life storytelling.

AKEFEST2017 featured some enthralling storytelling sessions which were certainly breath-taking, “The Illusion of Truth” by Mara Menzies, Kenyan/Scottish performance storyteller explored 2 stories from both East and West African cultures in her witty yet engaging style. The first story was a Kenyan narrative about how the Gikuyu women were not permitted to eat meat, but one’s woman’s pursuit of the truth leads her to confront this misogynistic tradition amidst several opposition from the community.

Imagine the characters of a book coming alive and telling their own stories, Maimouna Jallow delivered a charming performance of “The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives” as it chronicles the live of Baba Segi as he tries to find the root cause of his fourth wife, Bolanle ‘s infertility. A riveting tale of love, deception, betrayal, and friendship, the audience were mesmerized as she performed four amazing characters portrayed by Baba Segi’s wives.

The festival which was headlined by acclaimed author, playwright and feminist Ama Ata Aidoo was undoubtedly an opportunity to encourage solidarity among creative women as they shared stories about their individual journeys and success feats, while unravelling ways of scaling over barriers that women encounter in Africa. Other women present at the festival include Egyptian author and writer, Mona Eltahawy, Jessica Horn, Nnedi Okoroafor, Pumla Gqola, Zinzi Clemmons, Diana Awerbuck, Zukiswa Warner, Bim Adwunmi, Leyla Hussein and Yolanda Mercy.


Written By: Torinmo Salau

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November 28th, 2017

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