By Gabriel Myers Hansen
The eighth edition of Aké Festival, a literary and arts expo held in Nigeria, is scheduled to take place virtually from 22 to 25 October.
- Aké Festival founder Lola Shoneyin.
Aké Festival is a forum to highlight creative voices on the continent and in the African diaspora. It was founded by Nigerian writer Lola Shoneyin in 2013.
This year, the event will run under the theme, African Time, in honour of the global anti-racism movement. The four-day schedule includes 27 panel discussions, 20 author talks, storytelling sessions, workshops, poetry performances, a concert, film screenings and a stage play.
This year’s speakers comprise about 130 authors, artists and creatives, including Tayari Jones, Emma Dabiri, Mona Eltahawy, Jessica Horn, Marlon James, Esi Edugyan, Wole Soyinka, Derek Owusu, Afua Hirsch, Poetra Asantewa and Stella Nyanzi. They will discuss the notions of intersectional feminism, blacktivism and colourism in the burgeoning post-COVID-19 mental health crisis, and the decolonisation of black spaces.
Blackman Akeeb Kareem, Fatoumata Daiwara, Falana, Beautiful Nubia, Urban Village, Maia & the Big Sky, Bab L’ Bluz, Akua Naru, Joyce Olong and Christine Obiamalu are among musicians who will perform at the festival.
“Our world has changed forever. The magnitude of recent world events cannot be ignored,” Shoneyin said. “In 1918, African nations were in the clutches of imperial forces that degraded our stories, culture, history, language and belief systems. More than a century later, the COVID-19 pandemic finds Africa struggling with the colonial hangover of poor leadership and a predatory global order.
“Now is the time for Africa to recalibrate and break the cycle of betrayal by those elected to lead. It may have come later than hoped for, but, for the children of Africa everywhere, this is African Time.”
The organisers expect that the online edition of the festival, which is free to access by audiences across the world, will serve as a valuable intersection for strategic cultural and intellectual discussions, and a celebration of black excellence, resistance and resilience.