African Storytelling: A case of 3 Top Journals setting the pace.
When we think contemporary, we think current, outside-the-box and maybe a little bit avant-garde with a dash of excitement.
All things contemporary forces us to look inwards, to question our beliefs and hopes; because in every character’s struggle we see ourselves. Our values reflect through their eyes, thereby, making us challenge the choices we’ve made so far.
Writers like Chimamanda Adichie and Chinua Achebe have shaped our thoughts. They have helped in carving our perspective of life from the personal to the current and even issues that are largely socioeconomic.
African Literary Journals are channels for blending culture into the contemporary where elements sway from the conservative and vivacious to the bold or demure; shocking our imagination with different flavours yet drawing each of us into a world where our senses come alive. Every journal may differ and yet each of them opens our eyes to societal issues, whether love,family, politics, social and economic trends.
Contemporary literature wields enormous power. Listed below are three of the most outstanding journals. They have successfully shaped contemporary African Literature.
Chimurenga is a Shona word. It means Liberation. Hearing the interpretation ‘liberation’ tells you what the journal stands for.
It was founded in 2002 by Ntone Edjobe, a Cameroonian DJ known for rebellious undertones in his music, literature and politics.
At the time, Africans could be found in groups holding animated discussions about life, politics and social reforms. These discussions inspired Edjabe and gave birth to his journal, Chimurenga.
Chimurenga’s unique flavour lies in its ability to create various mediums of literature; The Chronicle which is styled like a newspaper, The African Cities Reader which is centred on urban lifestyle and the PanAfrican Station(an online radio and studio).
Writers like Percy Zuomuya, Chimamanda Adichie, Stacy Hardy, Wainana and Lebo Machile have all been published in this upbeat and engaging journal.
Let’s dive into Jalada. This is a digital platform where exciting topics like futurism, sex and insanity can be found, a journal that holds no bars making it ideal for anyone looking for something experimental and adventurous.
It all began when a team of writers from across Africa decided to self-publish on their websites. This innovation got so much acceptance that other writers requested to be published as well.
The rest, they say, is history.
You can find names like TsiTsi Jaji, Novujo Tshuma, Moses Kilolo, Mehul Gohil and so many great writers featured on Jalada.
This is a Nigerian based journal founded in 1957. Known to be the first African Literary Journal to be printed in English, it has featured great cultural writers like Abiola Irele, Wole Soyinka and Eskia Mphahlele on its editorial.
This journal came as a lifeline to Africans who needed a roundtable to enjoy and promote each other’s work. Writers like Ama ata Aidoo, Christopher Okigbo and Chinua Achebe have all featured at one time or the other in this journal.
Its popularity spread when writers who spoke Portuguese, French and Spanish were accepted and their work translated into English to reach a wider audience. Therefore its not surprising to find household names Birago Diop, Leopold Senghor and Aimee Cesaire have appeared in this pacesetter journal.