COVID-19 forces Aké Festival to go virtual with ‘African Time’

Aké Arts and Book Festival.

By Joshua Olomu
Organisers of the annual Aké Arts and Book Festival say the 2020 edition of the literary fiesta with the theme ‘Africa Time’ will be held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lola Shoneyin Director and Founder of the festival disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

According to the organisers, the festival is scheduled to hold from Oct. 22 to Oct. 25, showcasing programme of 65 inspiring book chats, workshops, panel discussions and performances from voices across Africa and Africans in the Diaspora.

Shoneyin said: “Our world has changed forever; the magnitude of recent world events cannot be ignored.
“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 News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Aké Arts and Book Festival, now in its 8th edition is reputed to be the world’s largest collection of African creative voices on African soil.

The festival hosts some of the most sought-after and innovative voices in black thought.
Guests for this year’s edition include Wole Soyinka, Maryse Conde, Tayari Jones, Esi Edugyan, Marlon James, Petina Gappah, Kehinde Andrews, and Elias Wondimu.

Others also include Zukiswa Wanner, Molara Wood, Bolu Babalola, Okechukwu Nzelu.

The 2020 edition is scheduled to cover a wide range of issues including intersectional feminism, “blacktivism’’ and colourism to the burgeoning post-COVID mental health crisis and decolonisation of black spaces.

The theme: “African Time’’ is in recognition of the global anti-racism movement that has gathered momentum and visibility in recent months. (NAN)

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