SOAS University of London

SOAS Centre of African Studies to host panel on race, empathy and solidarity politics in Africa

14 May 2019

The Centre of African Studies at SOAS University of London in partnership with Books & Rhymes will be hosting the panel discussion: “Bọ́lẹ̀kájà to Bọ́lẹ̀kásọ̀rọ̀”: Why I'm No Longer Talking To Nigerians About Race".

"Bọ́lẹ̀kájà to Bọ́lẹ̀kásọ̀rọ̀" is taken as an invitation to move from “fighting about” to “talking through” some of the difficult conversations on race, blackness, Africanness, empathy and solidarity politics in the diaspora that came out of Panashe Chigumadzi’s much circulated essay “Why I’m No Longer Talking to Nigerians About Race: On writers, empathy and (black) solidarity politics”.

Chigumadzi will be joined by Eliza Anyangwe (Cameroon), Fatimah Kelleher (Nigeria) and Ebissé Wakjira-Rouw (Ethiopia) .The event, held at SOAS, will be moderated by Sarah Ozo-Irabor (Nigeria), host of Books & Rhymes, the podcast for an open and honest conversation about the less-often discussed topic of intra-African race relation. More importantly, given the historic erasure of women's contributions to black and African intellectual history, this conversation will be led by an all women panel.

About the Panelists:

Ebissé Wakjira-Rouw is an Ethiopian-born non-fiction editor, podcaster, publisher and policy advisor based in the Netherlands. In 2015, she co-founded Dipsaus Podcast - which has since expanded into an online magazine, and as of 2019 will be publishing books together with Uitgeverij Pluim. She edited the anthology “BLACK: Afro-European Literature in the Low Countries” (Dutch), first of its kind available in the Dutch language. She also works as a policy advisor at the Dutch Council for Culture.

Eliza Anyangwe is a journalist and the founder of The Nzinga Effect, a media project focused on telling the stories of African and Afro-descendant women. She was born in Cameroon, raised in several countries across Africa, and is based in London. Eliza guest lectures at IULM in Milan, is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, and writes a newsletter called Griot Girl. She was recently appointed Managing Editor of The Correspondent.

Fatimah Kelleher is a Nigerian-born and Irish-British feminist and women’s rights technical adviser/strategist engaged in feminist advocacy, research and analysis across economic justice and empowerment, education, health, and women’s political participation.

Panashe Chigumadzi is an essayist and novelist, born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa. Her 2015 debut novel Sweet Medicine (Blackbird Books) won the 2016 K. Sello Duiker Literary Award. Her second book, These Bones Will Rise Again (The Indigo Press), a reflection on Robert Mugabe’s ouster, was published in June 2018. A columnist for The New York Times, and contributing editor of the Johannesburg Review of Books, her work has featured in titles including The Guardian, Chimurenga, Africa is A Country, Transition, Washington Post and Die Ziet.

Sarah Ozo-Irabor is a culture critic and digital content creator. She utilises new media to engage in honest, insightful, and accessible discussions on literature and reading culture. She is the creator and host of Books & Rhymes, the podcast that “flips the script with a musical twist on your favourite books”. Sarah has been featured on BBC Open Book, Edinburgh Literary festival, Africa Writes Festival; she has partnered with Africa Utopia, Media Diversified, and several organisations and media outlets.

This event will be held on 21 May from 7pm. To find out more, visit the event site.