Writing

A Valentine’s Day Anthology Of African Romance From Ankara Press

African romance imprint Ankara Press will publish a digital anthology of love stories by Binyavanga Wainaina and more for Valentine's Day.


Ankara Press, the new romance novel-focused imprint of groundbreaking Nigerian publishing house Cassava Republic Press, announced earlier this week that they will be releasing a free digital anthology of love stories in celebration of Valentine's Day. The special collection will feature short stories from seven contemporary African writers alongside audio recordings and translations of each story into the different language spoken by its contributing author, including Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Egbira, Kiswahili, Kikuyu, Kpelle and French.

The forthcoming anthology will feature narratives from Kenyan memoirist and TIME 100 honoree Binyavanga Wainaina, and award-winning Nigerian authors Toni Kan, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Chuma Nwokolo Abubakar, and Adam Ibrahim. Literary newcomers Edwige-Renée Dro of Cote d' Ivoire and Liberia's Hawa Jande Golaka have also penned original stories for the anthology.

Co-founder and publishing director of Ankara Press Bibi Bakare-Yusuf remarked that the project will allow African readers interested in modern romance stories "to read and hear what romancing in different languages might sound like and mean, as well as showing how romance can break away from the genre stereotypes and still be entertaining." The Valentine's Day anthology will be available for free digital download on the Ankara Press website on Saturday, February 14th. For more, keep up with Ankara Press on Twitter and Facebook.

Update: February 14, 2015: Download the Ankara Press Valentine's Day Anthology 2015 here.

Valentine's Day 2016 Update: Today, Ankara Press released their first print books in the company's two year existence. The six print titles are: A Tailor-made Romance by Oyindamola Affinnih, Black Sparkle Romance by Amara Nicole Okolo, A Taste of Love by Sifa Gowon, Love’s Persuasion by Ola Awonubi, Finding Love Again by Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam and Elevator Kiss by Amina Thula.

They also released two new e-books today: The Seeing Place by Aziza Eden Walker and Love Next Door by Amina Thula.

Music

6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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