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Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, African Keniota writer, Italy, 17th May 2015.

Kenyan Author Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Nominated for 2021 International Booker Prize

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o has become the first writer to be nominated for the prestigious International Booker Prize as both author and translator. He is also the first nominee to write in an indigenous African language.

Veteran Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'ohas recently been nominated for the prestigious 2021 International Booker Prize for his novel The Perfect Nine. His nomination is a historic one in several notable ways. Firstly, he is the first writer to ever be nominated in the categories of both author and translator. Additionally, he is the first nominee ever to have written a work in an indigenous African language—Gikuyu, the native language of millions of Kenyans in the central parts of the country.


READ: Outrage as the BBC Refers to Joint Booker Prize Winner Bernardine Evaristo as 'Another Author'

Wa Thiong'o's novel, which was published in October of last year, has been described by this year's judging panel as "a magisterial and poetic tale about women's place in a society of gods," according to The Guardian. The novel is a mythical and allegorical tale of the Gĩkũyũ founders who are seeking to find suitors for their beautiful daughters.

Wa Thiong'o's nomination for this year's International Booker Prize is well-deserved. The Kenyan author's numerous and remarkable works, which include A Grain of Wheat, Devil on the Cross, Birth of a Dream Weaver and more, have been continuously snubbed over the years for arguably the ultimate honour and recognition—the Nobel Literature Prize.

This year, wa Thiong'o is nominated alongside 12 other authors whose works span 11 languages and who hail from 12 countries across the world. Previous winners of the prize include British-Nigerian author, Bernadine Evaristo, who became the first Black woman ever to be awarded the prize for her novel Girl, Woman, Other.

The full Booker Prize longlist for this year is as follows:

I Live in the Slums by Can Xue, translated from Chinese by Karen Gernant and Chen Zeping (Yale University Press)

At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, translated from French by Anna Moschovakis (Pushkin Press)

The Pear Field by Nana Ekvtimishvili, translated from Georgian by Elizabeth Heighway (Peirene Press)

The Dangers of Smoking in Bed by Mariana Enríquez, translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell (Granta Books)

When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín Labatut, translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West (Pushkin Press)

The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gikuyu and Mumbi by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, translated from Gikuyu by the author (Harvill Secker)

The Employees by Olga Ravn, translated from Danish by Martin Aitken (Lolli Editions)

Summer Brother by Jaap Robben, translated from Dutch by David Doherty (World Editions)

An Inventory of Losses by Judith Schalansky, translated from German by Jackie Smith (Quercus)

Minor Detail by Adania Shibli, translated from Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

In Memory of Memory by Maria Stepanova, translated from Russian by Sasha Dugdale (Fitzcarraldo Editions)

Wretchedness by Andrzej Tichý, translated from Swedish by Nichola Smalley (And Other Stories)

The War of the Poor by Éric Vuillard, translated from French by Mark Polizzotti (Pan Macmillan)

Music

Listen to a Fela Kuti Tribute Album Featuring D'Angelo, Questlove, Nile Rodgers​ & More

2002's Red Hot + Riot albumis available on streaming platforms for the first time.

Red Hot has made the their Fela Kutitribute album Red Hot + Riot available for the first time on all streaming platforms to mark its 20th anniversary.

Red Hot + Riot features notable contributions from an all-star guest ensemble that includes D’Angelo, Questlove, Femi Kuti, Talib Kweli, Sade, Tony Allen, Macy Gray, Nile Rodgers, Jorge Ben Jor, Baba Maal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dead Prez, Kelis, Roy Hargrove, Archie Shepp, and many others.

The updated 20th anniversary version includes bonus material including a remastered version of the entire project. The project also includes a cover of “Sorrow Tears & Blood” by Bilal, an acoustic version of “Trouble Sleep” with Baba Maal accompanied by the legendary kora player Kaouding Cissoko and an extended version of Sade’s “By Your Side” by Stuart Matthewman.

The original album had to be heavily edited to fit the time limit of a physical CD. This new version includes a vast amount of bonus material that includes an extended versions of many tracks, including early mixes, acapellas, instrumentals and more.

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Poet Hafizah Augustus Geter Is Reclaiming her Story

Through her groundbreaking memoir, The Black Period: On Personhood, Race, and Origin, the Nigerian American author shares the many layers of her existence as the queer daughter of an immigrant.

"History was neither a marvel nor a mile marker, it was something we made every day between our hands." -- Hafizah Augustus Geter

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Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Travel Diary: The Warmth & Beauty of Senegal is Unparalleled

In OkayAfrica's latest Travel Diary, Nigerian photographer and storyteller Sope Adelaja heads to Senegal to learn what it's like to embrace the "Teraanga" lifestyle.

After about 10 hours of flying and stopovers I landed in the city of Dakar, Senegal at about 11pm. I approached immigration to have my passport stamped and then proceeded to get my luggage. I immediately noticed that almost everyone spoke French and very few people understood English. I understand little French, so I knew then that it was going to be a struggle. With the help of Google Translate, I was able to then negotiate and hire a cab to drop me off at my residence for the night.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

The language barrier was not as much of as an obstacle as I thought it would be. This largely had to do with the generosity and warmness shown by the community during my visit.

Senegal is known as the “ Land of Teraanga." Teraanga, which is a Wolof word, is often defined as meaning “ hospitality." But that is a very loose way of translating it. It's so much more complex than that. It is a process of discovery and expression. It is a way of Life. Teraanga is aimed at showcasing a narrative of hospitality and beauty that exists across different cultures.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Unity over adversity is a running theme of Saint-Louis, a town located on an island at the mouth of the Senegal river. It is an outstanding example of a colonial city by its natural setting and colonial architecture which gives it a distinctive appearance and identity. (These features are why the island is on UNESCO's World Heritage Site list.)

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Saint-Louis is a city that will charm you. Beyond tourism, this community has come to embody its resourceful spirits. A big part of the way of life is fishing. It is the main occupation of people living in Saint-Louis, also known to the locals as Ndar.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

When shooting in Africa, it’s easy to lean on visual crutches — like ornate jewelry or bright, striking clothing. But that’s only skimming the visual surface of the community of people. Digging deeper requires an extended stay, as well as collaborating with locals who have grown up in the area.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

In the course of digging deeper, i discovered Ndar had a lot more to offer beyond beautiful aesthetics, very rich culture, and history it holds strong remains of past colonial times.

Next up was Gorée Island and the destination is an exceptional testimony to one of the greatest tragedies in the history of humanity: slave trade. Even with its complicated history, Over the years, Gorée Island has become a well known destination, with figures like Nelson Mandela and even Unisted States President Barack Obama and his family visiting the island.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Storytelling is so powerful. And as a photographer, it's my intent to show the warmth, beauty, and hospitality of Africa across different regions. I strongly believe we as people of Africa have a responsibility to further shape the narrative of Africa’s unique culture and people.

See more photos from Senegal below.

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja


Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Photo Credit: Sope Adelaja

Music
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Featuring Mavin Records, Asake, Stormzy x Amaarae x Black Sherif, Fally Ipupa, Pheelz x French Montana, and more.

Every Friday, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column, Songs You Need to Hear. Here's our round-up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks.

If you like these music lists, you can also check out our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African and South African music.

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