You can dress impeccably well from head to toe with manicured nails and black, thick eyelashes. You could be making jaws drop before you utter a word; silencing a room with your face but when you open your mouth, it’s a completely different story. I keep hearing that smart is sexy. A Nigerian proverb says if there is character, ugliness becomes beauty; if there is none, beauty becomes ugliness. So in other words, it’s inner beauty that counts. Also, when I say smart I don’t mean Einstein. I mean everyone with a hunger to learn. That is the beauty of books, it allows you to sharpen your mind. To be proudly African, we must know our own stories and we must wear them on our sleeves. The Story Moja Festival allows the public, a chance to meet these African writers.
Africa has her own stories and her own heartbeat that can rival any other continent. There is rich imagery in our stories from the little girl who dreams of being a doctor and running away from her arranged family or the father that rules his polygamous family with an iron fist. Fine, I’ll admit that those are pretty stereotypical themes about life in Africa. For more upbeat African books we have Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, NoViolet Bulawayo and Storymoja’s own romance e-series called Drumbeats.
An African story allows us to reconnect with our ancestors, learn something new and also gain wisdom. This year the Storymoja Festival will be graced by Wole Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The event will kick off at Nairobi National Museum from 17th-21st September 2014. Filled with diverse guests like Beverly Nambozo, Teju Cole, Dizraeli, Kenny Mann, Jeff Koinange, Alex Nderitu & et cetera. It is the only event in East Africa that allows international and local guests to meet, share ideas and interact with the public.
Beverly Nambozo is a Ugandan writer, poet and the founder of the BN Poetry Award that has given young poets like Warshan Shire and Rashida Namulondo a platform to present their work. Teju Cole is a Nigerian writer, who is known for his book Open City that has won PEN/Hemingway Award plus Internationaler Literaturpreis. Dizraeli is a rapper, poet and musician who infuses spoken hip-hop with folk music & he has won both the Farrago UK SLAM Championship and the BBC Radio 4 Poetry Slam. Kenny Mann is a filmmaker. Jeff Koinange has a self-titled show where he gets the opportunity to interview influential personalities. He might have a surprise guest ahead of the festival plus he has just released an autobiography Through My African Eyes. Ndiritu Wahome has penned The Sad Artist and Other Fairy Tales.
The Storymoja has diverse things to offer different people from exhibitions, film screenings, thought-provoking discussions, master-classes, poetry. Tickets are going for KSH 1, 000. For more details go to www.storymojafestival.com