While we sit discussing the word, power works in silence.
— Michel Foucault
New African Literature— in the modern use of the expression such as “New African Photography” and “New African Jazz”— has lately become a monopoly. A monopoly is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘a company or group having exclusive control over a commodity or service’. This genre of literature from Africa has been tightly controlled by a few Western publishing houses.
The question is, what happens to literature that has not been backed by the monopoly of Western publishing houses? Does it not count as modern? Does it not count at all as literature? How would African writing be today if Amos Tutuola’s The Palm-wine Drinkard was celebrated more than Achebe’s Things Fall Apart? What does it mean to write para-literature in Africa? Do minority literatures sing songs that are out of tune?
In the fifth issue, Bakwa is looking for essays, poems, short fiction, illustration or photography that celebrates the diversity of African literature, even outside the ‘exclusive control’ of African literature as a ‘commodity’ by staple publishing houses in the West. Let us broaden the discussion beyond such foreign monopolies to reflect on local structures of our own.
Deadline: September 30