Taking its inspiration from other pugnacious, and cool magazines like Chimurenga – Bakwa, was founded to counter the absence of literary magazines in Cameroon; with a wide ranging remit that’s broader than the literary, Bakwa – is an eclectic, intelligent take on the dynamic cultural scenes often missed by mainstream, western media.
The story of Bakwa magazine—Cameroon’s leading Anglophone literary publication, which also runs pieces on politics and art—is one of sublime dedication and a powerful grasp of responsibility
After a similar magazine, Palapala, folded in early 2011, Dzekashu MacViban decided to found a new one ‘to fill the gap’ for critical and literary work alike in Cameroon. Bakwa magazine went online late in 2011, carrying work in English and Pidgin.
Fundada en 2011, y con sede en Yaundé, Bawka es una revista on line multilingüe (publican principalmente en inglés y francés, pero también en pidgin o castellano) que muestra e impulsa, sobre todo, la faceta literaria de Camerún, pero que también pretende incidir en el ámbito cultural en general.
Bakwa is a magazine of literary and cultural criticism based in Yaoundé, Cameroon, which covers international cultural issues, as well as technology, business and politics, and has a penchant for feature articles. Notable contributors include: Ntone Edjabe, Anna Jäger, Kangsen Feka Wakai, Serubiri Moses, Minna Salami, Jack Little, Emmanuel Iduma, Jeremy Klemin, Dami Ajayi and Mwalimu Johnnie MacViban.
For its third issue, in 2012, Bakwa collaborated with The Ofi Press, an online literary magazine based in Mexico, and edited by Jack Little. The Ofi Press published a special West African edition, with content in English and Spanish, which focused on West Africa, while Bakwa, in turn, published a special Mexican issue, focusing on Mexican art, culture and society, with most of the content in English and some Spanish translations. The project was lauded by several journals and outlets, especially the online website Heritage 1960.
In 2015, Bakwa was part of #100DaysofAfricanReads, a social media project curated by Angela Wachuka, Executive Director of Kwani?, which entailed “a series of portraits on books, writers and readers, over a 100 day period … highlighting the work of an African author in print and online”. With the exception of an excerpt from Awes Osman’s novel, Skinless Goat in Somalia, Bakwa’s contribution to the project was made up of excerpts and stories from female Cameroonian writers. In the same year, in response to The Simpsons’ episode “The Princess Guide”, Bakwa did a two-part series on The Simpsons, wherein, bloggers, writers, cultural thinkers and academics were asked to comment on “The Princess Guide” episode. Most of the reactions highlighted poor research, one-dimensional characters, the challenge of portraying believable Nigerians, and the episode’s relatable character, Princess Kemi. This project on The Simpsons was later chosen by Dead Homer Society, for the “weekend reading” section.
Dzekashu MacViban is a writer and freelance journalist based in Yaoundé, Cameroon, who focuses on the intersection between culture and techology. In 2011 he published a collection of poems titled Scions of the Malcontent, founded Bakwa magazine and in 2012 he participated in the Kwani Literary Festival in Nairobi as part of the Moving Africa programme. After a one year gig at the Ann Arbor Review of Books, he subsequently wrote for Goethe.de/kamerun and IDG Connect. His work has also featured in Wasafiri, Kwani and Fashizblack among other places and has been translated into Spanish, French, German and Japanese. In 2013, he was curator of the Cameroon leg of the Spoken Word Project, organized by the Goethe-Institute.