„When stories are reflourishing, when languages, words and tales start moving again,
when people learn to identify themselves with figures beyond the border, this for sure
would be a first step towards peace."
Abdourahman A. Waberi
In the United States of Africa, Lincoln 2009
„Just great what you are doing here!" is the opinion of someone participating regularly in the series AFRICAN VOICES, organized by Allerweltshaus since spring 2009. Also the Senegalese writer Fatou Diome qualified the audience as „very open and warm-hearted. I could have continued for hours!". Samson Kambalu, the success author from Malawi, was equally enthousiastic: „It was fantastic. I would be pleased to repeat it!" Both are acknowledged representatives of the very active contemporary literature from Africa and the African diaspora.
Modern African literature in colonial languages emerged in the middle of the 20th century, fuelled by the increasing awareness of cultural originality and alongside the efforts of political emancipation. After the independence of most of the African countries in the sixties, African authors writing in English as well as in French became increasingly political and critical, dealing mainly with topics linked to the birth pangs of independence, neocolonialism, political repression and persecution. At the same time an increasing number of novels written by African female writers were published, mainly dealing with impressive life-stories of African women, African contemporary literature at the beginning of the 21st century shows a very broad choice of themes as well as of types.
Once per month – mostly on Sundays from one to three p.m., in Allerweltshaus or in Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – we present African authors with a recently published book in German translation. The reading and the following discussion usually ends up in a lively exchange between the author and his audience, very much appreciated by both sides: „It's very important that African voices are heard outside Africa", said Youssouf Amine Elalamy from Morocco, who several times was our guest.
The project „African Voices" is sponsored by Stiftung Umwelt und Entwicklung (Foundation Environment and Development) and the Office for Cultural Affairs of the municipality of Cologne.
Contact: Christa Morgenrath