Tuesday, August 24, 2010

African women writers 'renewing dialogue in own words'

by Edward Tsumele

Leading writers from South Africa, the rest of the continent and the diaspora are meeting at a women's symposium, called Women's Voices Unite, in Johannesburg tomorrow.

The symposium, sponsored by the Department of Arts and Culture, will be opened by Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana.

Some of the writers who have confirmed their participation include the award-winning jazz poet Jayne Cortez, Lola Soyinka - poet and novelist (married to novelist and literary critic Wole Soyinka's son ), another Nigerian writer, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, and Tsitsi Dangarebga from Zimbabwe.

They will share the stage with South African writers who include Miriam Tlali, Fiona Lloyd, Margaret Busby Obe, Lauretta Ngcobo, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Karabo Kgomotso Kgoleng, Luli Callinicos, Arja Salafranca and Masechaba Moshoeshoe.

The theme of the symposium is "Women's words: African worlds: Renewing a dialogue between African women writers and women of African descent".

It is hosted by the department in association with the Windybrow Theatre now also known as the Pan-African Centre for the Arts.

Lisa Combrinck, spokesperson for the department, says that this "think-fest is an African indaba" that will bring together women from South Africa with their sisters from the wider continent.

Some writers come from Ivory Coast, Algeria, Nigeria, and the African diaspora.

She said they hoped to strengthen women's voices through networks.

They will also prepare for the 2010-2020 African Decade for Women, initiated by the African Union.

"Theatre and poetry will also feature prominently in the programme. This is because with writing, debating and singing, in addition to our daily chores, we become fully women," Combrinck said.

Published in The Sowetan, August 24, 2010

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