On 25 May, at 10 a.m., Minister Luigi Di Maio will launch ‘Africa Day’ at the Farnesina, to commemorate the anniversary of the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (founded on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, which then became the African Union in 2002). This year’s edition will be dedicated to African literature. Papa Abdoulaye Seck, the Ambassador to Rome of the Republic of Senegal – the Country holding the African Union’s acting presidency – will also take the floor during the opening of the event, while Deputy Minister Sereni will close the event. The event will be streamed on the YouTube channel of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The African literary world is experiencing a period of success. In 2021, some of the most important international literary prizes were awarded to African writers; from the Nobel Prize for Literature, won by Tanzanian Abdulrazak Gurnah, to the French Goncourt Prize (Mohamed Mbougar Sarr), and the International Booker Prize (David Diop). Also in Italy, those who write about the African diaspora have become increasingly well-known and a lively second and third-generation ‘migrant literature’ which deals with diversified topics without abandoning integration, identity and gender issues, is thriving.
Following the opening remarks, there will be a conference with internationally renowned African and Afro-descendant writers who use the Italian language. The conference will be curated by two experts in African literature, Chiara Piaggio and Igiaba Scego. RAI journalist Veronica Fernandes will moderate the event. Speakers at the event will be Sami Tchak (Togo-France), Azza Filali (Tunisia), Ghada Abdel Aal (Egypt), Yewande Omotoso (Nigeria-South Africa, who will join online), Pap Khouma (Senegal-Italy), and Espérance Hakuzwimana (Rwanda-Italy). An exclusive interview conducted by Chiara Piaggio with the 2021 Goncourt Prize winner, Mohamed Mbougar Sarr (Senegal-France), will also be screened. The Italian writer, academic, journalist and former Member of Parliament, Jean-Léonard Touadi (Republic of the Congo-Italy), will draw some conclusions on the topic of African literature and its dissemination.
In addition to the event on 25 May, on 26 May the Farnesina is organizing:
1) An event in partnership with the Intercultural Service of the Libraries of Rome, on the contribution to the Italian literary scene made by Afro-descendant authors. The event will be held at the Nelson Mandela Library in Rome, with the participation of speakers Espérance Hakuzwimana, Pap Khouma and Takoua Ben Mohamed, moderated by Ingy Mubiayi.
2) A webinar by the Italian Cultural Institutes in Dakar, Pretoria, Nairobi and Addis Ababa will take place from 6 p.m. (Italian time), with the participation of Italian university professors who are experts in African literature.