#ReadAfricanPoetryChallenge: African Poets Spread Literary Love In Lockdown

Nigerian writer and poet, Lola Shoneyin is on a mission to “introduce young readers and writers to some of the amazing poets that this [Africa] continent has produced.”

She said this in a message recorded at her home in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos.

The city is currently on lockdown as part of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Earlier this month, Shoneyin, author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, launched an African poetry reading challenge getting writers to record themselves reciting lines from a designated poem and then nominating another poet to continue the reading.

Shoneyin’s initiative resulted in the #ReadAfricanPoetryChallenge.

She chose Heavensgate which was published in 1962 by the late Nigerian poet, Christopher Okigbo.

It begins with the lines:

BEFORE YOU, my mother Idoto,

Naked I stand;

Before your weary presence,

A prodigal

Poets who have recorded readings so far are Lebo Mashile, Lemn Sissay, Tjawangwa Dema, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Clifton Gachagua and Nick Makoha.

Kayo Chingonyi read the penultimate part on Monday.

Bridget Minamore is the next nominated poet to record her reading.

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source: BBC

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