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Jalada Africa Appoints New Leadership
Nairobi-based pan-African writers’ collective Jalada Africa has recently elected new members to guide the Collective for the next two years. The new officials, who will take over from the Moses Kilolo-led team that has guided the Collective since 2014, are:
Managing Editor: Wanjeri Gakuru
Deputy Managing Editor: Kate Hampton
Arts Editor: Marziya Mohammedali
Board Secretary: Richard Ali
Treasurer: Mwas Mahugu
Jalada Africa finds its roots in a 2013 writing workshop facilitated by eminent Zimbabwean editor, literary critic and publisher Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE on the heels of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists tour stop in Nairobi. It was hosted by the British Council and Kwani Trust. The group, comprising 22 young writers from Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa, sought a way to carry on the work and relationships they formed during the workshop. Subsequently, Jalada Africa was born. In 2016, the Collective registered as a Trust in Kenya and is guided by the Jalada Charter adopted in 2018.
As Managing Editor, Moses Kilolo led a Management Team comprised of Deputy Editor, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma; Program Manager, Richard Oduor Oduku; Jalada’s longest-serving official, Creative Director, Marziya Mohammedali; and incoming Managing Editor, Wanjeri Gakuru as Treasurer and Events Manager.
This team saw to several audacious projects, most notably the translation of a short story by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o into 76 languages and the 28-day Jalada Africa Mobile Literary and Arts Festival during which select members toured 12 cities across Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and DR Congo.
Outgoing Managing Editor, Moses Kilolo, said, “I am proud to have overseen Jalada in its formative years. The Collective has grown from an informal gathering of writers sharing their work, editing and critiquing each other to a globally reputable publication and a warm, welcoming space for radical, creative thinkers.”
Incoming Managing Editor Wanjeri Gakuru thanked Kilolo for his earnest leadership and diligent service to Jalada and outlined the immediate agenda of the Collective saying, “We shall explore new frontiers as publishers, forge bold partnerships and continue Jalada’s tradition of progressive thinking regarding what literature by African writers can be.”
About Jalada Africa
Jalada Africa established itself as a leading literary force on the continent through its influential anthologies. The first, Jalada 00: Sketch of a Bald Woman in the Semi-Nude and Other Stories, is an anthology of short stories loosely themed around insanity, published in January 2014. This was followed by Jalada 01: Sext Me poems and stories, published in June 2014. Readers and critics lauded the anthology for breaking the implicit modesty of fictional and literary boundaries on the continent. The anthology was a central subject of discussion during the 2015 Africa Writes Festival in London, at which Jalada gave a presentation and participated in panel discussions.
Jalada 02: Afrofuture(s) is a collection of short stories and poems centred on the genres of Afrofuturism and AfroSF published in January 2015. The prelude to the anthology featured work by visual artist Wangechi Mutu with an accompanying text by Binyavanga Wainaina. The anthology garnered wide readership and received critical acclaim. Two stories, “eNGAGEMENT” by Richard Oduor Oduku and “A Brief History of Nonduality Studies” by Sofia Samatar, were long-listed for the prestigious 2015 British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) Awards.
Content from the anthology was republished as part of the 2015 African Futures festival—Nairobi Edition, a project of the Goethe-Institut South Africa funded by the Goethe-Institut and the TURN Fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Jalada participated in the festival with readings and panel discussions around imagining African futures. Additionally, a Spanish translation of select stories from Jalada 02: Afrofuture(s) was published as an e-book by 2709books in Spain.
Jalada 03: My Maths Teacher Hates Me and Other Stories was published in collaboration with the Kampala-based Writivism Literary Initiative and the Center for African Cultural Excellence (CACE).
Jalada 04: The Language Issue (September 2015) was followed by the Collective’s ambitious translation project, Jalada Translation Issue 01, which translated Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s short story “Ituĩka Rĩa Mũrũngarũ: Kana Kĩrĩa Gĩtũmaga Andũ Mathiĩ Marũngiĩ” (“The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright”) into 76 mostly African languages.
Jalada 05: Transition 123, published in partnership with Harvard University-based Transition Magazine, is the collective’s most recent anthology.
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A pan-African writers' collective and publisher