The Ake Books and Art Festival 2017 is arguably the biggest literary Festival in West Africa, drawing thousands of book lovers, readers and amateur writers to Abeokuta to meet, interact with and learn from many of Africa’s literary superstars. This year’s festival was extra special though, because its theme was “That ‘F’ Word”. Yup, that one, just transplant which one you feel is a more pressing topic in a year that we’ve seen many of the gatekeepers in journalism, sports, entertainment and politics exposed as serial rapists, sexual abusers and sexual assaulters. This year’s event had a huge celebration of female writers, performers, artists and public speakers, all of whom did a great job of showing just exactly why it matters that women are being given their spaces in literature to express themselves and show just why we must advocate for gender equality in all fields. But this year’s highlight was veteran Ghanaian writer Amaa Ata Aidoo.
Ata Aidoo (who is now bound to a wheel chair because of age) was effervescent during her panels at the festival, expositing on the conventions of gender that have been forced on us by Western civilization, the place of feminism in her life and work and what it means to have spaces where women writers are celebrated. But unknown to everyone at the festival, Amaa Ata Aidoo also gave a short interview to BBC reporter Sam Olukoya on the importance of feminism in African literature. She was joined in conversation by writer, activist and feminist Olutimehin Adegbeye and while the interview is short, it is quite illuminating.
You can listen here.