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My Ake Festival Experience (2)

First of all,  thank you so much for your encouragements and comments!  You’re special friends to me. ❤

Featured image of Ake festival experience

here’s a link to the first part of this blog post

Friday 25/10/2019 8:30AM
I couldn’t have stayed till 6pm on a Thursday evening at Ikoyi. The 5pm traffic away from my sister’s office tipped me off already. So, I busied myself with live videos from the Ake Festival’s IG story. Everyone had a nice time. So did I.
Well, eventually.

As I arrive Friday morning, I was prepared to cover for everything I missed at the welcome ceremony and workshops (here’s a link to photos and videos from the IG page)

I never knew many African authors. Aderemi and I would gosh over Wole Soyinka’s books and a few others (mostly older people), but I didn’t know the new creative spirit that had evolved.

Of course I knew Nnedi Okarafor (my fairy godmother, creator of the binti series, lover all things beautiful, paranormal and artsy), Jennifer Makumbi (kintu), Chika Unigwe (On black sister’s street), etc.

I was indeed overwhelmed by the influx of new names (to me) and so many amazing books to their credit.

First of all, we started with festival films that communicate the black bodies’ experience. These movies were Accent, Malika, to be free, marked. We couldn’t watch Marked but it explores the history behind scarification in Nigeria and how they intertwine between beauty, identity and spirituality.

A brief introduction to this session was included in the festival guide.
Snapshot below.

Films at Ake Festival
Next up, was a panel discussion (I had to run to make the front seat), a snapshot is included below.

Cinema hall, at Ake Festival 19
I promised to read Tunde Leye’s book (Afonja – The RISE), because this session showed me what dynamism lied beneath the book- the book exemplified a mysterious war in the Oyo Empire, I’ve always been in interested in. and I also promised to read more historical fiction.

Afonja the rise picture by Tunde leye

By the way, Olaokun Soyinka moderated this session on demystifying skin in hall one.

Panel discussion with Wale laws, Chika Unigwe, Helon Habila, Nnamdi Ehirim
Day 2 was really beautiful, I met a few more friends in the other sessions and got in a conversation with Wale Lawal (the Wale Lawal, the republic journal’s Wale Lawal! good Lord!).

Photograph of wale lawal

In honor of my experience at Ake, I’ll be writing a post on 50 books by authors of African descent you should definitely read,  it’s going to be under the books page,  so watch out!  💃

Saturday 26/10/19 9:00AM

Panel discussion with Jennifer Makumbi, Chika Unigwe, Billy Kahora and Toni kan
The Long of the Short Story
Short stories are dynamic and nice, but to be honest I don’t think I’ll pick a short story over a novel and that’s why a session with Jennifer Makumbi, Chika Unigwe and Billy Kahora was needed. This session was moderated by Toni Kan and highlighted the importance of short fiction and the fruity and struggles it takes to create them.

I especially love Jennifer Makumbi and Chika Unigwe’s reactions to questions during this session, and I’ve live videos and quotes (tweets) from the event on the blogs Twitter account.

Panel discussion on black women in film
Roots and representation: Black Women in Film
Was another amazing session I participated in, I choose this over the other session well cause I was really sure I wanted to listen to Adepero Oduye and Dakore!! (even though it was really hard to choose).

Either way, these ladies opened my mind up to opportunities avaliable for creatives with high interest in film making and the film industry.

Sunday 27/10/19

Racism was borne,  only to distract. – Toni Morrison

Adepero Oduye and Victoria
Started with a session where we talked about Toni Morrison and her exemplary work in literature, race, history, America and the prism of human condition interwoven in a vivid collection of art and writing.

I few more book chats and panel discussion with the amazing Nnedi Okarafor! Amazing interactive session with Funa Maduka, where we spoke about Film making and I got to sit next to Wale Lawal once more (insert smirk), after this was the Poetry event with Logan February, Gbenga Adesina, etc. the day was wrapped up at After party held at The Republicre hub, Lekki.

Generally, the festival summarized on an account of :

Friends: it was easy to make friends, everyone was jovial and friendly. I’d advise you come over with a handy camera, lots of money and cute Ankara printed dresses or clothes. There’s really no clique except you create yours.

Meeting people: Creatives are beautiful people, free flowing, no judgement and constantly sharing air kisses and hugs. Sometimes cuddles. It’s easy to just say “hi, my name is Victoria” and get acquainted with each other.

Also, authors pop right beside you and seat comfortably, there’s no bias, no special treatment, we all are artist, we belong together!

Books: Pretty expensive but beautiful cause you can get all those books that take a while to get delivered from amazon just at your finger tips and even get it signed by your favorite author!

Music : We were popping Asa all day, I was pretty proud, the Afrocentric vibe was all over.

Language: We had folks from South, North, East and West Africa. It was so nice! Different accents all over, I was intrigued by Ugandan accent. Also, vulgar language are freely passed in the fest, no ones judging anybody! Mona Eltahway session was particularly explicit 😂

Mona Eltahway
Food: so I tasted food from East, North and West Africa and it was marvelous! It was really from a session called eat the book, moderated by Ozoz Sokoh, we’re she choose 3 different books from those parts of Africa and made dishes described in them.

Food at Ake Festival

However, the only food avaliable for sale at the event was Sharwarma (N1500) or Amala (a plate for N1000).

Q & A: Like I said, the sessions were interactive and we had live conversations with the authors, film makers and were able to ask questions from there books and films.

I have always seen my identity as black and proud. I’ve been called beautiful so many times, strong, purposeful and focused.

I never understood what it meant to be called a niggar, Negro, monkey, bamboon, she- niggar or anything of such.

Nnedi Okorafor

During Tope Folarin and Maya Angelou’s session I realised that there was so much I didn’t know about subjection of the black gender. I’m grateful for an experience like this, it’s mind opening!

And a space as free as this, should be everywhere! Somewhere there is no judgement and freedom of expression 😊. I hope I wrote enough about the festival for you to come over for the next one.

Art Mural by Sayo Ajetunmobi

Yours truly
TheVictoriaO
Drop your comments! Ask questions, I’ve got you!
#blackbodiesgreymatter #akefestival #TheVictoriao #Toriesblog

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