Reading with Ben Mtobwa, 2008 Reading with Akinwumi Isola, 2004 Reading with Deon Meyer, 2008 Reading with Angela Makholwa, 2008 Reading with Daniel Kunene, 2004 Reading with Farouk Topan, 2004


20 November 2014

Children, Civil War and Education:

Public Reading and Discussion with Congolese Writer Emmanuel Dongala at Mainz City Hall (Rathaus)

Time: 8 pm

Location: Rathaus Mainz, Jockel-Fuchs-Platz 1, Haifa-Zimmer

Price: free

The event will be held in English.

With financial support by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development


15 November 2011

An Evening of Zambian Literature

Ranka Primorac Namwali Serpell Lecture by Ranka Primorac (Southampton, UK):
"Local cosmopolitanism in Zambian literature: at home in the world in 1970s Lusaka"

Reading with Zambian writer Namwali Serpell (Berkeley, USA)

The event celebrated the publication of Ranka Primorac's research bibliography of Zambian literature – one of the results of a British Academy-funded research project – on the website of the Jahn Library. Ranka Primorac provided an introduction to the bibliography and also discussed the work of Namwali Serpell. Following her talk, Namwali Serpell, a young Zambian writer who has just been awarded a prestigious award for highly promising women writers, read from her work.

The publication of the bibliography of Zambian literature on the website of the Jahn Library is meant to provide a virtual resource for international, transcultural research on African Literary Studies. The publication of further bibliographies is welcome.

The event took place in coordination with the Center for Intercultural Studies (ZIS), JGU, and was funded by the ZIS as well as the Department of Anthropology and African Studies.

The lecture will introduce my recently-finished bibliography of Zambian literature by looking back at a foundational moment of Zambian writing in English: the Lusaka-based journal New Writing from Zambia, produced and circulated by members of a literary collective called the New Writers Group. Between 1964 and 1975, the journal published poetry, short fiction, plays, essays and book reviews in English. (Among its international followers was Germany's Janheinz Jahn, so Mainz, the location of the Jahn memorial library, is a particularly apposite location for this lecture). After outlining the social and literary conditions of the journal's publication, I will argue that these conditions were productive of a cultural and textual attitude that may be described as local cosmopolitan. Members of the New Writers Group were based in Lusaka, but they were also "at home in the world", and there is arguably a sense in which the same can be said of many of the texts they produced. As a collective literary undertaking, New Writing from Zambia defies being easily classified by the oppositions between popular and elite, commercial and non-commercial and official and unofficial cultural products. I will illustrate my talk with references to short stories published in the journal, and make link between those stories and the work of the Caine-Prize nominee Namwali Serpell, who is also scheduled to appear at the event.

Ranka Primorac (BA University of Zagreb, MA University of Zimbabwe, PhD Nottingham Trent) is a lecturer at the University of Southampton and an associate of the Department of African Languages and Cultures, SOAS (London) and the Centre of African Studies (Cambridge). She is an editorial board member of The Journal of Commonwealth Literature and Journal of Southern African Studies. In 2008, she became the inaugural Vice Chair of the Postcolonial Studies Association. In 2009, she organised a conference entitled "Dialogues across Boundaries: Debating Local Cosmopolitanisms" at the University of Southampton. Her research project "Literature and Cosmopolitanism in Contemporary Zambia" is funded by the British Academy.

Namwali Serpell (BA Yale, MA and PhD Harvard) was born in Zambia in 1980. In 1989, her family moved to the USA. Namwali Serpell is Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. In 2011/12 she is a visiting professor at the Stanford Humanities Center. Her short story "Muzungu" was nominated for the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing in 2010. Namwali Serpell has just been awarded the 2011 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. She has published several short stories. Her first novel, Furrow, will be published soon. She is also working on a second novel, Breaking. In 2011 Namwali Serpell, together with eleven other writers from Africa, participated in the Caine Prize Workshop in Buea, Cameroon.


10 April 2010

Reading with Patrice Nganang

On the occasion of the VAD congress in April 2010, Cameroonian writer Patrice Nganang was in Mainz. On the evening of April 10, he read from the German translation of his novel Temps de chien (2001), Hundezeiten (2003). The reading – one of the cultural highlights of the VAD congress – took place in the centre of Mainz at the Lomo bar.

Mboudjak, the narrator of Hundezeiten, is a dog. As such, he has learned not to expect too much from life. A keen observer of the world around him, he wanders the slums of Yaoundé, relating an experience that not only evokes the wildly diverse language of the streets but also reflects the elusiveness of meaning in politically uncertain times. Despite its unflinching depiction of a seething, turbulent society, Hundezeiten is not a somber story; it is propelled by the humor that is Mboudjak’s greatest survival tool, and even by a certain optimism. In the vibrantly chaotic marketplaces, in the bustling energy of Massa Yo’s bar, and in the escalating political demonstrations, a brighter future for Cameroon can be glimpsed.

The rest of this page will soon be completely available in translation.


11 November 2008

Crime fiction from South Africa: Deon Meyer (Deutscher Krimi-Preis 2006)

Die Lesung fand im Rahmen des 9. Internationalen Janheinz Jahn-Symposiums zum Thema "'Beyond Murder by Magic'? Investigating African Crime Fiction" im Landesmuseum Mainz statt. Gelesen wurde auf Deutsch und Englisch mit einer Kostprobe auf Afrikaans. Die Lesung wurde von Holger Ehling moderiert, der auch den deutschsprachigen Teil der Lesung darbot.

09 January 2008

Reading with Angela Makholwa (South Africa), Meshack Masondo (South Africa) and Ben Mtobwa (Tanzania) during the opening of the 9th International Janheinz Jahn Symposium

From the announcement of the reading:

Angela Makholwa (South Africa) will be reading from her novel Red Ink (2007). Angela Makholwa is a public relations consultant who runs her own business in Johannesburg. She lives with her son Lesedi and her dog Napoleon. Red Ink is her first published novel. She is currently working on a second novel.

When public relations consultant and ex-journalist Lucy Khambule – young, beautiful and ambitious – receives an unexpected call from Napoleon Dingiswayo – a convicted serial killer, nicknamed The Butcher by the media – her life takes a dramatic turn. Dingiswayo wants Lucy to tell his story. Intrigued by Dingiswayo’s approach, Lucy decides to take this opportunity to fulfil her life-long dream of writing a book, but it comes at a cost she could never have imagined.

After their initial contact, Dingiswayo becomes an all too obliging subject and Lucy soon discovers that her choice of topic is not for the faint-hearted. Soon after meeting him in Pretoria's notorious C-Max Prison, Lucy’s world is turned upside down by a series of violent and disturbing events.

Dingiswayo is behind bars, but Lucy begins to suspect that the brutal attacks may have something to do with him. Who is this frightening man, and what motivates him? As Lucy learns that there is more to Dingiswayo’s story than the police discovered, she is forced to decide what price she is willing to pay to pursue her dream.

Red Ink is a gripping thriller. Set in present-day Johannesburg, it has a distinctly local flavour and brings the city to life through all its contrasts and contradictions.

Meshack Mfaniseni Masondo was born in South Africa. His first language is isiZulu but he also speaks English, Afrikaans and numerous other South African languages, including IsiXhosa, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana and SiSwati. He holds a B.A. from the University of South Africa, a B.A. (Hons) in Zulu from the University of Pretoria, and a B.A. (Hons) in English from Vista University. He obtained his M.A. in African Languages and Literatures at the University of Pretoria. He wrote a dissertation on "The detective novel in Zulu: form and theme in C.T. Msimang’s Walivuma Icala". Currently he works as a Publishing Manager with Macmillan and pursues an M.A. in African Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Meshack Masondo has published numerous books, both creative writing (prose as well as drama) and non-fiction works (folklore, language, educator’s guides and readers). His novels include Iphisi Nezinyoka (1990), Isigcawu Senkantolo (1990), Ingwe Nengonyama (1994), Ingalo Yomthetho (1994), Kanti Nawe? ( 1995), and Ngaze Ngazenza (1994). His collection of short stories, Kunjalo-ke Emhlabeni, was published in 1994. His dramatic work includes Kungenxa Yakho Mama (1996), Inkundlanye (1998, translated into English as One Act Plays) and Sixolele (2004). He has won several awards for his literary work, including the Nasionale Boekhandel Award of African Language Literature for Inkunzi Isematholeni in 1998, the Magema Fuze Lectio Folklore Award for Inkunzi Isematholeni in 1999 and the N.N. Ndebele Heinemann Drama Award for Sixolele in 2005. Masondo has also translated literary works from English into Zulu and run a number of workshops for the budding authors as well as established authors for literature and language books.

Ben R. Mtobwa was born in Kigoma region, western Tanzania, in 1958. His first attempt to write was when he was in standard four of Mgambo primary school. However, his first book, which was self-published, came out in 1984 after several empty promises from local publishers. The book was a biograpy of a local musician, Remmy Ongala. Following the success of the book, Mtobwa formed his own small publishing house known as Heko Publishers. He has a wife and five children, including twins.

Mtobwa has published more than twenty books so far. Some are for young readers while most are detective stories featuring Joram Kiango. His books include Tutarudi na Roho Zetu? (1987), published in English under the title Zero Hour (1989). Pesa Zako Zinanuka (1984), literally 'Your Money Stinks', was published in English as Give Me Money (1988). Dar es Salaam Usiku (1989) was published by a local company in Kenya (E. A. Education Publishers). Other titles include Dimbwi la Damu [Pool of Blood] (1984), Najisikia Kuua Tena [I Feel Like Killing Again] (1993) and Mtambo wa Mauti [Death Machine].


27 October 2006

African Love Poetry

Gaby Böhne, freiberufliche Kulturjournalistin und Nachrichtensprecherin beim SWR in Mainz und Baden Baden, trug im Rahmen der Feierlichkeiten aus Anlass des 60jährigen Jubiläums des Instituts für Ethnologie und Afrikastudien afrikanische Liebeslyrik aus der von Peter Ripken und Véronique Tadjo herausgegebenen Anthologie Antilopenmond (2002) vor.

Im Mittelpunkt der Lesung standen Liebesgedichte verschiedener Autorinnen und Autoren aus Afrika. Auf diese Weise sollte ein Eindruck von der Vielfalt der literarischen Stile und Perspektiven vermittelt werden. Außerdem war dies als Hommage an Janheinz Jahn gedacht. Die Jahn-Bibliothek verdankt einen großen Teil ihrer Sammlung und letztlich ihre Existenz einem Abend mit Lyrik aus Afrika und der afrikanischen Diaspora: Jahns Begeisterung für afrikanische Literatur nahm ihren Anfang, als er 1951 einem Vortrag von Léopold Sédar Senghor lauschte, der bei dieser Gelegenheit auch Werke schwarzer Dichter vorstellte. Der wenige Jahre später von Jahn herausgegebene Schwarze Orpheus (1954) war die erste Anthologie mit Gedichten schwarzer Autorinnen und Autoren, die in deutscher Sprache erschien. Die Lyrik, die am 27. Oktober 2006 vorgetragen wurde, war dagegen der vermutlich jüngsten Anthologie mit Gedichten aus Afrika in deutscher Sprache entnommen. Die im Band Antilopenmond veröffentlichten Texte von Dichterinnen und Dichtern aus mehreren Ländern Afrikas nähern sich dem großen, universellen Thema Liebe aus unterschiedlichen, ungewöhnlichen und überraschenden Perspektiven.


24 November 2005

Nick Benjamin (SWR) liest Krimis aus Angola, Botswana, Kenia, Mali und Nigeria in deutscher Übersetzung.

20 October 2005

'Tatort Afrika'. Afrikanische Krimis. Barbara Mesquita liest aus ihrer Übersetzung von Pepetelas Jaime Bunda, Geheimagent.

Beide Lesungen fanden im Seminarraum von Human Help Network in der Hinteren Bleiche in Mainz statt.


20 November 2004

Creative Writing in African Languages: A Polyglot Literary Reading

Am 20. November 2004 trugen Autorinnen und Autoren Ausschnitte aus ihren in verschiedenen afrikanischen Sprachen − Amharisch, Chichewa, Gikuyu, Kimbundu, Sesotho, Shona, Swahili und Yorùbá − verfassten literarischen Werken vor, gefolgt von Übersetzungen ins Englische. Die Autorinnen und Autoren waren im Rahmen des 8. Internationalen Janheinz Jahn Symposiums zum Thema "Creative Writing in African Languages: Production, Mediation, Reception" zu Gast am Institut für Ethnologie und Afrikastudien in Mainz. Die Lesung wurde vom tansanischen Schriftsteller und Wissenschaftler Farouk Topan moderiert.

  • Clara Momanyi (Kenia) trug ein Gedicht auf Swahili vor.
  • Daniel Kunene (USA/Südafrika) trug sein auf Sesotho verfasstes Gedicht "Benzeni?" [What have they done?] vor, das einen Xhosa- bzw. Zulu-Titel hat, sowie "Ako eme re bue" [Please stop and let's talk], eine von ihm verfasste Kurzgeschichte auf Sethoto.
  • Memory Chirere (Simbabwe) trug seine auf Shona verfassten Gedichte "Kasvosve" [The ant] und "Tadya shuga" [We have tasted sugar] vor.
  • Akínwùmí Ìsòlá (Nigeria) trug "The uses of English" vor, einen ins Englische übersetzten Ausschnitt aus seinem Roman Ogún Omodé.
  • Chege Githiora und Peter Muiruri (Kenia) trugen "Irebeta" [Poem] vor, ein Gedicht auf Gikuyu.
  • Fekade Azeze (Äthiopien) trug seine auf Amharisch verfassten Gedichte "Bägumé" [On the verge], "Yäme’emänan engurguro" [Lament of the believers] und "Mänta at’a" [Twin lots] vor.
  • Euphrase Kezilahabi (Tansania/Botswana) trug seine auf Swahili verfasste Kurzgeschichte "Batenzi" vor.
  • Kiba-Mwenyu (Schweden/Angola) trug einen Ausschnitt aus seinem auf Kimbundu verfassten Gedicht "Ngunda-A-Ndala" [Songbird] vor.
  • Wangui wa Goro (Kenia) trug "Mami Mami" vor, ein auf Gikuyu verfasstes Gedicht einer Schriftstellerin.
  • Francis Moto (Malawi) trug seine auf Chichewa verfasste Kurzgeschichte "Chosadziwa" [He who does not know] vor.
  • Farouk Topan (England/Tansania) trug einen Ausschnitt aus seinem auf Swahili verfassten Theaterstück Aliyeonja Pepo [Satan's soliloquy] vor.

Clara Momanyi Daniel Kunene Memory Chirere

Akinwumi Isola Peter Muiruri Fekade Azeze E. Kezilahabi

Kiba-Mwenyu Wangui wa Goro Francis Moto Farouk Topan

23 July 2004

Ein literarisches Konzert, in dessen Mittelpunkt musikalische Interpretationen von Dichtern der Négritude standen, bildete den Abschluss eines eintägigen Symposiums zum Thema Der Schwarze Orpheus als interkulturelle Metapher, das am 23. Juli 2004 an der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz stattfand.

In seiner Heterogenität und Interkulturalität, die sich in dem ganz unterschiedlichen, aber jeweils äußerst gelungenen Zusammenspiel von Dichtung und Musik in Interpretationen durch Studierende einerseits und einen professionellen Griot aus dem Senegal andererseits äußerten, demonstrierte der Abend die Aktualität und Relevanz des Anliegens von Jahns Schwarzem Orpheus ebenso wie die Faszination, die nach wie vor von der Metapher ausgeht. Unter der künstlerischen Leitung von Lutz Dreyer, der am Klavier auch selbst mitwirkte, präsentierten zunächst Studierende des Fachbereichs Musik das Ergebnis ihrer Auseinandersetzung mit Texten aus dem Schwarzen Orpheus im laufenden Sommersemester. In Form von musikalischen Improvisationen interpretierten Marc Dostert (Gesang und Rezitation), Silvia Fox, Jasmin Gottstein, Nathalie Porth, Christine Tischleder (alle Flöte), Sonja Fischer, Jochen Kleinschmidt, Annette Homann, Nina Pfropfe (alle Violine), Stephan Klischat (Gitarre), Dominik Mattes und Steffen Welsch (beide Trommeln) Senghors Gedichte "Ich hab dir ein Lied gesponnen", "Ach diese Straßen", "Gesang des Eingeweihten“, "Sie treibt mich", "Ich hab dich begleitet" und "Kongo" in der deutschen Übertragung von Janheinz Jahn. Erweitert wurde das Programm durch das Präludium bzw. Postludium "Minimal Maximal" sowie drei Interludien: Eugene Novotneys "A Minute of News", die Trommelimprovisation "Pas de Deux" und William J. Schinstines "Couplets".

Nach einer kurzen Pause folgte der Auftritt der senegalesischen Griot-Legende Lamine Konté (Paris). Konté rezitierte Poesie ausgewählter Dichter der Négritude (vor allem L.S. Senghor, Birago Diop, Aimé Césaire und Bernard Binlin Dadié) in französischer Sprache und begleitete sich dabei selbst auf der Kora. Er ergänzte seinen Vortrag durch Erläuterungen zur Musik und Kultur verschiedener westafrikanischer Länder bzw. zu den vorgetragenen Texten.


25 April 2002

Einladungskarte Trommeln der Erinnerung: Autorinnen und Autoren aus Westafrika lesen

Tanella Boni (Côte d'Ivoire), Mariama Ndoye (Senegal), Nagognimé Dembélé (Mali), Florent Couao-Zotti (Benin) und Boubacar Boris Diop (Senegal) lasen aus ihren Neuerscheinungen.

Die Lesung wurde von Aziz Kuyatéh mit Zwischenspielen auf der Kora-Harfe begleitet. Es lasen die Autorinnen und Autoren selbst sowie die Übersetzerin Jutta Himmelreich.

Mit finanzieller Unterstützung der Konrad Adenauer-Stiftung, Dakar.


Im Begleitprogramm der Präsentation der Wanderausstellung "Geschichte und Geschichten. Die Literaturen Afrikas" fanden mehrere Lesungen statt.


Lesung mit dem südafrikanischen Lyriker und Essayisten Lesego Rampolokeng


Szenische Lesung von Wole Soyinkas Theaterstücks Death and the King's Horseman

In Zusammenarbeit mit dem Institut für Theaterwissenschaften und dem Interdisziplinären Arbeitskreis Drama und Theater der JGU.

29. bzw. 30.05.2000

Lesung mit den südafrikanischen Schriftstellern Don "Bra Zinga" Mattera und Mike Nicol