Arts and Africa is a platform for the appreciation of Africa and art. It is a showcase of the diverse African cultures and lifestyles to the world through art. There are many cultures and cultural practices in Africa that are yet to be recognised and appreciated. Arts and Africa aims to appreciate and preserve culture and also to create cultural awareness. It consists of a group of awesome young writers, artists and poets who believe that their art is worth sharing with the world. It is a platform for collective talent and creativity to blossom.
- What is Arts and Africa about? Arts and Africa is a platform for the appreciation of all African arts. It’s prose, poetry, photography, art. With writers from several countries in Africa, arts and Africa serves as a mirror of the growing literary community and art scene.
- What sparked the idea? We wanted to create a platform for young Africans that live in Africa to showcase their art. The main idea was to herald the next generation of future art lovers and creators in Africa.
- What makes A&A stand out? ArtsandAfrica is distinct because it has carved a remarkable and distinct voice for itself in the literary scene.
- What strides have been made by A&A so far? Initially, Arts and Africa started with fourteen writers from Nigeria and one writer from Ghana but we have grown to having over thirty writers scattered all around Africa. From Nigeria to Ghana, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana. We also get submissions from African writers all over the continent as well as in the diaspora.
- Is there a specific target audience for A&A? If yes, who are they? Our target audience would be Africa for now. All of English speaking Africa because all our content is in English and we would love to inspire the rest of Africa to do more – write new and better stories about a beautiful Africa. The Africa we know.
- Does the platform encourage discourse on social issues? Tell us about that. Yes, the platform encourages discourse on societal issues. We have a number of articles that discuss social issues. An example is a recent story from Botswana by Mido, she wrote about child abuse though via fiction. This same writer wrote about catcalling in a post called “No, thank you”, a nonfiction piece. Mukandi from Zambia recently wrote “Why Zambia needs a dictator.” This discussed a number of social issues. But these are only recent posts there is so much more.
- How can Africans everywhere contribute to the platform? Arts and Africa has a submissions page where all writers can submit their work. We are always on the lookout for creative content from African writers.
- Do you have regular contests? Tell us about it/them. Yes, we have regular contests like our Friday Flash Fiction contest and we hope to have more in the future.
- Are there any A&A initiatives in the offing? Can you tell us about them? Arts and Africa in the long run might have a publishing arm. Arts and Africa is definitely going to be having literary events, book readings as well as open mic events for artists, writers, and poets to come show what they can do. Arts and Africa is definitely looking towards having workshops for writers and artists on improving their art and their craft as well as offering mentorship to new African voices.
- What can we expect from A&A in the near future? In the near future, Arts and Africa would be producing online literary magazines, organizing writers and arts contests and workshops. We also have plans for literary events and book readings.
- Do you think A&A can help in shaping positive outcomes for Africa? If yes, how? Arts and Africa wants to change the narrative. Arts and Africa wants to change the general perception of Africa as poverty stricken and as a hell hole where nothing comes out from. But Africa is blessed with dynamic and diverse artists and we want to tell these different stories.
- Do you believe that Africa is rising? If yes, what have you seen that has convinced you? Africa is certainly on the rise. For one, there’s a great difference in what our literary and art community was, ten or twenty years ago. As more people are reading, more people are writing. There’s an increasing demand for more stories; an insatiable appetite of sorts. This also means more people are being innovative and are creating things, with words and technology. There’s so much more in other institutions and areas of life. There’s so much Africa has to offer.
How do you think A&A can drive positive change in Africa? Arts and Africa can drive and has been driving a positive change by creating and encouraging a reading culture amongst the youths in Africa. Also young Africans are being encouraged to put their creative work out because they see other young creative artists and writers doing same on our platform. We aim to inspire and be the change we wish to see in Africa.