As a small, largely informal, artist collective, it would be easy to say we’re too busy working, too busy creating, too busy staying afloat to engage in a deliberate or consistent manner with any Big Issues™ that are not Art as such. We could say that, in fact, it really isn’t our place. We could suggest that we should act ‘neutral’, and stay silent. That would not only be foolish, it would also be false. It would be untrue to our proper work as artists, curators, and citizens. In various ways, we participate individually in large and small battles against these Big Issues. However, we are still working out how that fight and commitment is best translated in our work as a collective.
African Women Writers: Part 3 of 4
To celebrate Women’s History Month, Enkare Review has been sharing profiles of phenomenal women writers on our social media pages here, here and here. We are going to share these profiles on our website as well. This is the third part of a four-part series.
African Women Writers: Part 2 of 4
To celebrate Women’s History Month, Enkare Review has been sharing profiles of phenomenal women writers on our social media pages here, here and here. We are going to share these profiles on our website as well. This is the second part of a four-part series.
for Enkare Review’s Poetry Squad
As Enkare Review, we have been working through some growing pains, and it is a mark of pride that we have still prioritized working closely with the artists we feature whenever possible. One challenge we are looking to overcome is that we haven’t made as much work as a collective. We are already changing this (look out for more work from us!). Another is that we haven’t provided enough feedback to the entries we do not proceed with. The submissions are, thankfully, very many, and we are a small (unpaid) family. That said, we are grateful for all the kind and overworked* editors who have provided us (sometimes detailed) notes over the years, and as our team grows, we hope to evolve into those rare breeds.
Writing in The Trans-African in 2016, Ndinda Kioko describes how after the death of grandmother, she and her cousins gathered to divide between themselves pieces of her grandmother’s khanga collection:” Of these objects that hold the memories of my mothers, the khanga remains the most intimate. There is something haunting about inheriting the objects of the dead ‒ the painful reminders of their absence. But there is also something comforting. These are rituals of death, but these are also the rituals of a continued life.”
The first time I met Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, I spent a copious amount of time telling myself to keep my cool, and not betray by nervousness in the presence of celebrity. I had read Kintu in my adolescence, and was struck by Jennifer’s ability to so wonderfully paint a community, an ability I had barely encountered elsewhere. However, I need not have worried, as Jennifer Makumbi possesses that rare gift to make one feel like they are in the presence of a dear friend they had forgotten, but have now met again. And so, as we walked down the streets of Nairobi, talking about my own writing and about the community we were, and still are, building at Enkare Review, I felt, for a brief moment, like Kintu Kidda at the beginning of his walk across o Lwera to the capital.
On 7th March 2018, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, the author of Kintu, was announced as one of the eight winners of the 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize. Here, I talk to her about what winning the prize means to her, and to her writing.