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Features, Literature

Writers and Freedom of Expression in Africa

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the state murder of Kenule Beeson “Ken” Saro-Wiwa the Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) and the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA) has just held a virtual event: LITERATURE & HUMAN RIGHTS, to reflect on the state of affairs in Africa, exploring the various ways writers can protect their integrity at the same time maintaining personal safety. This brings to mind the recent arrest of award-winning Zimbabwean author and activist, Tsitsi Dangaremgba earlier this year in late July.

Tsitsi Dangarembga

The Lagos Book and Art Festival (LABAF) is an annual arts festival founded in 1999 by the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), a Nigerian-based cultural organization. The theme was, ‘Writers & Freedom Of Expression In Africa.’

In many countries in Africa, writers face various degrees of oppression and harassment from political authorities and those who are just intolerant of freedom enjoyed by creative artists to ventilate their ideas in the service of society. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the State murder of the writer, activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, the CORA collaborates with Pan African Writers Association to reflect on the state of affairs in parts of the continent with the objectives of exploiting means by which writers could best ensure personal safety even while protecting the integrity of their works.



  • Prof. Bill F. Ndi (Cameroon) Poet, playwright, storyteller, critic, Fellow of The Booker T. Washington Leadership Institute at Tuskegee University.
  • John Rusimbi (Rwanda) Writer, former Member of Parliament from 2001 until the end of a transitional government in 2003. Currently chairman of the Rwandan Writers Association (SOLIDER-UMURINZI
  • Wale Okediran (Nigeria) Writer, medical doctor, a former member of the Nigeria National House of Representatives, currently Sec-Gen, PAWA.
  • Isabella Matambanadzo (Zimbabwe) Writer, gender, and feminist activist active with the African Feminist Forum. Her writings have appeared in several short anthologies.
  • Moderator: James Murua (Kenya) Blogger, journalist, and podcaster, and editor of www.jamesmurua.com.James Murua’s African Literature Blogjamesmurua.com
Dr. Wale Okediran

About Constance van Niekerk

Constance van Niekerk, (Connie V) is a creative writer, poet, music lover, spoken word artist, freelance writer, blogger and educator. She has contributed to several anthologies and published her own collection, Echoes of My Heart: A Poetry Collection available for purchase on all Amazon Stores Worldwide. Follow her on Twitter : @convanniekerk Connect with her on Facebook and Linkedin.


One thought on “Writers and Freedom of Expression in Africa

  1. That arrest made the news here. That is how we win – world disapproval. That is how we beat apartheid and destroyed the Berlin Wall.


    Posted by Mister Bump UK | Nov 12, 2020, 18:11

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