In my travels around the global literary scene, the question of a writerly identity has never seemed more precarious, conflicted, and urgent than with writers from Africa. More often than not, it is the writer—not the reader—who is fixated on the question: who or what is an African writer?
The following conversation took place via email. Between Novuyo and myself, we exchanged about 35 emails, in which I was greatly moved by her dedication (as you would see) to her writing, her understanding of her craft, and her willingness to engage. I have never met Novuyo in person, but it feels as though I have known her for a long time. Indeed, there are few of the writers scheduled in this series that I can recognize from a distance. I am yet to fully come to terms with what this means, suggests.
It was the diplomatic equivalent of the age-old admonishment “I’m glad your father didn’t live to see this…” Last month Archbishop Desmond Tutu told The Guardian he was glad that at age 91, modern South Africa’s Founding Father Nelson Mandela was retired and not following day-to-day politics in his country anymore because if he was “issues such as corruption would certainly hurt him, as well as the gutter level of discourse by some politicians within the ruling party [Mandela’s own
"We resolved that these issues [of restoring the MDC Party's powers within Zimbabwe's unity government] must be dealt with now, in their totality before this Government becomes completely discredited in the eyes of the people and the continent" (Zimbabwe's prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai of his efforts to re-establish a rule of law in Zimbabwe).
"[I]t is now time for us to assert and take our position as the dominant party in Zimbabwe. In taking this path, we are guided by the fact that we are the trustees of the people's mandate and therefore the only one with the mandate to remain in government.<...> However, it is our right to disengage from a dishonest and unreliable partner. In this regard, whilst being government, we shall forthwith disengage from ZANU-PF <...> until such time as confidence and respect is restored amongst us." (Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai on his decision to suspend cooperation with the political party of President Robert Mugabe, 16 October,