African Authors and Books in Gothenburg – Afrika2010

The annual Swedish book fair in Gothenburg this year has an Africa theme!

With the name Afrika2010, some 50(?) writers from 36 countries, a couple of hundred seminars and probably thousands and again thousands of book titles, the fair is opening on the 23rd September and lasting until the 26th.

“There is a strong interest in Africa right now, not at least thanks to the World Cup in South Africa in June. With the Africa focus of this year’s Book Fair, we will put the African literary scene in the lime light. Many new and already established writers and cultural workers will provide a more complex picture of this exciting continent”, says Carin Norberg, head of the Nordic Africa Institute which together with SIDA is supporting the thematic focus on Africa at the Bok&Bibliotek book fair.

Participants from Ghana includes: Akoss Ofori-Mensah (Sub-Saharan Publishers) and writers Yaba Badoe (True Murder came out last year) and  Meshack Asare (many childrens’ books including Children of the Tree).

I will very sadly not be able to make it to Afrika2010, but will be following this glorious event bringing together the African continent and its literature, likely reporting in this space. Oh, and I just saw one of my favorite artists, Dobet Gnahore is opening the fair!

The only comfort I have is that it seems Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Half of a Yellow Sun) is , just like me, too busy around this time to come to the Afrika2010 book fair in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Which African writer would have made you reschedule your plans and go to Gothenburg?

After World Cup What Is There for Ghana?

I got this very poignant comment on my last post from fellow blogger AntiRhythm:

And that, Kajsa, is all there really is about it. The only prize in participation is not to win. When the best in the world turned up, Africa was there. And for a long time, we competed well. We were in the final 8. We were 1 kick from the final 4. Being number 1 in the football world would have had only limited (emotional) benefits. Now, let us compete favourably with the rest of the world in:

Ending poverty;
Growing our economies;
Deepening democratic values;
Restructuring education to ensure real social development;
Fighting health scourges, especially Malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB;
Eradicating neo-geopolitics (ethnocentricism)
Harnessing the powers Information Technology to accelerate development, etc.

I could not have said it better myself. All in all, there is a lot to do also after the World Cup in South Africa is over.

My Africa: Swedes in Africa

Photo credit: DN/Benedicte Kurzen

Yesterday, as a part of the South Africa World Cup report, Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter featured five interviews with Swedes living in Africa under the heading “Mitt Afrika” or “My Africa” after Karen Blixen‘s novel with the same name ( in English it was called “Out of Africa”).

I must say I enjoyed reading the interviews by DN’s Africa correspondant Anna Koblanck, (with people like me!). I especially liked the interview with the newly wed Swedish woman in Soweto, Maria Westlund Malepa.  Still, I found that some clichés were repeated about life in Africa: “I have learned how to wait” “Sure I am scared sometimes.. is it soldiers who had too much to drink and shoot, thieves or a new war happening somewhere?” and “the weather, the people, the colors”. But to be fair, other images were shared as well, such as Botswana/Africa being a good place to raise children and Tanzania a place to further your career.

The cap article stated that there are fewer Swedes in Africa today than earlier due to that aid agencies these days post less Swedes in Africa and make more local hires. But I wonder if this is really making the number of Swedes in Africa smaller? Is there a way to find out?

I think Swedes in Africa are more than ever before. I was recently surprised by how many Swedes actually do live in Ghana for example.  The globalization is opening up for many more opportunities. Also, people in my generation seem to to a larger extent value “experience from abroad”and then particularly from developing countries. I have the feeling we rather seek the opportunity than expect to be heavily compensated if it arises.

The mystique and lure of “My Africa” might be bigger than some think.

Also, I should stop saying I have learned how to wait in Ghana and blame Africa when I am running late to meetings!

Ghana Scores Serbia

An hour ago the news reached me in Sweden that Ghana scored favorites (?) Serbia in the opening game for the Ghanaian Black Stars in the South Africa FIFA World Cup. Wohoo! Go Ghana!

In my room in Sweden I imagined the celebrations going on all over the crazy fotball nation that is Ghana and was lucky enough to stumble across the lovely and vivid pics on fellow Ghanablogging blogger Nana Kofi’s photo blog.

Pic of teary eyed Black Stars fan borrowed from Nana Kofi Acquah’s post on the Ghana vs Serbia celebrations in Accra.

>Swedish Coach to Super Eagles

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What is with me? I am really no sports fan and now a second post on sports already this week?

Anyways, Swedish coach Lars Lagerbäck has signed with the Nigerian national team the Super Eagles (or Super Chickens as they were called after being defeated by Ghanaian national team Black Stars in the African cup recently). Hopefully, Lagerbäck will make the team come together to perform better in the World Cup in South Africa in June.

This will be interesting to follow.

Pic borrowed here.

>Do Something Good on Mandela Day

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Music-(that-makes-me-happy)-video from the organization working against HIV and Aids which took its name from Mandela’s prison number.

This Saturday, Nelson Mandela turns 91 – you might remember his 90th birthday concert from last year – and urges people to do something good for their communities on this day. Such a nice Mandelaish idea!

Just as Good News South Africa, a website with all the good news from our most southern African country. For a smile every week, subscribe to their newsletter.

So, im going to do something nice too: I CHALLENGE all my blogging friends to write something POSITIVE on Saturday!