I generally don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day but an anthology released yesterday by Ankara Press gave me a reason to change my ways.
Being the literature fan that I am, I was overjoyed to hear of seven African writers putting together short stories about love on Valentine’s day. I already knew of Ankara Press for their daring romance collection, so this sounded very much within their scope but the supreme treat for me was that each story was translated into a langage other than English spoken by the author.
We thus end up with this collection, that can be downloaded for free here:
- Fish – by Chuma Nwokolo, translated into Nigerian Pidgin English by Victor Ehikhamenor
- Candy Girl – by Hawa Jande Golakai, translated into Kpelle by Yarkpai Keller
- The Idea is to be sealed in – by Binyavanga Wainaina, translated into Kiswahili by Elieshi Lema
- Woman in the orange dress – by Sarah Ladipo-Manyika, translated into Yoruba by Kola Tubosun
- Cotyledons – by Toni Kan, translated into Igbo by Chikodili Emelumadu
- Solitaire – by Edwige-Renée Dro, translated into French by the author herself
- Painted love – by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, translated into Hausa by the author himself
I may have pored over Arábìnrin inú aṣọ ọlọ́sàn for longer than I care to say. As a learner of Yoruba, it was a fantastic opportunity for some self-study, since I could go back and forth between the English and the Yoruba texts. I must salute Kola Tubosun‘s effort here, for coming up with such beautifully worded sentences (with tonal marks, a rather rare occurrence):
Títí tí wọn fi jẹun tán, ó sá n rẹrìín, ó sì n f’ojú nlá rẹ tó dúdú mininjọ sọrọ, bíi pé inú rẹ n dùn fún nkan àsírí ìkọkọ kan tó lárinrin.
[Yes, I am totally smitten. Valentine’s day magic in action!]
Each story is available online in audio format as well. I highly recommend Edwige Renée-Dro’s French reading of Solitaire : her characters’voices just don’t sound the same in my head as they do when the dialogues are read out loud.
Out of the seven translations, I could only read Kiswahili, Yoruba and French but I hope many other readers will be able to appreciate the stories in Hausa, Igbo, Kpelle and Nigerian Pidgin translation.