The achievement of the liberation of the countries of the African continent colonialism and apartheid is celebrated worldwide on 25 May. The date refers to the day when more than thirty African heads of state met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1963, to found the Organization of African Unity, now called the African Union (AU), with the aim of organizing and encouraging decolonization of countries that were still under European domination. At the time, two thirds of the continent had already gained independence.
The United Nations (UN), realizing the importance of this meeting, instituted, in 1972, Africa Day. After 55 years, the date is a milestone in the collective memory of African peoples and reinforces the common objective "of unity and solidarity of Africans in the struggle for the development of the continent", defines the Palmares Cultural Foundation.
The literature of African countries was and continues to be used as an instrument of struggle for freedom, for social transformation and as a construction and representation of the identity of these peoples. "The awakening to the national conscience and to the struggle for national liberation was done through poetry. Even the struggle of women. There are poems that were made to awaken women to the struggle", explained the Mozambican writer Paulina Chiziane, the first woman to publish a novel in the country, in an interview with BBC Brasil.
For this reason, to know African literature is also to know the culture and history of the continent, which is inseparable the history of Brazil, the country that concentrates the largest black population outside Africa. "We know that studying African literature in Brazil is not the same thing as studying Arabic or Japanese literature. It is part of understanding we came and we want to go," says researcher Natasha Magno, founder of GELCA (Group of Literature and Literature Studies African Cultures), Unicamp.
However, in an editorial market that has always been dominated by Eurocentric and male literary production, have you ever wondered how many African authors you have read? In recent years we have been experiencing a kind of literary boom, mainly with the international popularization of authors such as the Nigerian Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. But, even in universities, access and dedication to the study of African literature and theoretical thought is still scarce and problematic, Natasha says.
"African elements are present not only in the genetics of a large part of the Brazilian population, but also in social, cultural and religious expressions, which, even today, remain on the margins of the academic and editorial universe", completes the researcher.
At the request of the HuffPost Brasil report, she and Evelyn Sacramento, the Lendo Mulheres Negras project, listed some African women who, through words, tell a little about the history of their countries, and who can serve as a gateway to this vast and multiple universe of African literature.
1. Ana Paula Tavares
"Paula Tavares is one of those writers who give their voice to express, with rebellion and tenderness, the bitter cry of women imprisoned in their own silence", says the author's biography on the page of the Pallas publishing house, which launched an anthology in Brazil poems in 2001.
Poet, chronicler, historian and literary critic, she is part of the country's intellectual elite and, through literary reflection, participates in the process of cultural reconstruction of Angola after independence. The first book, "Rito de Passagem", was launched in 1985. It was appointed as the first female voice of impact in the Angolan poetic scene, rescuing the country's oral tradition. "Orality is my cult," the poet once said to the Portuguese-Angolan journalist Pedro Cardoso.
In the same interview, Ana Paula spoke of the influence of Brazilian culture on her writing. "Literary and musical Brazil gradually arrived, in waves at all times of growth, maturity and old age. Chico and Caetano, Elza Sores, Elis Regina, Tom Jobim, and so many others. Poetry was imposed with Manuel Bandeira, Drummond de Andrade, Murillo Mendes, the definitive João Cabral de Melo Neto. Then prose with a constant visit place for Clarice Lispector, Nélida Pinon, Lygia Fagundes Telles ", he said.
Bitter as fruits (2001), poetic anthology