Dried Rose Petals and Lavender Buds: Colour & Candor at Book Launch

The launch of Dried Rose Petals and Lavender Buds at Nyali Play House this past Sunday was not only an event filled with colour but love, laughter and a genuine sense of a community out to support one of its most enterprising daughters. Entering the Play House, one is accosted by two distinct things- a large number of women attendees (and very few men), and the generous splash of colour around the well-lit room with most ladies in matching saffron head scarves rhyming with the book cover. The colour and enticing space is most obviously to Salma’s (the author) liking; she is candid about her inclination to colourful things and the colourful Instagram posts prior to the book launch are a testament to this.

Swahili Literary Festival 2019: Looking Back

March 2019 marked the first instalment of the annual Swahili Literary Festival, the inaugural theme being “Celebrating Achievement”, a participatory theme informed by the dire need to acknowledge and celebrate heroes in the East African littoral space. While heroes come in many different shades, our intention was to celebrate those whose achievement was literary or artistic in nature.

The Hunters of Akebu-lani

Thousands of our kinds were killed that time, but history won’t remember a single one. We arrived at Mutara wa Tsatsu in the forgotten years. We were invited by our dreams, smiling at our future, our young romping about like lion cubs. We came seeking peace but never saw the signs of nightmare to come. We rowed for many days upon foam crowned blue seas, defeating the veritable tempest of the seas.

Jihadi brides: A short story anthology from the Coast.

A few months ago, we did a call out seeking short fiction submissions from Coastal writers and the feedback was amazing, considering that Hekaya is a relatively new name in the coastal writing scene. The main aim of setting up this platform is to amplify coastal voices by publishing prose, poetry and portraiture from the region which spans from Mogadishu all the way down to the Kiswahili-speaking part of Northern Mozambique, largely because the people from these region share a whole lot in common. For instance, Kiswahili is a common language here. In matters, dressing, the Kikoi is a common attire, differing only in style such that it would be easy to tell a Somali kikoi from its Lamu counterpart. The Chakacha and Taarab music from Mombasa differs only in tone from the one in The Comoros. Please download the anthology here The region has also given birth to globally acclaimed scholars of language and literature like the late Professor Ali Mazrui, Professor Abdulatif Abdallah, Professor Alamin Mazrui, Professor Rayya Timamy, Professor Rocha Chimera, Professor Abdulrazak Gurnah from Zanzibar, Ngala Chome, Ali Attas, Alwi Shatry to name but a few.

First Hekaya submission call out

The Coast is a diverse place which has seen the good and bad of what the Sea has brought over the centuries and has been at the fore front of not only trade transactions but also fusion of languages as people sought the best way to trade and coexist. Over time, the merging of languages saw the Coastal towns rise to meet the demands of a dynamically developing world. As such, stories have been with us, part of us for a very long time. Hekaya is seeking short fiction submissions from writers in the East African Coast.
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