On the 25th of February 2017 I participated in the first Pan-African Book Dash as a writer, held at Goethe-Institut Johannesburg.
In 2015 I took part in POPArt Theatre’s birthday celebration, 24 Hours in the City and it was intense fun, I walked into Book Dash expecting nothing less, but the 12 hour long event was more fun than intense. It was as if everyone assumed a childlike spirit and the day was nothing but a playdate.
I had a chat, laced with African pride, with a Kenyan writer, Jenni Marima about the magnificence that is Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie, I debated the importance of a hyphen with my editor, Monique Whitaker and witnessed a lengthy discussion between my illustrator, Ethiopian based fine artist, Yihenew Worku Tariku and my designer, South African visual engineer, Dali Gaga, about the cover illustration. At the end of the 12 hours we all watched with pride and awe as teams took turns to go on stage to read their new work.
Sreddy Yen asked me to talk about the importance of an organization such as Book Dash for a Twitter story and one of the things I highlighted is, parents can now recycle paper. The open licensed stories can be printed on the back of old documents and with technology on the rise, smart phones are no longer limited to games and social networks, they can be used for reading too.
During the reading of the first drafts, Linda Nabasa, Ugandan writer, said ‘My little sister would love this story. She wants to cut her hair,’ after Candice Dingwall read My Special Hair, a story about identity and the celebration of individuality. This was the overall feel of the stories, that someone will relate to them. This is what makes Book Dash a success; writers, illustrators, editors, designers coming together to reflect the times in beautiful children’s books.
The day was a testimony to the African proverb that says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’
Congratulations to Book Dash on their first Pan-African Book Dash. You successfully brought together a village to not only raise children, but to raise reading children.
For more information about Book Dash:
IG | Twitter | Facebook: @bookdash
Photo: J D B A Creatives