Last week, Jalada released a translation issue that instantly caused widespread uproar (of joy). The pan-African literary collective took one of Ngugi wa Thiongo’s short stories written in Kikuyu and proceeded to translate it into not one, two, three but 33 different languages, the majority of which were African languages.

This officially makes Ngugi’s story, titled “Ituĩka Rĩa Mũrũngarũ: Kana Kĩrĩa Gĩtũmaga Andũ Mathiĩ Marũngiĩ,” the most translated story in the recorded history of African literature.

Such a translation project is beyond mind-blowing for a whole lot of reasons, one of which is that it unites a community of readers around fiction written in African languages. For the first time, stories written in African languages— Sheng, Ibibio, Somali, Ahmharic, Dholuo, Kikamba, Lwisukha-Lwidakho, Ikinyarwada, Arabic, Luganda, Kiswahili, Afrikaans, Hausa, Meru, Lingala, IsiZulu, Igbo, isiNdebele, XiTsonga, Nandi, Rukiga and so on—are being circulated globally and are generating conversations among readers all over the world. Wow! So beautiful and so worth celebrating.

Click here to begin reading “The Upright Revolution: Or Why Humans Walk Upright” in any language of your choice.

African literary Twitter has been more than delighted about the whole thing. Here are a few of the remarks expressing excitement and celebrating what everyone agrees is a historic event.


Header image via Mashable

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I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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