OlongoAfrica released a multilingual anthology  to mark the occasion of International Mother Tongue Day on February 21. The anthology, which currently includes 10 African short stories in 10 different African languages, will be expanded into a larger collection in a print edition set for release later in the year.

The collection is edited by Kọ́lá Túbọsún and Salawu Olajide, and illustrated by Moussa Kone. The editors said they were motivated to initiate this project to create cultural conversations across the continent and promote literature, lexicography, audiobook, and translation. Go here to see the beautifully designed page where each story, in text and audio, is accompanied by Moussa Kone’s mesmerizing illustration.

These are the goals of the project as mentioned in the introduction:

Part of what this project hopes to answer, if only as a demonstration of possibilities, is whether deliberate and intentional projects of translation and orality into the many languages of the continent can have any impact in the future we hope to build, where multilingualism is less of a barrier than a bridge between consciousnesses. How different it would be if the different peoples and cultures could speak to each other with perfect intelligibility. How wonderful to hear each other’s thoughts unfettered by the boundaries of language. To enjoy the colours of each other’s worldview in their true uncluttered hue. What kind of a continent would that be? And what world? 

The anthology comes in two parts – online and print. The online one went live on February 21 and featured fiction by Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Ayobami Adebayo, Iquo DianaAbasi, Troy Onyango, Joao Melo, N. Jane Kalu, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, E.C. Osondu, Masimba Musodza, and Chika Unigwe.

The stories are translated into Nigerian Pidgin, Igbo, Ibibio, Shona, Tiv, Hausa, Yorùbá, Swahili, Tamazight, and Edo. These translations have been voiced and recorded, and accompany the project.

The print version of the anthology will include 10 extra stories translated into 10 more African languages. These 20 stories will then be published in a print version at a later date. The project is supported by Brick House, Sterling Bank Nigeria, and individual donors.

Read the 10 stories in the online multilingual anthology here!



Post image by Niccolò Caranti  via wikipedia