Lolwe released its latest issue last month, celebrating the twinned themes of nostalgia and new beginnings for the new year. Issue 8 was published on December 23, 2023.

Lolwe is a Pan-African literary magazine that publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography, and literary criticism. Founded in January 2020 by Troy Onyango, the magazine focuses on amplifying the work by writers, poets and visual artists from Africa, Caribbean and the Black diaspora to give a platform for the “Black imagination.” They have published over 200 writers from many African and non-African countries.

The latest issue is guest-edited by the Sierra Leonean writer Charmaine Denison-George, Sudanese writer and poet Logain Ali and Mozambican scholar Alírio Karina. Their introduction to the issue is titled “The Weight of Nostalgia” and explores the places, objects, and people that have made the year 2023 special to the writers involved in the issue and to all of us in turn. These places and things act us portals, carrying us into the memories of the past:

In the fabric of this collection of stories, poems, personal essays and photographs are shared promises, dreams, fears, hopes, love and many moments where you might want to take a deep breath. They are a testament to strength, vulnerability, and the power of words. We hope these brilliant works carry you and all your selves through the festive season and into the new year!

Read the full introduction, in all its glory, here.

The icing on the cake is definitely the stunning cover image, featuring a Black man wearing orange satin pants and an orange marigold flower as a replacement for his head. Taken by Gabonese photographer Naomi Moukadi Nyangone Tshimanga, the image is titled “Where Has My Imagination Taken Me?”. As the man stands against a lush green background, the image brings to mind ideas of hope and new beginnings for the year 2024.

This idea is echoed by Onyango in his editorial note titled “Everything Good is Here”, where he urges readers to stay positive even in the midst of difficult circumstances, both in the personal and global sphere:

It can be difficult staying optimistic about things – especially during these times we live in. There are uncountable events happening around that can snuff out any little hope we have. From Palestine to Sudan to the DRC, we are seeing human life being destroyed so easily, so unnecessarily. We are being shown that certain lives hold more meaning, have greater value than others. All around us, stories and videos and poems and songs of heartbreak.

Still, we cannot give up hope. We have to cling on to the dreams of things to come. We have to look forward to a new day, new week, new month, new year. We must. As Baldwin says, “I can’t be a pessimist, because I’m alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an academic matter. So, I’m forced to be an optimist. I’m forced to believe that we can survive whatever we must survive.”

What a wonderful message to leave readers with as they face the new year! When it comes to the table of contents, the issue features a range of creative works penned by talented writers and artists:

  • Fiction by Buke Abduba (Kenya), Bongani Sibanda (Zimbabwe), Menenaba (Ghana), Adewale Olasupo (Nigeria), Clarie Gor (Kenya), and Wayne McCray (USA).
  • Poetry by Tryphena Yeboah (Ghana), Mildred Kiconco Barya (Uganda/USA), Hauwa Saleh Abubakar (Nigeria), Tahnia Barrie (Sierra Leone), Chinecherem Enujioke (Nigeria) and Lysz Flo (Haiti/USA).
  • Nonfiction by Ruba El Melik (Sudan), Omayeli Arenyeka (Nigeria/USA), Ọbáfẹ́mi Thanni (Nigeria), Otancia Noel (Trinidad & Tobago), Georgette Mulunda Ledgister (DRC/USA) and Delela Ndela (South Africa).
  • Photography by Vadu Rodrigues (Cabo Verde) and Nsikanabasi Effiong (Nigeria). The illustration for the work is by Mòje Ikpeme (Nigeria).

We love the thought and effort put into Lolwe’s latest issue and we highly recommend you check out the stories presented within! Read the full issue here.