ART & LIFE | Literature: Powering the word

By Alex Macbeth

Posted on Thursday, 31 May 2018 07:41

Eduardo Quive, poet, journalist and literary activist, is shaking up the Mozambican literary scene. For too long, he says, the country’s writers have been isolated: “No one will publish an unknown writer,” he says. “It’s almost impossible to see a book published as a [first] project.” At 27 years old, Quive is president of Mozambique’s leading literary movement, Kuphaluxa, founder of the Literatas book festival – and editor-in-chief of the Literatas review. He has also published his own collection of poetry at home and abroad.

The Kuphaluxa movement was founded in 2009 by what at the time was “merely a group of readers who wanted to learn more about books”. Kuphaluxa means ‘to divulge’ in the local language Changana (xichangana) and it has launched the careers of more than two dozen local writers, including Mbate Pedro, Japone Arijuane, Nelson Lineu and Mélio Tinga.

The movement – most Mozambican writers of each generation have been part of one – is blossoming, yet challenges remain. “We don’t have the domestic conditions, as a nation, to truly integrate ourselves into the Portuguese-speaking world, let alone the African context,” says Quive. “Our works are not translated into the major languages of African countries, such as Swahili, French or English. The few translated authors are mainly published in Europe, so everything remains there, it doesn’t return to the continent.”

Kuphaluxa’s goal is to “impart Mozambican literature and its creators,” Quive tells The Africa Report. The members have organised book fairs in barrios in and around Maputo since 2011, the same year the movement began publishing Literatas.

In 2015 Quive was elected president of Kuphaluxa, and in October of the same year launched the Literatas festival, of which he is director. “It’s a celebration of reading and writing books,” says Quive of the festival, which has now held three editions and hosted 150 local and international guests, including artists from Zimbabwe, Angola, Brazil, Portugal and Italy. The programme includes “Q&As on literature, music and the arts, as well as workshops, readings, film screenings, theatre shows, live music and dance, a gastronomy fair, and more,” he says.

The last free edition of Literatas was published in early February 2018. A website will soon offer some content for free, while the magazine will be behind a paywall. “The website will be a reference within the national cultural journalism sector,” says Quive. “It will make quality content which addresses the key cultural issues of the country, accessible to everyone, everywhere, at all times.”

From the March 2018 print edition

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