Arterial Network Release eBook on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa

13 Sep 2016
Arterial Network Release eBook on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa

Arterial Network, a civil-society network of artists and others working in Africa’s creative and cultural sectors, has released a free eBook titled How Free is FREE? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa. The compilation features writing from 25 authors from 14 countries, including pieces by PEN SA members Albie Sachs, Lauren Beukes and Yewande Omotoso, as well as one by PEN SA Student Writing Prize-winner Koleka Putuma.

Sachs, Beukes and Omotoso will be speaking at the launch of the book in Cape Town on Wednesday 14 September at 6 PM. The event will be held at Alliance Française du Cap, 155 Loop Street and will feature a panel discussion titled ‘Between Fact and Fiction: Freedom of Creative Expression in South Africa’.

Arterial Network have kindly allowed us to share excerpts from Beukes and Omotoso’s pieces:

Excerpt from “Cupboards in the Dark” by Yewande Omotoso

Excerpt from “Riding with the Dream Patrol” by Lauren Beukes

Read more about How Free is FREE? below and read the full eBook here.

Press release from Arterial Network:

Arterial Network Releases eBook on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa

How Free is FREE? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa

Twenty-five Authors, Fourteen Countries in One Original Compilation

CAPE TOWN: Arterial Network has released a free ebook compilation of poems, articles and works of fiction on the subject of freedom of creative expression in Africa. Featuring contributions from 25 authors from 14 African countries, the ebook has been produced as part of Arterial Network’s Artwatch Africa project that aims to defend freedom of creative expression on the continent and who better than the artists themselves to share their creative environment, their questions and their experiences.

In September 2014, Arterial Network launched a call for contributions from writers, journalists and researchers from across the continent to share their opinions and knowledge on this broad topic. After two years of committed work, a collection of selected writings has been brought together to produce an original compilation titled,
How Free is Free? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa.

“The main objective was to give writers the opportunity to talk about what ‘freedom of creative expression’ means to them and in their own style,” explains Diana Ramarohetra, Project Manager for Artwatch Africa. “It is amazing to see that most of the time when we say ‘Freedom of Expression,’ people first think of journalism and forget that it also pertains to the arts and artists. It is our job to inform people about artists rights and help to build the infrastructure across Africa to defend them.”

How Free is Free? Reflections on Freedom of Creative Expression in Africa is above all a meditation on the artistic health of the continent, as lived and examined from twenty-five diverse, artistic viewpoints. This publication is a first for Arterial Network and it will be used as a tool to advocate for freedom of expression and creative arts in Africa.

The publication is available to download for free from the Arterial Network website, as well as various ereader platforms, such as World Reader. It has been optimised for mobile, tablet and Kindle viewing.

The ebook will be launched at the Alliance Française Cape Town on the 14th of September 2016, as well as in Senegal, Nigeria and Burkina Faso in the coming months.

CAPE TOWN LAUNCH EVENT Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Panel Discussion:’Between Fact and Fiction: Freedom of Creative Expression in South Africa’

Date and Time: 14 September at 18h00
Venue: Alliance Française du Cap, 155 Loop Street, Cape Town

Featuring Albie Sachs, Lauren Beukes, and Yewande Omotoso
Moderated by Peter Rorvik

In conjunction with the launch of Arterial Network’s free ebook How Free is Free? three respected writers engage the topic of Freedom of Creative Expression in South Africa, what it means in the different contexts of this country, and elsewhere in Africa, and the different approaches to writing about it.

ALBIE SACHS (South Africa)
Free Spirits and Ravaged Souls

Albie Sachs’ career in human rights activism started at age seventeen, when as a second year law student, he took part in the Defiance of Unjust Laws Campaign. Three years later he attended the Congress of the People at Kliptown where the Freedom Charter was adopted. He started practicing as an advocate at age 21, was subjected to banning orders and placed in solitary confinement without trial for two prolonged spells of detention. In 1966 he went into exile. In 1988 he lost an arm and sight in one eye when a bomb placed in his car in Maputo by South African security agents, exploded. In 1990 he returned home and as a member of the Constitutional Committee and the National Executive of the ANC took an active part in the negotiations which led to South Africa becoming a constitutional democracy. After the first democratic election in 1994 he was appointed by President Nelson Mandela to serve on the newly established Constitutional Court. Sachs has travelled to many countries sharing the South African experience in healing divided societies. Also engaged in art and architecture, he played an active role in the development of the Constitutional Court building and its art collection on the site of the Old Fort Prison in Johannesburg.

LAUREN BEUKES (South Africa)
Contribution: Riding with the Dream Patrol

Lauren Beukes is the author of The Shining Girls, Broken Monsters, Zoo City and Moxyland. Her books have won major international literary, horror, science fiction and mystery prizes, have been translated into 26 languages and optioned for film adaptations. She also writes comics, screenplays, essays and journalism. She lives in Cape Town, South Africa.

YEWANDE OMOTOSO (Barbados/ Nigeria)
Contribution: Cupboards in the Dark

Yewande Omotoso is Barbadian-Nigerian and currently lives in Johannesburg. A trained architect, she completed a masters in creative writing at the University of Cape Town. Her debut novel Bomboy (2011 Modjaji Books) was shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Literary Awards, the MNet Film Award and the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature. It won the South African Literary Award First Time Author Prize. Yewande was a 2013 Norman Mailer Fellow and a 2014 Etisalat Fellow.

Aisha Dème (Senegal)
Albie Sachs (South Africa)
Ayoko Mensah (Togo/ France)
Azad Essa (South Africa)
Boubacar Boris Diop (Senegal)
Chenjerai Hove (Zimbabwe)
Edgar Sekloka (Cameroon/ France)
Elana Bregin (South Africa)
Ellen BandaAaku
Gaël Faye (Rwanda/ France)
Hamadou Mande (Burkina Faso)
Jane Duncan (South Africa)
Jesmael Mataga (Zimbabwe)
Koleka Putuma (South Africa)
Lauren Beukes (South Africa)
Michèle Rakotoson (Madagascar)
Dr. Mohamed Abusabib (Sudan)
Prof. Patrick J Ebewo (South Africa)
Phiona Okumu (Uganda/ UK)
Raimi Gbadamosi (Nigeria/ UK)
Saad Elkersh (Egypt)
Sade Adeniran (Nigeria)
Sami Tchak (Togo)
Sylvia Vollenhoven (South Africa)
Yewande Omotoso (Barbados/ Nigeria)

To read the free ebook, click here:

Arterial Network is a dynamic, civil society network of artists, cultural activists, entrepreneurs, enterprises, NGOs, institutions, and donors active in Africa’s creative and cultural sectors. Established as a member-based,
nonprofit organisation, Arterial Network operates all across the continent, and is led by an elected Steering Committee which represents the five regions of the continent. Its Continental Secretariat is based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Artwatch Africa is a project of Arterial Network that aims to assert, promote and defend artist rights and freedom of creative expression for artists and cultural practitioners in Africa.

Marie-Louise Rouget
(021) 461 2023


(Image courtesy of Arterial Network)