The saddest thing about time, we often hear, is that it can neither be stopped nor trapped. But this is an incomplete, and therefore, flawed observation. A critical ponder on the limitations and weakness of time will reveal that it is in fact routinely halted and captured — by writing.
It is in pursuit of the materialization of this belief that we made a call for submissions for the Ake experience. The annual Ake Festival is one that is too massive and important to be let to slip away without documentation. And while there are other formats through which it has been documented, an individual and personal account of sojourns to and from the festival is just as valid if not even more; for we are only as real and alive as the aftermath of our individual experiences when shared.
The two essays here take a unique approach to documenting the Ake experience. While they lead towards a collective experience, they also lead back to the individual. In “You Remember Ake”, a unique and beautiful sojourn to the festival, Olawale employs the reverse chronology mode of narration and unwraps everything that happened during the festival as a way of navigating the sadness and intense emotions that come forth after the festival ended. Anyone who has attended Ake or any major event that was important to them would testify to the rush of emotions that manifest after goodbyes have been said. The mood of the writing settles on the reader right from the first line, making her aware that she has been invited into a sacred moment that is almost tangible.
In “Of Class and Glass, Elevators and Futures”, Otroyin gives a detailed account of everything; he even leads us to two past Ake Festivals briefly, highlighting every encounter no matter how seemingly small, he had with everyone present at this year’s edition. He performs an impressive comparison between the theme of the festival and the architecture of the building where it held, hinting that the future which we so often imagine is in fact here.
These essays are an attempt at archiving personal experiences and contributing to the idea that the human condition is indeed shared; whether happy or sad.
Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu,
Editor, Afro Anthology Series.
-MY AKE EXPERIENCE 2018-
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