ONLINE EVENTS 2020
African Stories event series
by Chengetai Choto
After the unprecedented events of a year that was challenging for all, the MAU Association was forced to think outside the box. Renowned for its annual BAYMAU Conference, members of MAU set out to plan a series of events under the theme of “African Stories”. The aim of this series was to create an event that would be as engaging, informative and entertaining as the conference that the association has become synonymous with. With everything going digital MAU was definitely going into uncharted waters. However, with a determined and dedicated team and with the support of the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence, MAU was sure to take on the challenge.
The digital age has certainly provided a platform for many more people to share their stories and the African continent is no exception. However, the information we consume can often be distorted and African stories have often unfortunately fallen victim to this phenomenon. MAU believes that African stories are best told by their protagonists, Africans. The “African Stories” event series was a step in the right direction. It was an opportunity to not only provide a platform, but to tell authentic stories and to therefore initiate productive discourse.
The first event was a workshop held by El-Shaddai Deva who is no stranger to MAU. The workshop was titled “ Eine chaotische Sprache, um eine chaotische Geschichte zu erzählen”. Deva used his extensive experience to present his ideas and start an engaging dialogue with the participants. The event was definitely the perfect kick-off to the series, establishing a lot of the ideas that would come up again in the events to follow.
African Stories Then and Now and their Authenticity
The following event was a workshop titled “African Stories Then and Now and their Authenticity” by the Ugandan artist Zoey Patricia Kayendeke more commonly referred to as Zoey the Storyteller. Zoey is a woman of many talents who refuses to be put in a box. She is a Ugandan folklore and poet who uses voice, movement, music and theatre to not only tell stories but to paint pictures through words. As a young artist, her style of storytelling is reminiscent of the times when Africans would gather around a fire and share stories about brave men and women, a practice that is still prevalent in some parts of the continent but less so than back in the day. Her presentation gave the audience a glimpse of her diverse talents. The event began with a talk and a discussion about the richness of African stories. The participants also discussed the importance of authentic African stories within the continent and beyond its borders. They also spoke about the importance of acknowledging and appreciating the diversity of these stories. The exciting discussion was followed by a surprise music performance complete with ululations by Zoey.
Enhancing the African Narrative in Academia and Research
Ndoni Mcunu the founder and CEO of the non-profit organisation Black Women in Science (BWIS) concluded the event series with a workshop under the name “Enhancing the African Narrative in Academia and Research”. The South African scholar provided the audience with a perspective that is so rarely seen in the world of science. African stories go beyond the arts, they touch on every aspect of life including science. The discussion that followed Mcunu’s presentation stressed the importance of encouraging young women to be a part of a field that has somewhat alienated them. A recurring idea was the importance of representation which happens to be the focal point of Mcunu’s organisation.
Joining the association
MAU Bayreuth is open to everyone without any distinction and especially those who are interested in Africa or would like to attain a deeper picture of the continent and its challenges. In this regard the questions are:
How can I become a part of MAU Bayreuth?
Interested persons can take part in the activities of the Association. In particular, the Association welcomes warmly people who are interested in Africa and want to get in touch with people from different backgrounds, studies, countries. There joining MAU does not necessarily require pre-knowledge on Africa or Africa related topics. Because through the participation in the associations’ events one acquires knowledge on Africa with a huge possibility to exchange with African members of the Association.
How often do you meet? And how one can join?
Meet us during our weekly meeting taking place Wednesdays starting from 7 pm on zoom! Please find the zoom link on the homepage, Facebook or contact us to get the link via mail. We are looking forward to seeing you!