Litro #120: Africa — Letter from the Editor

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How much do you know about Africa?

We tend to speak of it as though it’s one giant, inscrutable territory, and yet Africa contains 54 different countries, all with different cultures, geographies, and people, amongst which are some of the world’s fastest growing economies. For many of us, the only time Africa appears on our radar is when it’s in the news—Somali Pirates, KONY 2012, Darfur, email scammers, the World Cup. Most of our references are sadly negative.

It’s this perception that Ghanaian journalist and presenter of BBC Focus on Africa, Komla Dumor, tackles in his piece, “A New Focus on Africa”—in which he explores the very different reality of a continent that’s all too easy to write off in one way or another.

So the pieces we’ve chosen this month try to offer a vision that offers, to borrow Mr. Dumor’s phrase, a new focus on Africa. In Tracey Iceton’s atmospheric “Grass Wars”, a day job is anything but mundane; in Ailsa Thom’s delicately unsettling “Menengai”, tourism and everyday life collide; while Raoul Colvile examines the struggle between myths of the past and the reality of the present in his evocative “Harare Revisited”. We’re also thrilled to be featuring an extract from Alain Mabanckou’s touching and witty autobiographical novel, Tomorrow I’ll Be Twenty, as well as poetry by award-winning performance artist and poet Inua Ellams.

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of Litro. It’s rare to have a chance to explore unfamiliar territory. It’s even rarer to do so in such good company.

Andrew Lloyd-Jones
Litro Magazine Editor

November 2012