Guest Contributor | Apr 15, 2021 | 0
Goethe presents ‘Virtually Yours’ with Natasha Banda
The Goethe-Institut Namibia’s first edition of ‘Virtually Yours’ will take place on 13 March at 15h00, featuring Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda from Zambia and her first publication ‘No Be from Hia’.
‘Virtually Yours’ is a series of online discussions that aim to promote and raise awareness of new developments in contemporary African literature.
Hosted and curated by award-winning author Zukiswa Wanner since 2020, the Virtual Gatherings will focus on one author and their publication per edition.
Participation in these online discussions is free, open to anyone in the world and potential participants are encouraged to have a say.
“Our goal for 2021 is to have each of the interested Goethe-Instituts in Sub Saharan Africa organise and host their own edition of the Virtual Gatherings, and tap into the potential that writing poses in terms of connecting Africa, its people and also the rest of the world,” said Head of Library and Information at Goethe-Institut Namibia, Detlef Pfeifer.
‘No Be from Hia’ tells the story of a Jamaican-Nigerian and Zambian family brought together in migration to the UK during the 1960s before separation by death, divorce and return to Africa after the colonial era began coming to an end. The new and younger generations can tell the stories of themselves and those of the previous generations that they witnessed growing up.
“Her book explores familial relations – aspects that have become more important during the Corona times – and migration from Africa to Europe during the 1960s and back after independence, which is something many families in Africa can relate to,” Pfeifer said.
Raised between London and Lusaka until the age of about six-years, Omokhodion was exposed to many cultures and values, and maintaining the health and harmony of the family structure is important to her.
“My father is Nigerian-Jamaican and my mother Zambian so we would travel a lot to Lagos and experience a variety of spices and colours through our extended family, which grounded me through the integration of intergenerational and extended family”, she said. Omokhodion vividly remembers the sparkling swimming pools of the summers in Zambia and Nigeria, and witnessing the great political change across Africa and in Zambia during the 1990s – all things that she thinks
influences her work greatly.
“My first book explores the relationships between home and the cousinship of diaspora and Africa. I hope this perspective provides more value today than ten years ago, because I’m almost certain that there will be multiple and larger diasporic generations who will wonder where they belong, and have to interrogate where they are now and where they want to be,” she said.
The author said her book has assisted in identifying herself in the stories of others and how with diverse heritage she, as many other Africans, had to navigate through a fractured family and process the situation for contempt as an adult.
“The relevance of this work to me is seeing people reach out and say just how much the book allowed them to interrogate their own familial relationships or diverse heritage. I think the book allowed me to see people like myself in it, and publishing it has shown me that there are many more people and families just like mine,” she said.
The virtual gatherings will held be on Zoom and interested persons may register by submitting their name and mobile number to [email protected] with “virtual” as the subject before receiving a link and further information.