To celebrate the anniversary of the creation of the Organization of African Unity, founded on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, which later became African Union in 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) celebrates Africa Day every year.
The anniversary has the dual objective of reflecting on the importance of collaboration between Italy and Africa and of enhancing the cultural diversity on the continent.
On the occasion of Africa Day 2022, the Italian Cultural Institutes of Addis Ababa, Dakar, Nairobi and Pretoria organize a webinar on 26 May, with the participation of Italian university professors who are experts in African literature.
This year, in fact, after the two previous editions dedicated to music and visual arts, the day will have as its theme literature, both by famous international authors and by African descendants who write in Italian.
The webinar will be attended by Prof. Gianfrancesco Lusini, who takes us on a journey through the Italo-Ethiopian literary plots between the Middle Ages and the twentieth century, Giovanna Trenta with an in-depth study on the theme “Pasolini and Africa” and Graziella Acquaviva with a focus on the theme “Comparison of environmentalisms: issues and perspectives of the ecological debate in Kenya and Italy”.
Anita Virga concludes with a reflection on “Dante and the Divine Comedy in South Africa” and Alice Bellagamba with an intervention on the theme of the intangible heritage and legacy of slavery in West Africa.
Gianfrancesco Lusini is Full Professor of Ge’ez Language and Literature (Ancient Ethiopian) and Amarica (since 2019) and Director of the Centre for African Studies (since 2018) at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”. Visiting Professor of the University of Addis Ababa (since 2014), he conducts research on the Semitic languages, literature and culture of East Africa and is currently responsible for the CaNaMEI project (National Catalogue of Ethiopian Manuscripts in Italy). He has published several monographs and numerous articles on the literature of the Christian East and on the history of ancient and medieval Ethiopia. He manages the magazine “Review of Ethiopian Studies” and the series “African Studies. Ethiopian Series”.
Giovanna Trento is a PhD in anthropology and author, among other things, of the book “Pasolini and Africa, Pasolini’s Africa. Pan-southernism and representations of post-colonial Africa (2010).” PhD in Anthropology from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and in African Studies at the L’Orientale University in Naples, former professor of Italian Studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, she collaborated with SOAS University in London and is currently an independent researcher based in Rome.
Anita Virga heads the Italian section and the Modern Languages department at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (South Africa). She has published a volume entitled “Sicilian subordination in the writing of Luigi Capuana and Giovanni Verga” (2017) and various articles related to Verga, Capuana, Italian post-colonialism, migration.
Graziella Acquaviva is Associate Professor of Swahili Language and Literature at the Department of Humanities of the University of Turin. After graduating in Modern Foreign Languages and Literature at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”, she completed a PhD in Africanist (Languages, Cultures and Societies of Berber-Sudanese, Oriental and central-southern Africa) with a thesis entitled “The Swahili Popular Novel: analysis of the relationship between literature and social changes in Tanzania in the 80s and 90s”.
Alice Bellagamba teaches Political Anthropology and African Cultures and Society at the University of Milan-Bicocca, where she coordinates the doctoral programme in Cultural and Social Anthropology. In 2004-2005 she was Alexander Von Humboldt Fellow at the University of Bayreuth, in 2011-2012 EURIAS fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin. Between 2013 and 2018 she was Principal Investigator of the ERC grant “Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond. A Historical Anthropology”.
On the occasion of the celebrations for Africa Day 2022, MAECI also promotes an event in partnership with the Servizio Intercultura delle Biblioteche di Roma, focused on the tribute to the Italian literary scene given by authors of African descent, which will be held on 26 May at the Nelson Mandela Library. of Rome attended by Espérance Hakuzwimana, Pap Khouma and Takoua Ben Mohamed, moderated by Ingy Mubiayi.