For one month in 2010, nearly a billion eyes will follow the wayward movement of one small ball, bouncing about haphazardly on a lawn—controlled by the feet of 22 men speaking a language billions understand very well.

If there is among Africans, ambivalence, confusion, uncertainty, even outright denial that we belong to a common entity—we will be, for this month, all united in wanting to win the World Cup, to celebrate our common hosting of the event. There is no visa requirement for football, no Berlin Conference stranglehold, no arms race, no communist and capitalist, no language barrier, no need for a colonizer’s language, no rich or poor, no election needed. What exists is a functional continental football system that offers us a platform to see each other as part of a common system with common rules.

The Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists has chosen to celebrate Africa’s first world cup by sending 13 African writers to 13 cities for two weeks during the World Cup. Each writer will produce a book of nonfiction prose, travel literature, of 30,000 words, for publication in Africa and abroad.

Using multiple forms of media, the writers will first blog their journeys and create momentum online and on mobile phones while the World Cup is taking place. A media website will be created, with local correspondents introducing their cities to fellow Africans online. The climax of this process will be the launch of this new collection of thirteen books in four African cities in January 2012, during the African Cup of Nations Tournament.

The collection will be the most significant single addition to the continent’s archive of literary knowledge since the African Writer’s Series founded in the 1960s.

At a moment in time when the whole continent is more visible to its inhabitants and to the rest of the world than at any other since independence, PILGRIMAGES will reintroduce Africans to the literary world in the same form that so many outside writers have employed to create a distorted idea of us to the world.


Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers

The Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists was  established in 2005 to further the legacy of Chinua Achebe, Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature—Dr. Jesse Shipley was its founding director. The center seeks to create dynamic projects for the most talented of a new generation of writers and artists of African origin, wherever they may be. We are based at Bard College, and operate all over the continent of Africa, all over the world when necessary, always looking for new literary adventures, always creating exciting possibilities, always driven to create new platforms and interactions for exciting writers and artists to collaborate and produce. Pilgrimages is the first major project of the newly reopened Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists. We conceived of the concept, fundraised for it, and built partnerships and collaborations to make it work.

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Chimurenga Magazine

Chimurenga (Cape Town), a non-profit publication of writing, art and politics has been in print since March 2002. The journal is published on the page twice per year, online monthly (www.chimurenga.co.za) and through themed performances called “Chimurenga Sessions.” Other Chimurenga projects include “Chimurenganyana”, a pavement literature project consisting of low cost monographs culled from the journal; “Chimurenga Library” (chimurengalibrary.co.za), an online archiving project that profiles independent pan African paper periodicals from around the world; “African Cities Reader” ( africancitiesreader.org.za), an annual compedium of writing and art on African cities; and “Pan African Space Station” ( panafricanspacestation.org.za), a live music and radio intervention in Cape Town.

Founded and edited by Ntone Edjabe, Chimurenga has featured work by emerging as well as established voices including Njabulo Ndebele, Lesego Rampolokeng, Santu Mofokeng, Keorapetse Kgositsile, Gael Reagon, Binyavanga Wainaina, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Amitav Ghosh, Boubacar Boris Diop, Dominique Malaquais, Goddy Leye, Mahmood Mamdani, Jorge Matine, Akin Adesokan, Greg Tate, and many more.

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Kwani Trust

Kwani Trust is a Kenya-based literary network dedicated to developing quality creative writing and committed to the growth of the creative industry through the publishing and distribution of contemporary African writing, offering training opportunities, producing literary events and establishing and maintaining global literary networks.

Our vision is to create a society that uses its stories to see itself more coherently.

Our flagship publication, Kwani?, is a journal founded by some of Kenya’s most exciting new writers and has 5 print editions to date, each containing more than 300 pages of new journalism, fiction, experimental writing, poetry, cartoons, photographs, cutting edge academic papers, ideas, literary travel writing & creative non-fiction.

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Kachifo Limited

Kachifo is an independent Nigerian publishing house. We are the publishers of Farafina Books, Prestige Books and Farafina Magazine. Our mission is to Tell Our Own Stories.

Farafina Books offer the best in contemporary African writing. Under Farafina, we publish literary and popular fiction, coffee table and general interest books, and children’s and educational books. We have published over 25 titles to date, including prize-winning fiction.

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Open Society South Africa

The Open Society Foundation was founded by George Soros in April 1993 to promote the ideal of an open society in South Africa; an ideal which includes democracy, a market economy, a strong civil society, respect for minorities and tolerance for divergent opinions.

The foundation has been established in the conviction that the collapse of a closed, apartheid society will not lead automatically to the emergence of an open society in South Africa. In its work the foundation will encourage new approaches and ideas which will contribute to the creating of an open society in South Africa.

The OSF-SA is committed to promoting the values, institutions and practices of an open, non-racial and non-sexist, democratic, civil society. It works for a vigorous and autonomous civil society in which the rule of law and divergent opinions are respected.

Karibu Foundation (Norway)

The Karibu Foundation will contribute to a process whereby grass-root organisations, institutions and persons in the South invite one another to form networks and communities that can mobilise for just and sustainable development.

Karibu has grown out of a spirituality, a practical, faith-based commitment and a critical and analytic understanding of power and domination in the world. The aims of Karibu will therefore include bringing together and supporting agencies that use analytical insight, moral courage and strategic clarity in their struggle to create a just world, a world that combines.

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Heinrich Böll Foundation

The Heinrich Böll Foundation is part of the Green political movement that has developed worldwide as a response to the traditional politics of socialism, liberalism, and conservatism. Our main tenets are ecology and sustainability, democracy and human rights, self-determination and justice. We Are a Green Think Tank and an International Policy Network.

To achieve our goals, we seek strategic partnerships with others who share our values. We are an independent organisation, that is, we determine our own priorities and policies.
We are based in the Federal Republic of Germany, yet we are an international actor in both ideal and practical terms.

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Doen Foundation

DOEN Foundation is the fund of the Dutch charity lotteries. The Dutch Postcode Lottery (Nationale Postcode Loterij) established the foundation in 1991 to support small initiatives. As of 1998 and 2004 DOEN has also received contributions from the Sponsor Bingo Lottery (Sponsor Bingo Loterij) and the BankGiro Lottery (BankGiro Loterij), respectively.

DOEN Foundation’s ambition is to help build a liveable world in which everyone can make a contribution by promoting sustainable, cultural and social innovators. DOEN seeks, supports, connects and inspires such innovatory pioneers.

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HIVOS in Netherlands

A fair, free and sustainable world – that is what Hivos, the Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation, wants to contribute to. Together with local organisations in developing countries, Hivos strives for a world in which all citizens – both men and women – have equal access to resources and opportunities for development.

Development cannot be steered from the outside, yet it can be encouraged. For this reason Hivos places its full trust in the power and creativity of the people who are themselves living in developing countries. If given the opportunity and the means, they can make their own living, fight for their rights and shape their futures.

Hivos has providing funding for Doreen Baingana and Yvonne Owuor to participate in the pilgrimages project.

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Nigerian Breweries PLC

Nigerian Breweries, the pioneer and largest brewing company in Nigeria, was incorporated in 1946 and recorded a landmark when the first bottle of STAR Lager beer rolled off the bottling lines in its Lagos Brewery in June 1949.

Nigerian Breweries is a socially responsible corporate citizen with a very good record of corporate philanthropy in the areas of education, the environment (water) and sports, among others. The company in 1994 established an Education Trust Fund of N100 million to take more active part in the funding of educational and research facilities in higher institutions, all in an effort to provide and encourage academic excellence in Nigeria. This is in addition to its secondary and university scholarship programme for children of its employees.
The company is also involved in the development of musical and movie talents, through various programmes.

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Royal Norwegian Embassy in Abuja

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Royal Norwegian Embassy in Khartoum

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John B. Hurford Humanities Center at Haverford College

The John G. Hurford ’60 Humanities Center seeks to enhance the intellectual and cultural life at Haverford College by fostering challenging exchanges among faculty, students, and diverse communities of writers, artists, performers, thinkers, activists, and innovators. The Center sponsors programs that promote relationships between classic humanistic study and contemporary intellectual artistic, and ethical currents in the wider public world.

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