Is it African? Questions of Aesthetics, Authenticity and Classification

Is-it-African

In the past few weeks, the question of what constitutes as 'African' has come up in different contexts.

As I prepared my African fiction and non-fiction reading lists, I had to reflect on how I was selecting the books. In the end, I defined African fiction as such because of the heritage of the author and thus their perspective and experience, whether or not the subject of the book had anything to do with Africa. On the other hand, African non-fiction picks had everything to do with the subject matter.

I attended a couple of conferences in April: the African Creative Industries Investment Summit (ACIIS) and London Business School's Africa Day. Both were great opportunities to meet some truly inspiring people and listen to some exciting insights and ideas (and as much as I've been a skeptic of networking – I must say that that was actually the highlight of these 2 events. In fact, these experiences changed my whole perspective on the matter but, more about that here).

What did of course come up was this question of the African aesthetic. What makes something African?

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