SEALLF 2021 Fall Conference

South East African Languages and Literature Forum Fall Conference


SEALLF Fall 2021 Virtual Conference

Friday, October 8 – Saturday, October 9, 2021

Hosted by the UNC Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies and the UNC African Studies Center

Register for the Conference

Friday, October 8, 2021


9:30 AM – 10:00 AM, October 8

Welcoming Remarks

Dr. Sudhanshu Handa
Co-Director, African Studies Center, UNC-Chapel Hill

Dr. Claude Clegg
Chair, Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill

Dr. Rudi Colloredo-Mansfeld (Pre-recorded greeting)
Senior Associate Dean, Social Sciences and Global Programs, UNC-Chapel Hill

Dr. Esther Lisanza
SEALLF President, Department of African Studies, Howard University


10:00 – 11:30 AM, October 8

Keynote Address, Mr. Boubacar Boris Diop

Moderator: Dr. Samba Camara, UNC-Chapel Hill

Boubacar Boris Diop is a novelist, journalist, and screenwriter. Diop’s latest published novel, written in Wolof, is Bàmmeelu Kocc Barma (A Grave for Kocc Barma) (2017). His previous novels include Murambi: The Book of Bones (2000), Doomi Golo (2003), and Kaveena (2006). He has worked as a reporter for several newspapers in Africa and Europe, and he is the author of dozens of essays, plays, and screenplays. Mr. Diop is currently the leading and most active promoter of Senegalese literature in Wolof. He launched a publishing house, EJO and a set of online newspaper platforms that, respectively, publish creative works and non-fiction, both digitally and in print.


1:00-2:30 PM, October 8

Panel 1: Indigenous African Languages and the Production of Contemporary Print Literature

Moderator: Dr. Timothy Ajani, Fayetteville State University

Dr. Aliyu Kamal Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria
Reading the Modern Hausa Novel

Dr. Aishatu Shehu Maimota Aminu Kano Collage of Islamic and Legal Studies, Kano State, Nigeria
Literature at Your Fingertips: The Rise of Online Hausa Novels

Ms. Giwa Omolola and Dr. Martha Michieka East Tennessee State University 
From Things Fall Apart to Caitaani Mutharaba- Ini: A look at the diverse ways of expressing African Languages, Cultures, and Literature

Dr. Ousmane Ngom Gaston Berger University, Saint-Louis, Senegal
From Ajāmi to Latin: When Writing Systems Define Wolof Literature


2:45-4:15 PM, October 8

Panel 2: Navigating Colonialism, Modernity and African Feminisms: A Social Linguistic Examination of Margaret Ogola’s Texts

Moderator: Dr. Martha Michieka, East Tennessee State University

Dr. Martha Michieka East Tennessee State University
The Role/ Place of African languages in Modernization as Portrayed in Margaret Ogola’s The River and the Source and its Sequel I swear by Apollo

Dr. Esther Mukewa Lisanza Howard University
Leave no one Behind: An Examination of Gender Equality in Margaret Ogola’s Place of Destiny

Dr. Anne Jebet University of Virginia
Narrating Female Friendships and Sisterhood in The River and the Source

Dr. Leonard Muaka Howard University
Language, Activism and Political Discourse in Margaret Ogola’s Mandate of the People


Saturday, October 9, 2021

9:00-10:30 AM, October 9

Panel 3: African Languages, Education, and the Contemporary (Pan-)African Questions of Epistemological Decolonization

Moderator: Dr. Petal Samuel, UNC-Chapel Hill

Ms. Maria Carolina Almeida de Azevedo Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro
English vs. Pretuguês (Black Portuguese): Which is worth more?

Dr. Abdullahi Aliyu Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies, Kano, Nigeria
Understanding Hausa Culture Through Numbers: An Ethnomathematical Perspective

Dr. Adaora L. Anyachebelu University of Lagos, Nigeria
Identity and Code Alternation in Achebe’s Things Fall Apart

Dr. Rose Lugano University of Florida
Appropriating Form and Content for Effective Communication: An examination of The Poem of Mwana Kupona and Moolaade


10:45 AM-12:15 PM, October 9

Panel 4: Shaping Afro-Asia: Multidirectional Flows of Language and Musical-Spiritual Technologies

Moderator: Dr. Youssef Carter, UNC-Chapel Hill

This panel explores the languages and musical-spiritual traditions of Africa, Asia, and their interconnected diasporas. In many of the Ngoma traditions of continental Africa, instrumental music functions as a spiritual technology affording access to archives of ancestral knowledge. The centrally-braced musical bow, for example, articulates the information of this archive, communicating cultural knowledge intergenerationally across time and internationally across space to facilitate healing for communities in Africa and its diaspora in Asia. Sidis, or Indians of East African ancestry, living in the state of Gujarat in western India preserve this technology through the instrumental music, devotional songs, and ecstatic dance of Sidi Goma performed in honor of African Sufi ancestral saints. Swahili words and phrases survive in an oral genre of devotional song and in spoken language, especially that of the older generation, and reflect the history of East Africans’ arrival in Gujarat from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries. However, aspects of the Swahili language, like those of the Ngoma traditions, have transformed over the centuries and convey novel meanings in the multilinguistic, multi-religious context of western India. On the other side of the Indian Ocean, Gujarati Khoja (mostly Ismaili) Muslim merchants established communities in East Africa in the nineteenth century, where their “native” languages such as Kutchi became imbued with Swahili and Indo-East African praxis. The virtual language association game, Bhulivya! (“Forgot it!”), released in 2020 memorializes the Kutchi language and Indo-African experience of Khoja Ismailis living in Canada today.

Mr. Nkosenathi Ernie Koela University of Cape Town
Seeds of the Braced Bow (The Flower, the Seed and the Bee)

Dr. Jazmin Graves UNC-Greensboro
“Sina Watoto Mbani. I Have No Children at Home:” Preserving East African Language and Culture in Western India

Dr. Ameera Nimjee University of Puget Sound
Bhulivya! Performing Indo-African Migration through a Language Game


12:30-1:30 PM, October 9

Lunch and SEALLF Business Meeting


1:45-3:15 PM, October 9

Panel 5: Africa In Performative Translation: Representing Contemporary African Identity Through the Languages of Orature, Popular Music, and Film

Moderator: Dr. Raphael Birya, UNC-Chapel Hill

Dr. Damola Adesina, Centre for Yoruba Verbal Arts, Ibadan, Nigeria and Dr. Tunde Adegbola, African Language Technology Initiative (ALT-i) Ibadan, Nigeria
Engaging the Multiple Layers of Meaning in Yoruba Orature

Dr. Guillaume Coly Wake Forest University
The Filmic Language of Silence in Alain Gomis’s Tey/Today (2012)

Dr. Aisha Umar Adamu Aminu Kano College of Islamic and Legal Studies
“Neither Here nor There:” Hausa Perception of ‘Yan Daudu in the Light of Akilu Aliyu’s Poem

Dr. Samba Camara UNC-Chapel Hill
Music in/as Afropolitan Tongue


3:30-5:00 PM, October 9

Panel 6: Pedagogies In African Languages And Linguistics

Moderator: Dr. Akinloye Ojo, University of Georgia

Dr. Mohamed Mwamzandi UNC-Chapel Hill
A Corpus Study of the Swahili Applicative

Dr. Dainess Maganda University of Georgia
Is Your Language Better Than Mine? Says Who? Promoting Cultural And Language Diversity In World Languages Classes

Dr. Timothy T. Ajani Fayetteville State University
Teaching an African Language in the Age of Covid: Challenges and Remedies

Dr. Raphael Birya UNC-Chapel Hill
The Question Surrounding Pedagogical Technology Instruction: A Content Analysis of YouTube Videos for Teaching Swahili as a Foreign Language


Closing Remarks

Dr. Mohamed Mwamzandi
African Languages Coordinator, Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies, UNC-Chapel Hill