The African Literature Development program is designed to support, develop and promote African Australian writers from Western Sydney. It began when Noël Zihabamwe, founder and Chair of the African Australian Advocacy Centre approached WestWords with one clear aim – to provide the means by which members of the African Australian community could tell and celebrate their own stories, in their own voices.
In a year of difficulty where acts of community building and skills development have radically changed we moved a comprehensive program of intended workshops, events and writing groups online. This resulted in us facilitating four groups focusing on fiction and non-fiction, graphic novels and comics, writing for children, and poetry. This publication marks the culmination of the first of three years for the program.
<strong><em>from</em> Noël Yandamutso Zihabamwe, </strong>
<strong>co-founder and Chair of the African Australian Advocacy Centre</strong>
<em>Africans throughout the aeons have told stories to their young people about the land, culture, language and customs, and they in turn have passed it on to subsequent generations. This rich cultural vein can be lost if it is not passed on and recorded, especially if people move to other continents, far away from the traditional wisdom and teachings.</em>
<em>This program allows the expression of a rich tradition of storytelling for African Australians, giving them the opportunity to reach out to their communities, their neighbourhoods and their new homelands, and to show other Australians how richly imbued with energy, culture, sensitivity, wisdom, laughter and joy they truly are, as they seek to establish themselves in a new culture.</em>
WestWords would like to thank Nöel Yandamutso Zihabamwe and Daniel Gobena and everyone from the African Australian Advocacy Centre for their knowledge, guidance and collaboration; Lesley, David and Julia from the Adès Family Foundation without whose ongoing support this program could not exist.
The African Australian Literature Development Program is proudly supported by the Adès Family Foundation