Bio: Véronique Tadjo is a writer, artist, and academic. Born in Paris, she grew up in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Her work includes poetry collections and novels among which The Shadow of Imana; Queen Pokou ; Far Away from my Father and In the Company of Men, published this year by Other press in the US and Hope Road in the UK. It is based on the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa. She is also an author of books for young people. She has lived in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa where she was Head of French and Francophone Studies for seven years at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. She now shares her time between London and Abidjan. Véronique Tadjo received the Literary Prize of L'Agence de Coopération Culturelle et Technique in 1983 and the UNICEF Prize in 1993 for Mamy Wata and the Monster, which was also chosen as one of Africa's 100 Best Books of the 20th Century. In 2005 Tadjo won « Le Grand prix littéraire d'Afrique noire” and in 2016, « Le Prix Bernard Dadié pour la Littérature ».
Abstract: The world seems to be under attack. Today our lives have been shaped by the Covid19 pandemic. We experience suffering, the threat to our lives and the loss of “normality”. We can learn from what has happened in the recent past in Africa. At the end of 2013/beginning of 2014, an outbreak of the Ebola virus erupted in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The epidemic was finally contained in 2016 after about 28, 646 people were contaminated, and 11,323 people lost their lives. As African writers, artists and academics, we need to interpret and reclaim the memory of this period of intense anguish but also of intense human solidarity. In other words, which lessons can we retain for ourselves and for the world? How can we translate what has been for too long left unspoken?