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magine a book club where African literature is the norm. A place where Black authors and their works take centre stage. A place where everyone has a voice, diversity of thought is encouraged, and discussions, though drawn from books, are framed around themes that are pertinent to the daily realities of everyday people. I know you’re probably thinking… “is Literandra starting a book club?” Well, no – we’re not, but in our latest Spotlite exclusive interview, we caught up with Akua Boateng and Melody Obeng the co-founders and co-runners of The Sankofa Book Club.

Both Akua and Melody are British-Ghanaian from the South London area. Akua works in the publishing industry and Melody works as a post-doctoral researcher in Chemistry. Sankofa – their brainchild – is a digital book club that focuses on African literature, and by extension, books that are written by authors of African descent. With well over 3 years of activity, they boast a playlist that includes discussions about books like Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah”, and Chigozie Obioma’s “The Fishermen”. 

Imagine a book club where African literature is the norm. A place where Black authors and their works take center stage. A place where everyone has a voice, diversity of thought is encouraged, and discussions, though drawn from books, are framed around themes that are pertinent to the daily realities of everyday people.

Since they are a digital book club, discussions tend to take place online and while they are active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, they also run a podcast, where new episodes are uploaded once every month, and during sessions, books are analysed, critiqued, and previewed from the perspective of the consumer. Influencing the content that makes it to the podcast is Samantha Dwamena-Mante, a Canadian-based Ghanaian who curates the book club and helps ensure that Akua and Melody never run out of books to read and talk about.

We were on set for the recording of one of their podcast episodes, and it was an experience to remember. In a way, I wish that these sessions were open to the public, because the energy that was in the room mid-session was one that I never felt while listening to the podcasts. With that being said, I’m not taking anything away from the podcasts because I’ve listened to every available episode and I wouldn’t have finished them if they weren’t good in their own right. Simply put, the podcasts were good, but the live experience was better, at least, in my opinion.

Sankofa […] is a digital book club that focuses on African literature, and by extension, books that are written by authors of African descent.

In this interview, Akua and Melody talk to Alessandra about the book club, how it all started, and what necessitated its conception. They also shared their opinions on the term ‘African Literature’, what it means, and what it consists of. Speaking of meanings, they talked about the name ‘Sankofa’, what it means, and why they chose that as the name of their book club. In addition to these, they gave a few ‘first book’ recommendations for people who may be new to African literature. This interview is made up of 2 segments, both of which are now available online. So don’t forget to visit the channel for the remaining interview segments

Special thanks to Akua and Melody for the interview, and for having us on their podcast. To support us, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to LIKE, COMMENT on, and SHARE our videos.

Happy watching, and see you again soon.

Special thanks to Akua and Melody for the interview, and for having us on their podcast. To support us, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to LIKE, COMMENT on, and SHARE our videos.