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The latest installment of CofC's lit mag focuses on Zimbabwe

Illuminating Africa

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The College of Charleston recently announced the release of Illuminations: An International Magazine of Contemporary Writing. This issue, the magazine's 25th, highlights Zimbabwe and the ongoing political and economic crisis the country is currently experiencing.

According to Simon Lewis, the editor of Illuminations and a professor of African studies at the College of Charleston, the magazine has "a tradition of looking at places that people in the West generally aren't looking at"

Lewis adds, "[In the United States] we pay attention to Iraq and Afghanistan and all that, and yet there in Zimbabwe something really terrible is going on, but no one notices."

Filled with poetry, short prose, and photographs (look for a three-picture sequence by CofC's own, Alice Keeney) the magazine brings to light many of the atrocities that are taking place in Zimbabwe and around the African continent.

One poem by Chris Magadza titled "Prodigal Son" critiques the former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, and his involvement with the current president of Zimbabwe, the ruthless dictator Robert Mugabe. Lewis explains, "Magadza is internationalizing his poem a little bit. He goes into how Mbeki allowed Mugabe to get away with what he is doing and how the West, too, allowed the nation to continue in a downward spiral."

Other powerful poems include "Pungwe", which portrays Zimbabwe in a way that Mugabe generally kept under lock and key, and works by leading writers from the U.K., Canada, and the U.S., as well. Lewis describes his favorite poem, "Tall Americano" by Akwe Amosu, as a quiet peace with an incredible sense of hope. The poem, written by the Nigerian born author who currently resides in D.C., is about travelling to the airport on the day after Obama was elected into office, and the overwhelming sense of relief and optimism she felt among D.C. residents. Lewis says, "The punch line is when the narrator orders a Tall Americano, and the barista says, "You've already got one."

For further information or to purchase a copy or subscription, please call Dr. Lewis at (843) 953-1920, or e-mail him at lewiss@cofc.edu

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