Marta Miranda is a poetess, writer, cultural influencer and Associate Professor in Creative Writing at the National University of Tres de Febrero in Argentina. She published a handful of books partially translated into French, Catalan, German, English, Croatian and Italian. With Ricardo Royas Ayrala, she manages the cultural Association VaPoesia Argentina – literature e inclusión. A few days ahead of the African Festival of Emerging Writers (FESTAE) where she is invited as a main guest the Argentinian poetess confided a sketch of her motivation and her expectations to Gils Da Douanla
Gils Da Douanla: Marta, in less than a week we shall be honoured to welcome you here in Cameroon at the occasion of the FESTAE, what passes through your mind on the eve of this event?
Marta Miranda: I’m very delighted and honoured to be invited to partake to FESTAE, for it allows me to commune with Cameroonians and to get closer to an awesome and foundational civilisation. This is all merged with poetry. I can’t help but feeling lucky.
GDD: This edition’s theme is “Visages, images and memory from Africa”, back in Argentina and Latina America more broadly, which image do you have from Africa?
MM: I’ll answer based on what I observe here in Argentina. Here, the African continent has always been associated (due to our common history) to slavery. Africans arrived for the first time in Buenos Aires by the end of the XVIth and during the XVIIth Centuries, under the condition of slaves, servants and houses maids in colonial and Jesuit families. Africa was primary seen as a slaves’ land, and that of the mysteries, the music, the drums and the pagans’ groups that enwrapped it. Nowadays, partially thanks to Senegalese migrations which started back in the last decade of the previous century, I believe we started having a different look, a more inclusive look that yields from the cohabitation with sons of this immigration.
GDD: You manage with Ricardo Rojas Ayrala also invited to the FESTAE, the cultural Association VaPoesía Argentina. One of the current objectives of the project is to create a corridor of cultural exchanges between Africa and Latin America. How do you explain this need ?
MM: I believe the single idea of an exchange is purely praiseworthy. Coming back to the cultural exchanges that we wish to tie with Africa, they are a necessity that originates from the slight presence of African authors on our continent. In Argentina particularly, as a cultural association, and trustworthy to the ideas of broadening everyone’s perspectives with whom we collaborate, we think it’s essential to bring closer and make known Africa’s culture here, and without any intermediary, thanks to African writers’ voices.
GDD: How can you assess the current state of cultural relations between both continents? Henceforth, what could be the ideal situation?
MM: I believe there is still much to do, and the good news is that there’s enthusiasm to doing that. Despite the missions that play every foreign diplomatic delegation based on the continent, I think the local political actors should valorise the tremendous talent and the riches of their local compatriot writers and artists in general, considering them as potential cultural ambassadors to the service of Africa. To this effect, we shall facilitate the mobility of African towards other latitude, while making available the means and flexible bureaucratic procedures. Moreover, we wish to entice diplomatic representations to abide by this policy for the promotion of knowledge, solidarity among people and of their interests.
GDD: You have probably identified some criteria which will help you identify the festival as a success. What are your expectations towards FESTAE?
MM: At the end of the festival, I will consider it as successful if it is a merry adventure that will have showcased communion, art, and a deep sense of humanity. I express my up-front gratitude to this effect.
Propos recueillis par Gils Da Douanla