One of the creatives Kim Gurney interviewed for her latest book, Panya Routes: Independent art space in Africa (Motto Books, 2022), Nana Oforiatta Ayim, the founder and director of the ANO Institute of Arts and Knowledge in Accra, said that she “wanted to set this place up so that others like me who wanted to write and express something could come and have a home, a place to think collectively, create, push boundaries.”
Earlier today, Kim was in discussion about Panya Routes with Joy Watson – both belong to the Rosebank Writes group, recently founded by Kim and other writers who live and work in and/or are affiliated with the suburb of Rosebank, Cape Town (we have a sister organisation in Johannesburg). The event was hosted by another member, Shireen Mall, in her beautiful lounge that was transformed into an independent art space for the day. Writers, readers and creatives gathered to celebrate the publication of Panya Routes (which Karavan Press and Protea Distribution have the honour of distributing in South Africa along independent panya routes of their own) and listen to Kim and Joy discuss the book, its origins and consequences.
It was a morning of illumination, and I cannot thank Kim, Joy, Shireen and all who attended, enough for inspiring us all to search for our individual panya routes which allow us to be creative in spaces where, in the words of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, “the progress of any one person is not dependent on the downfall of another” (quoted in Panya Routes).