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“Me Listening to What I Have to Say”: Creative Writing After Apartheid

November 01, 2015

Creative Writing After Apartheid

Author and activist Kimberly Burge in conversation with Malcolm Clemens Young on her work with young women in South Africa, the first generation coming of age in a newly democratic but still deeply divided nation.

About the conversation

In her first book, THE BORN FREES: Writing with the Girls of Gugulethu, journalist Kimberly Burge recounts the year she spent leading Amazw’Entombi, “Voices of the Girls,” a creative writing club in Gugulethu, a black township outside Cape Town, South Africa. Part memoir, part sociology, THE BORN FREES is a window into the rich, layered and complex lives of the first generation of black South Africans born after apartheid. The young women of Amazw’Entombi are coming of age, as Burge shows us, in a fragile and newly democratic nation. Their lives embody the complicated and brutal history of their country, its present struggles and all the promise it yet holds. In the face of these daunting challenges, the girls of Amazw’Entombi come together to claim and celebrate their voices. They define themselves through creative expression and find strength in the community they share. In writing, they find a temporary escape, but they also find courage, reassurance and freedom. Burge shares some of their powerful work in this testimony to the necessity of empowering girls, and to the role writing can play in reimagining their lives.

Kimberly will sign books following the conversation. Books provided courtesy of Books Inc.

About the guest

Kimberly Burge is a narrative journalist, a longtime activist and a Fulbright Scholar to South Africa. She earned a bachelor of science in journalism at Bowling Green State University, a master of fine arts in nonfiction writing from George Mason University and was a fellow in global religion reporting for the International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins University. A contributing writer for Sojourners magazine, she previously worked for twelve years at Bread for the World, a Washington-based advocacy organization combatting hunger and poverty in the United States and worldwide. In 2005, she accompanied 150 grassroots activists to the G8 Summit in Scotland, where an international mobilization organized by grassroots leaders, along with Bob Geldof and Bono, called on world leaders to increase efforts to fight poverty in Africa. In 2012, as Visiting Humanities Scholar, she led a creative writing workshop for 25 inmates at Cumberland Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland. She was born in San Antonio, Texas; grew up in Blytheville, Arkansas, and Cincinnati; currently lives in Washington, DC; and returns to Cape Town every chance she gets.

Guest: Kimberly Burge

 

Author and activist Kimberly Burge in conversation with Malcolm Clemens Young on her work with young women in South Africa, the first generation coming of age in a newly democratic but still deeply divided nation.

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