The Afrolitt’ Webseries – Episode 2: Josephine Kuuire discusses On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Pamela Ohene-Nyako | Ghana | 2017 | 11 mins


The Afrolitt’ Web series is a series of conversations with special guests on particular themes in specific locations. The discussions are centered on a novel previously suggested for reading by the host and founder of the literary platform Afrolitt’, Pamela Ohene-Nyako.

About the Filmmaker

Pamela Ohene-Nyako is the creator, producer, host, and co-editor of The Afrolitt’ Web series. In May 2016, she founded Afrolitt’, a bilingual literary platform rooted in anti-racist, feminist, and ultimately— afrofuturist thought and practice. Its mission is to expose and explore what is commonly referred to as contemporary African and/or Black literature as a tool for critical knowledge, sharing, and societal or personal change. The novels presented and discussed via the platform are all written by authors of African heritage; mostly women who interrogate ideological and social constructs.

Pamela’s connection with, passion for, and understanding of Black literature, stem from her own experiences as a woman of African descent in Switzerland. Reading Black and, specifically, Black woman authors, has been both therapeutic and liberating. It has significantly expanded her worldview and overall cultural awareness.

More from the Filmmaker

This project is created, produced, and directed by women of African descent. It discusses works of fiction written by female authors from the Black Diaspora and from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Additionally, it aims at amplifying the voices of women living in Ghana. For instance, during the conversation, Josephine uses her analysis of the behavior of key protagonists (Kiki, Howard, and Jerome) to expose how gender inequities are not only revealed and negotiated in romantic relationships, but also how they affect one’s sense of self and worth, as well as ideas and ideals of physical and inner beauty.

Interwoven in her discourse are factual examples drawn from Ghanaian society, thus highlighting overlapping socio-cultural constructs of beauty, loyalty, and masculinity.

Not only does Josephine highlight how social constructs create inequality, she also shares and comments on the strategies of resistance undertaken by the characters in the book, as well as by an increasing number of Ghanaians — men and women — to counteract established norms.

In so doing, she begins shaping practical ideas nurtured by an intersectional feminist and futurist approach. The conversation is set at Twists & Locs Salon, to pay tribute to Afrocentric beauty standards and aesthetics, as well as showcase women’s entrepreneurship.

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