The Letters learned at the Farafina workshop – By Funmi Akinsola

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A is for  how astonished you are when you receive Chimamanda’s email telling you are one of the lucky 24, minus one eventually, but not your one.

A is for Aslak, the teacher, who makes you think profoundly of your simple pieces, talking about the many other places in the human heart and homes you can take your story.


Breathe… Is what you try to do intermittently as nervousness and insecurity creep over you in the midst of these brilliant writers.

for letter b


Chimamanda’s charm displaces your fears and makes you comfortable, not only on the first day but every day as you grow, searching your soul, finding your voice and speaking your truth.


Disbelief: is what you feel when the class breaks into applause at your Wangechi Mutu inspired story.



Insecurity is what you still feel sometimes: you feel like a fraud, wondering why you are here in the first place. Insecurity forms a ball in your throat and you begin to choke, choke until you give in to tears as you inform Bianyavanga- you don’t think – you are a good writer.


Kuku Kill Me is the slang for class and the title of the Farafina 16 short film.


Love from bonafide bonds of laughter, love and writing, strengthened by the breaking of ice from the drama of the third day.


Pictures we took every day, to keep memories.

For Letter P


The super story: It is 7.45am on the bridge; you are on your way to the workshop, a sleeping driver rams into your car, hitting your bumper with a force, that makes your back seat collapse. They say sometimes accidents are a bad omen, but this omen just means, you need to change your car and the silly middle- aged man should be slapped and made to pay for the damages, but truly you no fit dey shout, you are supposed to be in Lekki for 10am.  He rolls under your car before you can protest, to push out the bent in part of your bumper. You see broken plastic and you are not sure, if it is from yours or his. You drive off anyway.



Trigger for trouble, the one seeking attention, brandishing trauma, trying to tightly squeeze you all into a corner, so that you tiptoe around your safe space and don’t speak.

Thank you, you say as the tears roll down your cheeks; you choke again not from insecurity but sadness because the workshop is ending so soon. Also from Joy that that you were able to do a lot of introspection, confronting your fears. The workshop was just the retreat you needed, the energy refill for next stop- the -next step.


Unexpected friendships are the best ones

For letter U


Weight is what you gain, from 11 days of free food, but you also gain family, friends, knowledge, faith in your normal.  Love from great people, who are brilliant writers with good energy, who have a great sense of humour, who share simple stories with deep truths.

Farafina Workshop

Wave as you say goodbye over and again. WhatsApp will help relieve some of the sadness, as you keep in touch with Farafina 23 of 2016.


You will never forget.

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